Episode 029

Contagious Tapes: an artifact









Owen Kelly



November 8, 2019


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On October 28, Sophie Hope and Owen Kelly met in Newcastle, in the north east of England, to attend a symposium called Community Arts: Practice and Processes of Production. Everyone who attended had received a request to bring an artifact with them – something that stemmed from, or reminded them of, their practice as a community artist.

Sophie brought a copy of What A Way To Run A Railroad, and we will discuss that in a future episode. Owen brought a copy of a manual for the Contagious Tapes collective: a project that Mediumwave established to enable musicians to record and distribute their own music outside the music business.

In this episode Owen Kelly explains Sophie’s absence, discusses the symposium, and looks at the aims, objectives, and practical outcomes of the Contagious Tape experiment. He argues that this blend of theory and practice more accurately represents the kind of work that community artists did in the nineteen eighties than much of the writing that later described it.