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Thursday, September 10, 10:00 - 10:20am (Live Discussion of Asynchronous Roundtable)

Age Related Myths in DIY: Towards a Limitless All Ages Ethos 



Roundtable Description

How do all-ages art spaces and do-it-yourself (DIY) culture at large promote or challenge age-related myths in a music and entertainment industry that both propagates and consumes youth culture? Given all-or-nothing approaches to participation (“DIY or Die,” “All-ages always”) within these spaces, how do their contravening narratives-- one emphasizing longevity and commitment, and another emphasizing novelty and fresh voices-- drive a culture of dynamic collectivity simultaneously rooted in precarity and overextension? In negotiating these questions, this hour-long roundtable envisions a conversation centering the ways people age into, out of, and possibly back into underground and informal arts communities.

As stalwart participants and organizers within all-ages music and arts spaces, the speakers on this roundtable produce work that spans criticism, journalism, art-making, academia and collective organizing. With age and all-ages in mind, we hope to reflect on our experiences in a number of DIY arts spaces and collectives, including Silent Barn (NY), AS220 (RI), Providence Queer/Trans Zinefest (RI), and Papercut Zine Library (MA). We plan to discuss how all-ages spaces can help sustain an anti-commercial and anti-corporate ethos, and why age inclusivity continues to matter for music venues and the music world writ broadly. Additionally, we are invested in exploring how the privileging of all ages as a political ethos might mask broader issues of access and exploitation, including the growing role that DIY spaces play in artwashing and gentrification.

Although we want to challenge the spiral of investment, exertion, and exhaustion that these projects tend to demand, we remain committed to thinking about the radical potential of projects that center collectivity and open participation. We negotiate how building a sustainable all ages underground means laying a groundwork for mediating conflict, building consensus, and honoring what is most often or fundamentally uncompensated labor. Foremost, our roundtable is oriented at envisioning sustainable approaches to DIY and all-ages traditions that balance “getting to the gig” with getting space from the gig. By centering issues of burnout and renewal, we explore the enduring power of all ages spaces to offer a platform for creativity, culture, and community in music, and consider what it would mean for “all ages” to live up to its promise, a more limitless definition supporting youth and “lifers” alike.