Hard Wired-conferences: The story so far…

Between 03.-05. of May 2018, the music department in University of Siegen, Germany will be hosting the sixth edition of the Hard Wired conference series, a forum dedicated to the research of metal music. Based in the German speaking academic world, and founded upon the ideas of interdisciplinary research, the inaugural edition of the conference took place in 2011, at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz located in the nearby city of Cologne. This gathering of scholars, came in a time of a growing interest in the then-fledgling field of metal music studies, building on from efforts of both the first international conference on heavy metal music which took place in Salzburg in 2008; as well as the international congress dedicated to Heavy Metal and Gender in 2009 also taking place in Cologne.

Previous editions of Hard Wired were organised annually between 2011 and 2015, changing location with each iteration – Vienna (2013), Mainz (2014), and Zurich (2012, 2015). Scholars, mainly from the German-speaking world engaged with a range of topics, discussing the role and relation of heavy metal in socio-cultural contexts such as society, education, performativity etc. Of particular notice is the second edition of the conference, where the main focus was a discussion of methodological approaches. This resulted in the so-far only publication based on the conference, released in 2014, containing nearly a dozen analytical articles, examining the phenomenon of heavy metal through approaches based on hermeneutics, social-sciences, musicology and cultural studies, under the editorial of the organisers Prof. Florian Heesch, and Prof. Anna-Katharina Höpflinger.
Since its inception, the Hard Wired series has not only aimed to help strengthen the network of researchers working in the field of heavy metal, but through its organisation being handled by scholars working in a wide range disciplines (musicology, sociology, theatre studies, religion studies) to help further widen and include the interdisciplinary perspectives, found in the roots of metal music studies.

The venue-selection for the Hard Wired series is based on an informal decision process reliant on the initiative of the attendees. We would therefore be pleased if – in the spirit of the Hard Wired tradition – the location for a Hard Wired VII in 2019 event is determined during our conference.