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Blank Canvas

Art School Creativity from Punk to New Wave

A contemporary and historical look at the relationship between art and music within education in the United Kingdom.

Art school Britain in the 1960s and ’70s was a hotbed of experimental DIY creativity that blurred the lines between art and music. In Blank Canvas, multi-genre musician and university lecturer Simon Strange paints a picture of the diverse range of people who broke down the barriers between art, life, and the creative self.

Tracing lines from the Bauhaus “blank slate” through the white heat of the Velvet Underground and the cutting edge of the Slits, Blank Canvas draws on interviews with giants of the genre across the spectrums of music, gender, and race, from Brian Eno to Pauline Black, Cabaret Voltaire to Gaye Advert. What emerges is a portrait of the era as an eclectic range of musical styles and cultures fused, erupting into a diverse flow of outspoken originality. Providing a framework for creativity within the arts and education, the book illuminates a path for the cultural evolution of both musicians and artists hoping to create the future.

304 pages | 19 halftones | 5 3/4 x 8 1/4

Global Punk Series

Education: Philosophy of Education

Music: General Music

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"Simon Strange handles all this material highly skilfully and it’s a testament to both his writing and his meticulous research that he manages to cover such a far reaching subject with hardly a false step."

Louder Than War

“Strange's writing is accessible, and his point of view is clear, even as the scope of his project feels unwieldy. Art practices and postmodernism, minimalism, expressionism and amateurism, defining non-musicianship in musical terms, tracing evidence of rebellious pedagogies in commercial music products, the impact of emergent technologies and cybernetics on autonomy and aesthetics... it's a lot of tricky ground to cover. Most impressive is the way Strange is able to thread multiple emergent creative strategies and revolutionary cultural moments to a coherent narrative, identifying a set of principles that could be usefully applied to a range of creative practices today. . . . His recommendations are useful and inclusive, able to be implemented in multiple style contexts beyond pop and punk, not necessarily advocating for the rule book to be torn up, but rather for inclusive principles of collaborative cross-pollination and experimentation to be given more time, space and focus.”

The Wire

Table of Contents

1 Bauhaus onwards
2 UK Art Schools
3 Conceptually redefined
4 The rise of the nonmusician
5 Concentration on the Process
6 Experimentation
7 Relationships
8 Blank Canvas

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