UWI Hosts 8th Global Reggae Conference A Century of Sound: Technology, Culture and Performance

The region’s 8th Global Reggae Conference (#GRC2024) hosted by the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at The University of the West Indies kicks off today, Wednesday, February 14. Over its four-day staging, the #GRC2024 will feature a compact schedule of panels, spotlight sessions, special presentations, film screenings, and cultural activities under the theme “A Century of Sound: Technology, Culture and Performance.”


From the 1940s to the present day, sound systems have rocked the world with word, sound, and power. From Kingston’s streets to the world’s biggest festival stages, the Jamaican-born institution of the sound system has profoundly influenced how music is produced, performed, remixed, and enjoyed worldwide. The 2024 edition of the Global Reggae Conference celebrates and investigates the culture and technology of Jamaica’s most famous musical instrument.


The triennial Global Reggae Conference extends its reach to engage academics within a wide field of scholastic orientations and practices for its 8th staging. In celebration of the cultural, technological, and productive space created by the sound system, both locally and globally, the conference aims to bring together students, scholars, filmmakers, sound producers, researchers, writers, critics, music aficionados, and artists to share research findings, ideas, and perspectives. Over 60 presenters from the Caribbean, North and South America, Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the UK are expected to participate.


The conference is part of a larger project on music, popular culture, and Reggae Studies from the Institute of Caribbean Studies and Reggae Studies Unit. Over the last decade, this has advanced the study of reggae and Jamaican popular culture and contributed to expanding scholarship and outreach through creative production, community engagement, research, experimentation, archive building, exhibitions, and events. In the spirit of collaboration seen in previous conferences, the 2024 conference is being hosted in association with the European Research Council (ERC)-funded research project, Sonic Street Technologies (SST), and the research group Sound System Outernational, both based at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Over its four-day staging, conference highlights will include:

A special Vice Chancellor’s Forum on ‘A Century of Jamaican Sound’ with key academics and members of Jamaica’s music scene on Wednesday, February 14 at 2:00 pm (EST/Jamaica)

The SSO#10 Frames and Frequencies Film Festival on Thursday, February 15, a unique feature of which will be the premiere of thirteen sound system films showcasing a fantastic range of sound systems and their musical and cultural scenes.

Student Sound Clash on Thursday, February 15 at 3:00 pm (EST/Jamaica) showcasing the unique talent of students at The UWI Mona Campus. 

Panel Discussions on Friday, February 16, and Saturday, February 17, highlighting the evolution of Jamaican music, technology and culture. 

The 27th Annual Bob Marley Lecture entitled ‘My Friend Bob Marley’ by Barbara Blake Hannah on Friday, February 16, 6:00 pm (EST/Jamaica).

A Sound System Night on Saturday, February 17, in partnership with Guinness.

For more details on the conference programme and related events please contact the Institute of Caribbean Studies at 1-876-977-1951. Members of the public are invited to attend. 

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