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Call for Papers, Presentations and Performances

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Sound System Outernational are pleased to announce our 5th event. This is taking place in Naples, Italy. Besides our usual exciting mix of researchers, practitioners and aficionados, this event will highlight the long established and vibrant sound system scene in this beautiful Italian city.

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Sounds in the City

Jamaican sound system culture has become an outernational phenomenon over recent decades. New intersections between popular music, subaltern cultures, black diasporas, sound technologies are blossoming in urban space around the world. From the UK to Italy, from Brazil to India, the ubiquitous presence of the Jamaican-born mobile-disco sets constitute a constellation of generative sites of intercultural and intergenerational encounter worthy of critical attention. At the same time in many countries sound system culture is threatened by restrictive legislation and policing.

Taking place in Naples on the weekend of 5, 6 and 7 April 2019, Sound System Outernational 5: Sounds in the City: Street Technology and Public Space explores the wide range of issues, theories and practices located at the intersection of music, sound, technology, migration, race and the emergent politics of contemporary urban space. Across the globe the adaptation of Jamaican sound system culture has stimulated an innovative approach to sound technologies deployed to re-configure public spaces as sites for conviviality, celebration, resistance and different ways-of-knowing. In a world of digital social media, the shared, multi-sensory, social and embodied experience of the sound system session becomes ever more important and valuable. With methodologies emphasizing local participation and professional sound system practices-as-research we draw on Cultural and Postcolonial Studies, Sound Studies, Popular Music Studies, Critical Black Studies and Caribbean Critical Theory.

We welcome participation from artists, engineers, musicians, selectors, academics, activists and anyone else who participates directly or indirectly in sound system culture. Contributions can be creative, practical, or research-based. It may be in the form of a workshop, exhibition, talk, film screening, display, or demonstration. We welcome all engaging with sound system music, culture, community, gender, technology, dance, oral histories, graphics, business, marketing etc, especially from global and intergenerational perspectives. Contributions welcomed on (but not limited to)

Global to local adaptations of Jamaican sound culture

  • Sound, technology and gender
  • Music, technology and black diaspora
  • Sound, music and migration
  • Auditory epistemologies
  • DIY sonic cultures and technologies
  • Sonic resistance and urban space
  • Sound, identity and technology
  • Vernacular knowledge and street technology

Sounds in the City: Street Technology and Public Space is designed as a multi-layered event hosted at Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale with local social movement partners. Over two days and interacting with the city of Naples in its rich academic, social, political and musical dimensions, the event includes include talks, roundtables, exhibitions and film screenings. It also features a sound system dance hosting local and international performers in some of the city’s most iconic social spaces as well as exhibitions and other events. Sound System Outernational (Goldsmiths, University of London) partners include: Sound System Culture / Lets Go Yorkshire and BASS (British Association of Sound Systems); and from Italy: University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Centre for Postcolonial and Gender Studies (Naples), Technocultures Research Unit (Naples), Scugnizzo Liberato - Laboratorio di Mutuo Soccorso,  CSOA Officina 99 and Bababoom Hi-Fi Sound System.

The beautiful city of Naples has a strong sound system tradition, but is also a city with a unique history of innovation in popular culture and politics, with a rich subcultural presence and a well-developed network of autonomous social centres. Located in the south of Italy, at the heart of the Mediterranean, Naples is also a crucial node in the emergent archipelago of urban spaces shaped by migration: it is a point of transit, a home to thousands of migrants, and has a rich diasporic tradition and popular cosmopolitan politics of its own.

Sounds in the City will also provide the occasion for the SSO international research network meeting and the opportunity for a short-term research project on the Napoli sound system scene.

Abstract/Proposals/ Ideas by 14th January 2019. Send a one paragraph propsal by email to with the header SSO5 Proposal.

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