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Youth and popular music (p.11)
Introduction, by Shane Homan

Shane Homan summarises the content of this issue and also highlights the work of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), especially its Australia-New Zealand branch. Formed in 1981, IASPM has grown into an international network of over 600 members in 40 countries. IASPM Australia-New Zealand 'seeks to open constructive dialogues between youth researchers, youth workers, musicians and young people about popular music practice in Australia'.

Geographies of noise: Youth, live music and urban leisure
by Shane Homan

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, pp.12-18 (peer-reviewed article)

Drawing on the newly-released report 'Vanishing Acts', which he co-authored with Bruce Johnson, Shane Homan investigates the demise of the live music venue and the impact this has had on young people's cultural activities. Since the 1950s, contemporary music performances in city venues have been important symbolic practices for Australian youth, and although for over a century there have been calls for more regulation of public entertainment venues, the recent gentrification of inner-city areas, changes in young people's entertainment choices, and new State and local government legislation have led to a reduction in the number and variety of sites for live music performance.

The Screamers
by Sarah Baker

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, pp.19-25 (peer-reviewed article)

Drawing on ethnographic research and newspaper reports, Sarah Baker discusses young girls' physical behaviours at promotional appearances of pop stars in Adelaide shopping malls. Specifically, the article looks at how young girls are stereotyped and derided as 'screamers' at these performances, and also considers the potential of their praxis to transform shopping space into something Other.

Mining Tin Pan Alley
by Susan West

Youth Studies Australia v.22, n.2, pp. 25-31 (peer-reviewed article)

The community outreach program Hand-in-Hand, part of the Music Education Program run by the School of Music at the Australian National University, focuses on the altruistic and social use of music as a positive force for life enhancement. The program's founder, Susan West, explains how children are encouraged to use music, in particular the songs of Tin Pan Alley, as a means of heartfelt communication between themselves and others -- the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged in the community. The program has a range of mutual benefits in terms of companionship, the acquisition of musical skills, public participation and improved life skills for both groups, and 'may offer a model for the future development of music education in Australia'.

Playing for life: New approaches to researching youth and their music practices (pp.32-39)
by Geraldine Bloustien and Margaret Peters

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, pp.32-39 (peer-reviewed article)

Young people who drop out of school don't stop learning -- they just find ways to learn what they want to know, which is often music. This paper outlines an international three-year Australian Research Council project funded from 2003-2005 that looks at how young people find this knowledge. The project examines the scope for popular music in young people's construction of self-esteem and social inclusion. Using a range of sites, mentors, academics and young people, the project investigates popular music's potential to provide a wealth of life and career skills in the lives of disadvantaged youth. Apart from revealing the complex ways in which youth engage in music making, the project may offer valuable insights to youth workers, governments and other relevant institutions about the use of popular cultural forms to open up dialogues between marginalised young people and their mentors.

Australian hip hop as a subculture
by Tony Mitchell

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, pp.40-47 (peer-reviewed article)

Is Australian hip hop just 'bells and whistles' or, more specifically, baseball caps and baggy trousers, or is there an authentically Australian subculture in there? Australian hip hop has engendered fierce attachments to local spaces and networks as a response to the genre's continued marginalisation within the Oz Rock-centred mainstream music industry. Mitchell's article is important in rebutting one of the enduring stereotypes about Australian hip hop: that US styles and actions are not only adopted, but adapted to local histories and politics. The article looks at ten aspects of Australian hip hop and concludes that 'hip hop' exhibits many of the 'classic' features of a youth subculture.

Good Buddha & tzu: 'Middle-class wiggers from the underside'
by Ben Connor

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, pp.48-54 (peer-reviewed article)

Is the only good hip hop that which comes from the oppressed and disadvantaged? Ben Connor argues that young Australian hip hop artists may be from middle-class backgrounds but their politics are sound. To say that only marginalised people can authentically engage in resistance is to assume that power is purely economic: vernacular musics can contribute to localised politics.

Supporting music projects: MusicNSW

Youth Studies Australia, v.22, n.2, p.55

Contemporary music projects for youth have not been widely developed in Australia to this point in time; however, MusicNSW recognises that many young people want to learn various aspects of music production and so provides educational and vocational projects appropriate to young people's expressed needs and interests.

Note: This issue of the journal and its contributors will feature at the Sonics/Synergies: Creative Cultures conference, coming up in Adelaide on 17-20 July 2003 -- see [Link no longer active]


  • Youth Monitor (pp.3-10): This regular column is an extensive roundup of Australian press reports on youth issues over the past three months.
  • Abstracts (pp.62-63): The 'Abstracts' column is a selection of recent research papers from other youth-related scholarly journals in Australia and overseas, selected and abstracted by ACYS for their relevance and interest to Australian readers.
  • Commonwealth Youth Initiatives (p.56): This column gives you news from the Youth Bureau (Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) -- focusing this time on the Reconnect program.
  • Get IT (p.57): This column of Internet news has a musical theme.
  • Out Now (pp.58-62): In this column, ACYS reviews recent publications and resources for those working in the youth field.
  • From the Peaks (p.63): Here, the peak youth organisations for NSW and WA talk about their forthcoming State conferences. (The contact details of all the State and Territory youth affairs peak organisations are listed on p.64.)