Birmingham City University will host a critically acclaimed photographic exhibition of British sound system and vinyl culture between 21 March and 5 April.
At dances, men often say: ‘What are you doing with those records?’
It feels fabulous to shock them.
– April ‘Rusty Rebel‘ Grant, Operator of Birmingham’s Rebel Rock sound
The Let’s Play Vinyl touring exhibition coincides with the international Reggae Innovation conference taking place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire between 4-5 April.
Let’s Go Yorkshire commissioned photographer Elliot Baxter to capture 21 stunning images portraying the current generation of reggae sound system operators across the UK, saluting them as productive entrepreneurs creating their own arts ecology in today’s Britain.
The exhibition uses portraiture and interviews to shine a light on some of these new and diverse sound systems, which are pushing through the traditions of reggae and vinyl, featuring:
Badaboom, CAYA, Dub Conductor, Emperorfari, Government, Irie Vibes, Jah Hamma, Junior Quaker, Maasai Warrior, Mousai, Negus Dub Warrior, Rasta Yard, Rebel Rock, Rebel Spirit, Reggae Roast, Sinai, Unit 137, Universal Warrior, Wassifa, Young Warrior, Zion Inna-Vision
The emergence of more female sound system operators is one of the defining characteristics of the new generation, with women moving on from being predominantly performers with male sounds, to building, operating and managing their own sounds.
April ‘Rusty Rebel‘ Grant, operator of Birmingham’s Rebel Rock sound, takes it all in her stride. “At dances, men often say: ‘What are you doing with those records?’ It feels fabulous to shock them,” she says. “When I hold a piece of vinyl I think about all the work that has gone into it – especially if it’s an artist that’s no longer here – and I think about how amazing it is that it’s all on this piece of plastic, and the technical process of getting it on there.”
The exhibition is accompanied by the custom-built Heritage HiFi and a series of participatory workshops including ‘Let’s Build A Sound System’, ‘Let’s Toast’ and ‘Let’s Play Vinyl’ for children and adults.
For further details of the workshops, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition forms part of the Let’s Play Vinyl National Tour developed by Let’s Go Yorkshire in partnership with the University of Leicester, Goldsmiths, University of London, Birmingham City University and the University of Huddersfield.