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21 May 2015

New Music Archive for Western Australia

New Music Archive for Western Australia

The music community of Western Australia now has a special archive dedicated to WA's new music activity from the 1970s to the present day. The Western Australian New Music Archive (WANMA) is an evolving, permanent and fully online archive: the project seeks to collect, digitise and disseminate music recordings, video documentation and scores - in digital format and by pointing to other collections, not as hard copies. It draws material from the State Library of Western Australia catalogue, the National Library's Trove and ABC Classic FM's collection, as well as attracting contributions from the West Australian new music community.

Wednesday's launch of WANMA, timed to coincide with the Totally Huge New Music Festival and Symposium currently underway in Perth, was a 'soft launch', which means that the archive is currently open for community consultation. Those wanting to contribute to the archive can do so on the WANMA website, typing in the access code LetMeContribute. Eventually, the archive will be accessible for the public for non-commercial research-related purposes.

We asked composer Cat Hope - Associate professor and coordinator of research at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University - why it is that Western Australia needs its own new music archive.

'Western Australian music does not feature in other collections in a way that paints an accurate picture of the quantity and quality of activity, so making our own archive that others can plug into gives us control of our own representation in larger collections', she explains.

Western Australia has been well-known for its vibrant new music scene for many years - some of Australia's most important musical figures from sound artists to composers have called it home, and WA artists have made important contributions to electronic and experimental music. Is this because of good resources, or because of he willingness and capacity for cooperation between artists and institutions, or perhaps a side-product of a particularly creative, adventurous spirit prevalent in the West?

'I think it's all of these things!, Hope says. 'There is a very collaborative and supportive community in Perth that I haven't found in other Australian cities. Now we hope that WA musicians, audiences and other stakeholders will contribute and comment to the new online portal as we build content, metadata and other materials.'

WANMA is an Australian Research Council supported Linkage project and partnership led by the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University, with the State Library of Western Australia, Tura New Music, ABC Classic FM and the National Library of Australia.

> WANMA website (open for community consultation: contributors can use the access code LetMeContribute)
> Totally Huge New Music Festival website

Anni Heino is Editor (Communications & Resonate) at the Australian Music Centre.


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