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David Madden Publishes Article on the COVID-19 Crisis and the Electronic Dance Community in Montreal, Quebec

David Madden, assistant professor of screen arts, recently published the article “Covid Nights: Crisis, and Street-level Institutions in Montreal and Beyond” in Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. The paper addresses the ongoing challenges of the EDM (electronic dance music) community in Montreal, Quebec, specifically in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ongoing protests from Los Angeles, to Beirut, Santiago and beyond, has laid bare and amplified many of the growing structural socio-economic inequalities of over forty years of sustained neoliberalism and its regional permutations,” the article begins.

In the article, Madden provides a case study around a street-level institution’s transformation as a way to think about the cultural scene as it moves through COVID. He addresses two key elements: Local governments and stakeholders need to recognize street-level spaces as necessary parts of cultural and economic life to create a sustainable post-pandemic EDM scene, and, as the world considers how to reframe the cultural world after the pandemic, we need to reconsider how cultural workers, who are often gig workers, are included.

“I hope people will take a moment to reflect on the importance of culture in their lives, the value of it in their lives,” Madden shares. “It’s my hope that, as we have discussions around how to re-articulate our cultural worlds in relation to our economic worlds, we will pause for a moment and think about how these cultural workers must be included. There are solutions and options available to us that move beyond this current gig economy. There are ways in which people can be included who work in this area that involves standardized practices, wages, healthcare.”

David Madden is an assistant professor of screen arts at Seaver College. Much of his research considers the cultural politics of sound and electronic music from the intersections of history, practice, aging, and gender. His scholarship is also informed by his work as a musician, music producer, community arts practitioner, and media artist. Currently, he is writing a historical book on electronic music (McGill-Queen’s University Press, forthcoming)  and pursuing research-creation projects in the areas of sound art, soundscape composition, and electronic dance music.

To read more, visit Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture.