Pop Goes Heritage

POP GOES HERITAGE (Les Roberts, 2012)

Between 2010 and 2012 I worked as a postdoctoral researcher on a HERA-funded European project called 'Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity' (POPID - see here for information). The first phase of the project involved interviewing representatives from the cultural, creative, and heritage industries to explore how ideas and practices of heritage shape the way popular music pasts (history, memory, nostalgia) are variously remembered, manufactured, curated, consumed, packaged, valued, or contested. Most of the interviews I conducted were video recorded and this short documentary was put together from a selection of these interviews. As a provocation, as much as anything else, the aim of the video is to deliberately problematise the very concept of 'heritage' and its application in fields of popular culture such as music. In this regard, some of the editing at the beginning of the video may seem a little too playful (or misrepresentative) in its cutting short interviewees' responses to the question 'what is heritage' or 'what is cultural heritage'? I do take this on board, but what I had intended to emphasise was the very evident difficulty that some encountered in trying to articulate what their understanding of this concept was. This insight had not been at all anticipated and subsequently went on to very productively inform the ongoing research process.