The Interactive Media and Performance (IMP) Labs are directed by Dr. Charity Marsh, Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The labs are a primary site for interdisciplinary research and collaborative projects across the University of Regina and among wider communities of interest, particularly in Western and Northern Canada. The labs house the following:
- A multi-media DJ interactive studio and performance/workshop space
- An Ethnomusicology Fieldwork Lab
- A Beat-making-Electronic Music Studio
- Archival materials
- Research offices for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students
The labs are the focal point for the ongoing projects of the CRC. Another component of the CRC research programme is in the areas of new media, Social Network Sites (SNS) such as Facebook and MySpace, video games, and on-line interactive communities, including fan sites.
- 1 DJ Multi-Media Workshop and Performance Studio
- 2 Beat Making and Electronic Music Production Studio
- 3 Flatland Scratch Seminar/Workshop Series
- 4 Scott Collegiate and IMP Labs Hip Hop Project
- 5 CBC Student Newsday Project
- 6 Dr. Charity Marsh
- 7 University Course Offering
- 8 Canadian (indigenous) hip hop culture
- 9 Isolation, Creativity, and Space: The Production of Music in Western and Northern Canada
- 10 DJ Cultures (EDM, Club Culture, Rave, Techno, Psy-Trance, Online and Community Radio, Hip Hop)
- 11 Notes and references
- 12 External links
DJ Multi-Media Workshop and Performance Studio
Beat Making and Electronic Music Production Studio
The Beat Making and Production Studio houses 9 stations equipped with Pro Tools HD, Reason, Ableton Live, Max MSP, Super Collider, and Final Cut Pro. Additionally the studio is equipped with MPC1000s and MPC2500s, and other sound production devices. The studio doubles as a smart classroom with 5.1 HD surround sound.
Flatland Scratch Seminar/Workshop Series
In the initial Flatland Scratch Series the emphasis was placed on rave culture, electronic dance music, and the role of the DJ with events being held over three evenings in the fall of 2005. Last year (2008) the Flatland Scratch Series II focused primarily on hip hop culture and the production and practices associated with the music of this genre. During the final segment of the Flatland Scratch Series II the new Interactive Media and Performance (IMP) Labs were launched at the University of Regina. As part of the celebrations Marsh introduced themes of her new research program on popular music in western and northern Canada, facilitated a roundtable discussion on hip-hop in Saskatchewan with 10 local hip-hop artists, and led tours of the new labs. The launch of the IMP Labs and the Flatland Scratch Series II concluded with performances by Saskatchewan’s hip-hop artists Eekwol and Mils with special guest Def3.
The Flatland Scratch Series III – workshops, seminars, and performances by local, national and international musicians, artists, and scholars related to the various elements of hip-hop culture (graffiti, break, rap, DJ and beat-making), current manifestations of global electronic dance music cultures (psy-trance, silent raves), technologies associated with music production and performance, and the significance of music as a contemporary storytelling practice.
Scott Collegiate and IMP Labs Hip Hop Project
The Hip Hop Project version 2 (HHPv2) consists of twelve students in grade 10 spending their morning earning English and Arts Ed credits while learning about Hip Hop culture. The Hip Hop Project is offered through a partnership with the University of Regina and Saskatchewan In Motion. Two mornings a week, students work towards earning an Arts Education 20 credit at the Interactive Media and Performance studios at the University of Regina. Dr. Charity Marsh facilitates sessions with local Hip Hop DJs, graffiti artists, MCs, and B-Boys and B-Girls. In one of the studios outfitted with turntables, students learn the art of scratch. In the other studio, students learn how to use the MPC beat machine and computer software (Audible Live) to make music.. When not in the classroom, students are doing activities around the six strands of English Language Arts that relate to Hip Hop. They are reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing Hip Hop culture. The students kept [a blog http://scott-hhp.blogspot.com/] about their time in the project.
CBC Student Newsday Project
Student News Day in Saskatchewan is an opportunity for young people to tell a story about an issue important to them, and for you to learn more about the stories that matter most to our province’s youth.
Dr. Charity Marsh
Dr. Charity Marsh holds the Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina. Dr. Marsh earned a Bachelor of Music in Musicology, Theory, and Performance as well as a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Women's Studies and a minor in German from the University of Ottawa. From York University she earned her MA in Women Studies problematizing the dynamic and contested relationship between nature and technology in the Icelandic artist, Björk's 1997 album Homogenic. In April 2005 Dr. Marsh defended her thesis entitled, "Raving Cyborgs, Queering Practices, and Discourses of Freedom: The Search for Meaning in Toronto's Rave Culture", completing her Ph.D. requirements for the doctoral programme in Popular Music Studies and Ethnomusicology at York University.
Dr. Marsh's current research focuses on interactive media and performance and how cultures and practices associated with this broad category contribute to dialogues concerning regionalism, cultural identity, and community specifically within western and northern Canada, and more generally on a global scale. In 2007 Dr. Marsh was awarded a Canadian Foundation for Innovation Grant and a Saskatchewan Fund for Innovation and Science grant to develop the Interactive Media and Performance Labs as a way to support her ongoing research. With the development of her new Interactive Media and Performance Labs (IMP) at the University of Regina, the emphasis of her research and arts practices include the following areas:
- Canadian (Indigenous) Hip Hop Cultures
- DJ Cultures including EDM, Club-Culture, Rave Culture, Techno, Psy-Trance, on-line, community, and pirate radio
- Isolation, Identity, and Space: Production and Performance of Popular Music in Western and Northern Canada.
- To spearhead a range of projects focused on how interactive media-based performance cultures initiate new dialogues concerning issues of identity, community, social relations, politics, anxiety, space and citizenship.
- To understand the significance of regionalism, cultural identity, access to new technologies, and a consciousness of resistance in relation to these music cultures within the context of Canada.
The labs are a primary site for interdisciplinary research and collaborative projects across the University of Regina and among wider communities of interest, particularly in Western and Northern Canada.
University Course Offering
Professor: Dr. Charity Marsh Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance.
The content of the course includes critical analysis of mass media, performance and audio art, DJ cultures, film, music video, sound, video games, anime, computer interfaces, websites, web video, radio, television, and online social networking. This course situates and explores interactive media and performance in historical, socio-cultural, and political contexts.
Canada Research Chair (CRC) Research
- Four Major Areas of Research Include
- Canadian (Indigenous) Hip Hop Culture
- DJ Cultures (EDM, Club Culture, Rave, Techno, Psy-Trance, Online and Community Radio, Hip Hop)
- Isolation, Identity and Space: The Production of Music in Western and Northern Canada
- Interactive Media and Technology (SNS, New Media, Virtual space, Online communities)
Canadian (indigenous) hip hop culture
For some people, Canada’s new burgeoning Indigenous Hip-Hop scene represents the globalization (read Americanization) of Canada’s Indigenous youth. For others, it represents a culture of sublimation because it gives Canadian Indigenous youth a means to share their current lived experiences and to convey that which is often left unsaid within public discourse.
Drawing on the work of Tony Mitchell  and his suggestion that we must resist “the prevailing colonialist view that global hip-hop is an exotic and derivative outgrowth of an African-American owned idiom subject to assessment in terms of American norms and standards” and Emma LaRoque’s  claim that it is wrong to hold young people hostage to their past, this research argues for the disruptive possibilities of the Indigenous Hip Hop scene across the Canadian prairies.
- Isolation, Identity and Space: The Production of Music in Western and Northern Canada
- Interactive Media and Technology (SNS, New Media, Virtual Space, Online communities)
Isolation, Creativity, and Space: The Production of Music in Western and Northern Canada
The music created and produced across the prairies and in the urban centers of Western and Northern Canada represent an eclectic range of musical genres, a combination of traditional, Indigenous, folk, and immigrant sounds with popular contemporary music practices. Much of what happens musically across the prairies and in Canada’s northern cities, towns, and communities, is affected by experiences that transpire when one lives in an expansive geographical setting that is sparsely populated. For some musicians isolation from large urban centers and a bustling scene is detrimental, but for others it is this very isolation and expansive space that acts as a catalyst for their creativity and contextualizes their music production.
To produce case studies of artists whose creativity, performance, and music production practices have been substantively affected by isolation and space while living in western or northern Canada.
- Saskatchewan's blues artists Little Miss Higgins and Foy Taylor
- Saskatchewan Indigenous hip-hop MC Eekwol
- Yellowknife's Dene singer-songwriter Leela Gilday
- Western hip-hop artist and self-proclaimed half-breed Kinnie Starr
- Inuit throat-singer Tanya Tagaq
- Nunavut's Lucie Idlout
- Saskatchewan Hip-Hop Artists including Def3, DJ Quartz, Mils, InfoRed, Stinson, Merky Waters, Aries, Truth
- Saskatchewan-born folk singer Gary Fjellgaard
- Alberta's trans-identified country musician Rae Spoons
- British Columbia's Mother Mother
DJ Cultures (EDM, Club Culture, Rave, Techno, Psy-Trance, Online and Community Radio, Hip Hop)
From the rise of radio DJ-personalities around mid 20th century, to club DJs in the 1970s, to hip-hop and battle DJs in the 1980s, and electronic music festival and rave DJs in the 1990s, the DJ has become a prominent figure in the music industry and on a global scale. The rise of the DJ has contributed to the creation of innovative technologies, hybid music genres, alternative performance practices, diverse audience responses, new marketing strategies, and major changes in music recording and production.
Regarding the DJ: Music Technology, and Resistance, focuses on the DJ and the place of the DJ figure on the prairies and in Western and Northern Canada.
Notes and references
- Mitchell, Tony. “Another Root: Hip-Hop Outside the U.S.A.” In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the U.S.A. Ed. Tony Mitchell. Wesleyan University Press: Middletown, 2001, pp. 1-38.
- LaRocque, Emma. “Métis and Feminist: Ethical Reflection on Feminism, Human Rights and Decolonization,” In Making Space for Indigenous Feminism. Ed. Joyce Green. Nova Scotia and Manitoba: Fernwood Publishing, 2007, pp. 53-71.
- Marsh, Charity. “Understand Us Before You End Us: Regulation, Governmentality, and the Confessional Practices of Raving Bodies,” In Popular Music. Volume 25/3 Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 415-430.