Projectraisetheroof's Blog


Raisetheroof Research Blog – Roxanne Yeganegy
Here we go. My first proper attempt at blogging… I have questioned whether anyone actually reads these so if you have please leave a comment!

raisetheroof is now ‘officially’ part of a research project, I’m too scared to refer to it as a ‘phd’ research project in case I curse it: I am still only a provisional phd student until I upgrade (upgrading involves horrid things such as handing in a proper piece of writing, printed out and bound and everything).

But the good news is; planning raisetheroof no longer feels like naughty sciving off from the loftier goals of a phd. Its ‘action research’! Annoyingly, though, organising raisetheroof doesn’t actually constitute assessed work. My peers at the school of music can write a fraction of what I have I do, submitted along with the composition of a piece of music that is assessed together as theory and practice.

Well, why can’t raisetheroof be the practical work?! It fulfils the same function doesn’t it? It’s sort of like a composition, manifesting the theoretical ideas of the thesis. Not fair. This is the problem with academia, narrow ideas of what constitutes acceptable work, always having to stuff things into conventional boxes so that you can weigh it and measure it and work out its value according to institutional criteria. Its impossible to stuff raisetheroof into ‘the box’ that the university requires for practical work. This necessitates the production of a book-length thesis whilst simultaneously organising some hardcore entertainment.

POOR ME. MOAN MOAN MOAN! Oh dear, my first blog has descended into a rant already! I seriously need to sort my ungrateful, cynical winging head out.

Because doing all of this is a privilege.

Apologies for a long and rather negative introduction to my first research blog. If you are reading this and wondering what I am on about let me be explicit: I am a phd student split over PCI (Performing Arts and Cultural Industries) and the School of Music at the University of Leeds, I also organise raisetheroof with the help of some great friends, and now…. its all rolling into one expanding ball of ideas and practice.

I can’t give you the official title to my research, because it changes month on month as more literature is incorporated and all of the ideas I thought were originally mine are blown out of the water (this the disconcerting, yet unavoidable situation I am told).

So lets just call it “raisetheroof”.

Social activism, re-enchantment, audience participation, neo-tribalism, producer/consumer proxemics, the evolution and fragmentation of audiences…

These are all ideas that are of interest to me, which are being explored via the ‘Boutique’ event, which I classify as small-scale, multi-arts platforms with a rhetoric of authenticity and social activism.

Recently, its all about the audience. The audience, the audience. Last night, as I painted flourescent blue onto a fake giant sweet for the upcoming ‘Wonka’ event, I watched footage of the Monterey Jazz festival – mid seventies I think it was, but the festival itself is one of the original festivals of jazz, in fact an original festival of popular music, as jazz was the popular style of the time when the event began, which I believe was in the 1950’s. Anyway, I digress.

The point is that the footage was exclusively of the performers, the acts playing on a rather shabby looking stage with a bizarre 2D wimpish looking lion in the background. There were no shots of the audience, though at times they could be heard clapping and shrieking. Without paying attention to the audience you only got half of the picture of what this festival was truly like. Anyone that has ever had to support their friends band playing a gig to three people in an empty room will know what an enormous difference the crowd makes – there’s power in numbers, so they say.

The fact that the filming of an important festival in that era totally neglected the audience is testament to the old view that saw the stage as exclusively ‘where the party’s at’. Footage of the contemporary event is radically different in that almost equal attention is paid to the audience – even when filming massive acts on massive stages; the reaction of the crowd is a crucial element of representing the true atmosphere and experience of the event.

Does this show an increasing realisation that the audience, as well as the bands and the musicians, are performing at the event? Perhaps the word ‘audience’ in no longer relevant in this context, as it suggests passivity. How can festival-goers, in their fancy-dressing, dancing, revelling, riotous raucousness be described with the same word that is used for describing the attendants of a conference or theatre production?

PARTICIPANTS is the word in vogue at the Burning Man Festival, an event I attended a month ago that, quite literally, blew my mind – it blew away old ideas leaving a batch of nice fresh ones! And they are definitely, connected to the audience.

Will go into some more detail on that another time. For now, check out the amazingness – have I linked this right?

And this is me on the wooden pyre, a couple of days before the burn…. the ‘participants’ left messages scrawled all over the wood.


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  1. * Andy Joy says:

    Hi Roxi,
    Just read your blog, good stuff!(-: I’m also new to this blogging thing but I can definitely see the benefits. I’m a second year AEP student at Leeds Met and am looking forward to meeting you this evening when we Raise the Roof at the West Indian centre!
    I’m also part of the Wonka Press, which I’m very excited, if somewhat nervous about!
    So I hope everything is going well for you and its not too stressful, suppose the stress is part of the excitement though isn’t it…..
    I have to go and get organized as I’m helping the first years with their Light Night performance in Queens Square and then doing the slow motion egg fight that we’ve taken round the festivals this year, it’s all go!
    Good luck, and see you tonight!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 6 months ago
    • Hi Andy!

      It was great to meet all of you on Friday. I was pretty nervous about chatting to you guys as I knew how tired I would be at that point, but I really enjoyed it in the end.

      I didnt get to see the Wonka Press in action, I trust it went okay?

      Your Arts and Events Performance course sounds really interesting by the way, I wish I had done something like that it would have been right up my street…

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 6 months ago
  2. * jordan luke says:

    hi rox!!

    nice one with the blog 🙂

    i’m afraid you didn’t link the video right though !!!


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 6 months ago

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