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The 6th Biennial Steelpan Conference

'The Fusion of Steelpan with other Art Forms in the 21st Century'


The Caribbean impact on British culture through arts, music, dance, painting, sculpture, theatre, religion and mythology has been profound, as witnessed over the 5 decades of the Notting Hill Carnival. Wherever carnival arts have taken root, advances take shape in the retreat of the ‘pan-yards’, ‘mas camps’ and ‘calypso tents’. The sheer intensity, dedication and creativity that radiates at these venues drives innovation. Until recently little had been documented, methods remain unpublished and only at specific events do some of these new developments come to light.

At previous conferences, beginning from 2006 to 2014, the savoir-faire behind some of these innovations were presented in the context of their history and impact. Considerable success was reported, for example, in graded steelpan examinations, youth training projects, mas design and new materials, acoustics, metallurgy, inventions that revolutionised both sound and transport methods for steelpan while the roots of calypso, dating back over century, were captured by speakers. The long silence of the mentoring of the Beatles from 1958 to early 1960s by the calypsonian Lord Woodbine was unveiled. Conversely, the deterioration of these arts in some cities such as Toronto, where the renowned Caribana is in the decline, or the tumultuous struggle for survival by steelbands and calypsonians were vividly expressed by authoritative speakers as paradigms to grapple with.

This 6 th conference coincides with Notting Hill Carnival’s Golden Jubilee and aims to play a pivotal role in bridging its components and exploring its fusion into new British art forms. Progress is dependent on research, development and cohesion and reaching the far corners of the community. This conference provides a platform to facilitate this and fosters creative interactive development as a foundation to futuristic direction.

Some key presentations and performances:

Plenary Lecturer 1: Christopher Innes; “Expressive Culture of the African Diaspora”

Plenary Lecturer 2: Dawn Batson; “The Power of Pan”

Other speakers include:

 Stephen Spark, Laila Shah, Aurélie Helmlinger, Andrew Martin, Nestor Sullivan, Alexander D Great, Debra Romain, D'Alberto, Haroun Shah, Lloyd Bradly, Jacqueline Roberts, Debra Alleyne-De Gazon, Caroline Muraldo, Clary Salandy, Ansel Wong, Jenny Webb, Patrick McKay, Shareen Gray, Frances Shepherd, Jill Scarfe, David Griffiths, Paul Francis.

Click to download the full conference book 

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