Panel “Music and the city”

At this Belgian Jazz Meeting, we don’t only have jazz concerts on the menu, but also put together an inspiring panel on the theme “Music and the City”, which takes place on Saturday 6 April from 10h30 to 12h at the Handelsbeurs Concerthall.

Ghent is part of the UNESCO Creative City of Music network, and has a vibrant music scene with 4 professional music venues, a nomadic rock club and 20 bars and clubs which have live music on a regular basis. It is the home of a music college which offers the only Master in Music Production in the country (with 200 enlisted students this year). And it has a very fertile and creative music scene to boast.

During this panel discussion we zoom in on what such an active music scene implies in an urban context. What does this add to city life? How can music connect people? Does it amplify the social cohesion? Does it innovate the city? How does a city benefit from a lively music scene and what can it do to amplify these dynamics? We look both at concrete practices and at more theoretical viewpoints and policies.

Our keynote speaker is Lukas Pairon. Lukas is, among other things, founding director of SIMM, an international research platform focused on the Social Impact of Making Music, he co-founded and directed the now famous contemporary music ensemble Ictus for 20 years and founded the organisation Music Fund. Lukas will present his article on “Music For Itself”, and more information about his work can be found here.

After his presentation of about 20-30 minutes, we discuss this theme with him and the other panel members:

  • Reinhard Deman, worked on a city connecting music project ‘Sound of Colours’ and looked together with Simon De Cuyper into the idea of ‘why does Music Connect’. Recently he also researched, together with Floor Ziegler, a new idea of ‘in-between spaces’ and how creative people, art and culture can contribute to a liveable city.
  •  Tijs Vastesaeger, who was the head of the office of Annelies Storms, Alderwoman of Culture until the recent elections, and can therefore tell us more about how Ghent as a city encouraged and helped develop its music scene over the past years.
  • Tina Heine, founder of ELBJAZZ Festival Hamburg and artistic director of Jazz & The City Festival Salzburg, who focuses on the impact and potentials of festivals as a creative source for urban developments. At Jazz & The City she organises a thinktank/workshop called „Out of the Box“, bringing together, Jazz musicians, architects, city planers, actors, politicians and activists to discuss and explore: City & Improvisation.