Between Dream and Disillusion
Group work in the art school
24 January 2024 4.30pmDepartment of History of Art, UCL
Focused on overlooked and yet significant developments in the city of Leeds, this presentation will address the world-making possibilities and challenges of group creation within the post-1960s art school.
Eschewing the traditional focus on outstanding teachers or exceptional individual student-artists in most writing about art education, Gavin’s case studies will instead include protean ‘intermedia’ groups from the early 1970s, late seventies art school bands, a feminist photography collective and Black art affiliates in the early 1980s.
Building toward a larger history of group work in art education, the lecture will ask: How might we learn from such histories in reimagining an art education of the present and for the future?
Hearing the Art School
Popular Music between Pedagogy and Punk
21 February 2024 2.00pmLeeds Arts University
Gavin will be delivering a lecture as part of the Research Dialogues series at Leeds Arts University.
His presentation will explore the history of art education in Leeds, exploring how students created new music in the gap that opened up between a culture of art college experimentation and that of a burgeoning punk movement. I will play and comment upon audio of art school music by bands both famous and obscure including Gang of Four, Fad Gadget, Sheeny and the Goys, Three Johns, Another Colour, Shee Hees, Cast Iron Fairies, Smart Cookies, Household Name, and Soft Cell.
Rock is Ridiculous
How the Queer Underground Changed Music Culture
7 November 2023 12.30pmTexas Christian University
Gavin will be giving the Nancy Quarles Stuck Art History Lecture at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas on November 7th.
This talk will focus on initial research for a new book project on Ridiculous Theatre and 1970s rock music.
It will focus upon trans rocker Jayne County’s attempts to transfer transgressive styles of sexual and gendered self-presentation from the New York queer underground to the mid-1970s rock industry. Gavin will assess how County’s bid to make it as a glam rock artist (in her band Queen Elizabeth) and then as a punk artist (in The Electric Chairs) was informed by the riotous examples of queer and trans visibility in an underground art and theatre scene which spawned many other rock performers including David Johansen, Patti Smith and Ruby and the Rednecks amongst others.
In the context of the Nancy Quarles Stuck Art History lecture the talk will consider how queer art history can look beyond its disciplinary purview to comprehend the cultural impact of queer art in contexts well beyond the social milieu and critical circuits of the art world.
Between dream and disillusion
Group work in the Art School
30 October 2023 3.00pm
In this event Gavin will focus on three moments across the history of art education in Leeds when students came together to make work as a group. Eschewing the traditional focus on either outstanding teachers or exceptional individual student-artists, Gavin’s case studies will range from early 1970s performance art groups and late seventies art school bands to feminist collectives and Black art affiliates in the early 1980s.
The historical reflections will explore the place of group activity within the pedagogies and assessment processes of an earlier formation of the UK art school and ask how it might be understood as working the dialectical space between art school dreams and disillusionment characteristic of the post-1960s institution.
How might we learn from such histories in reimagining an art education of the present and for the future?
No Machos or Pop Stars
An annotated audio collage
13 April 2023 9.00am
At the Subcultures International Network Conference in Bristol Gavin will present an annotated audio collage of hitherto unreleased and rare recordings which were unearthed during research for his book No Machos or Pop Stars.
Recordings by bands variously associated with the late 1970s and early ’80s Leeds art-punk music scene will include Gang of Four, Frank Tovey (Fad Gadget), Mekons, Sheeny and the Goys, Three Johns, Another Colour, Shee Hees, Cast Iron Fairies, Smart Cookies, Household Name, Ron Crowcroft and Soft Cell.
Gavin will play selected audio excerpts from these, interspersed with commentary informed by, but also extending beyond, No Machos.
Pedagogie et post-punk
histoires alternatives de l’école d’art
17 March 2023 5.00pmÉcole des Beaux-Arts de Paris
Gavin will be joined in-person by researcher James Horton and art critic Gallien Déjean at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris.
They will discuss the role of anecdote in writing the sometimes entwined histories of art education and popular music.
Revisiting Art Education’s Intermedia Dream
NB THIS EVENT IS BEING RESCHEDULED DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION
15 March 2023 11.00amLeeds Beckett University INSIDE/OUT series
A public lecture by Gavin as part of Leeds Beckett University’s INSIDE/OUT series
Fluxus artist Dick Higgins wrote in 1966 that “much of the best work being produced today seems to fall between media … We are approaching the dawn of a classless society, to which separation into rigid categories is absolutely irrelevant.” By the following decade, educators in selected UK art schools continued to agree with him. They pushed a progressive pedagogical agenda encouraging students to work across, or between, media disciplines in the belief that the promise of radical aesthetic effect and the refusal of hidebound social divides was to be realised therein.
Focusing upon the historic fate of avant-gardist art education in Leeds, Gavin will reflect upon the challenges to such hopes for intermedia art in the context of changing realities of urban and social life in the 1970s.
Update 7 March – THIS EVENT IS BEING RESCHEDULED DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION
In Conversation with Ben Highmore
Popular Music Books in Process Series
20 February 2023 10.00pmYouTube channel
Join Gavin and writer and Cultural Studies Professor Ben Highmore as they talk online about the emergence of post-punk music from a moment of crisis in the history of UK art education and the broader cultural and political context of No Machos or Pop Stars.
This event will take place at 10pm UK time and is free to access.
No Machos on WFMU
Interview with Evan Davies
11 January 2023 6.00pmWFMU Jersey City, NY
Gavin will be in conversation about No Machos or Pop Stars with the host of the ‘Evan “Funk” Davies Show’ on WFMU in Jersey City, NY. The show runs from 1pm-3pm EST. UK-based listener’s can tune in online via link above from 6pm.
Talk on Jayne County
New research to be presented at Punk Scholars Network conference
2 December 2022 12.15pmMiddlesex University
Gavin will be delivering a talk about his new research on US proto-punk culture and underground LGBTQ theatre:
“My balls broke”: Jayne County, Gender Fuck and 1970s Rock Theatre
Gavin will explore how County’s bid to make it as a glam and punk rock artist was informed by the riotous examples of queer/trans visibility in an underground theatre scene which spawned many other rock and pop performers including Klaus Nomi, Cherry Vanilla, David Johansen, Patti Smith and Ruby and the Rednecks amongst others.
This is part of a two-day conference organised by the Punk Scholars Network on 2 and 3 December.
FREE live streaming on the day through Book Tickets button below.
Bleak, My Favourite Cliche?
A Conversation on British Post-Punk
28 November 2022 10.30pmThe Graduate Center, CUNY, Intellectual Publics
Join Gavin and Richard T. Rodríguez as they talk online about their recently published books on post-punk music and new approaches to the study of popular culture.
Rodríguez is author of A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk & US Latinidad.
Part of the Intellectual Publics talks series which provides a multi-faceted forum for cutting-edge scholarship across the humanities and social sciences.
Register for webinar below.
Brighton book launch
24 November 2022 7.00pmThe Rose Hill, Brighton
Come join us for the south coast launch of Gavin’s No Machos or Pop Stars.
Gavin will be reading from his book, talking with Christabel Harley (Senior Lecturer, Central Saint Martins) and playing rare and unreleased sounds by bands from the West Yorkshire scene of the 1970s and 1980s.
Entry is free but please book a place through eventbrite below. Books will be available to purchase at a discounted rate.
In conversation with Jon King
10 November 2022 7.00pmThe Barrel Store
Gavin will be talking with Gang of Four’s Jon King about the story of post-punk in Leeds at the Walthamstow Rock ‘N’ Roll Book Club. The event will be held at The Barrel Store, Wildcard Brewery, Shernhall Street, London, E17 9HQ
In conversation with Victoria Horne
Talk and tunes in Newcastle
8 November 2022 5.00pmThe Carriage, Jesmond
Please come along to a public conversation about No Machos or Pop Stars between Gavin and art historian Dr Victoria Horne. Expect to hear rare and previously unreleased tunes and purchase the book at a discounted rate.
The event is free and there is no need to book.
Details of venue and location in link above.
Leeds book launch
28 October 2022 5.00pmSchool of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds
The launch event for Gavin’s No Machos or Pop Stars will include a wine reception alongside a preview of Becoming The Ouroboros, a specially curated exhibition of art by post-punk musicians including Jacqui Callis, John Diamond, Jacky Fleming, Tom Greenhalgh, John Hyatt, Jon Langford, Kevin Lycett, Jane Ralley, Mark White and Andy Wood. Copies of Gavin’s book will be available to purchase at a discounted rate. Following this, and for those lucky enough to have bought a ticket already (it’s sold out!), there is an associated gig at the Brudenell Social Club.
In conversation with Siona Wilson
18 October 2022 6.45pm
The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University will be hosting Gavin in a conversation with Siona Wilson whose book Art Labor, Sex Politics is a study of feminism and performance art in 1970s Britain. The event is in Room 106, 244 Greene Street between Washington Place and Waverly Place. Entry is free, there will be refreshments and all are welcome. NB There are some Covid restrictions so please DM organisers via their instagram. Link below.