Campus Life

U of L symposium to focus on digital audio arts and music sociology

Audio engineers and researchers from around the world will gather at the University of Lethbridge on Friday, Feb. 14 for a one-day symposium titled Social Distinction in the 21st Recording Studio.

Organized by Drs. Amandine Pras, a professor of digital audio arts, and Athena Elafros, a professor of sociology, the symposium features hip-hop and electronic music experts, sound engineers, sociologists and ethnomusicologists from Alberta, Bamako (Mali), Paris, New York, Montréal and Toronto talking about upcoming generations of studio arrangers and recording producers.

“We organized this symposium to bring different people we’ve been working with together to exchange ideas,” says Pras.

One of the roundtables during the symposium centres on the two professors’ collaborative research, which examines social discrimination in the recording studio.

“Initial results show that for women and individuals who identify as transgender or nonbinary, the experience of discrimination and microaggressions are very high,” says Elafros.

Another session will centre on research Pras is involved in as part of an international team of 18 researchers. Looking at culture mediation and youth in West Africa, the project focuses on music production and how young generations manage traditions with globalization.

“West African societies are managed by elders,” says Pras. “Digital technology is a way for youth to cut through the hierarchy of their society. It’s really challenging the structure of the society.”

U of L students have been involved in both research projects and have helped analyze the data.