UCL European Institute


Ultimate Outsider Genre: Metal, Diversity, Activism [UCL Music Futures]

27 September 2024, 1:00 pm–7:00 pm


Hybrid interdisciplinary conference exploring extreme metal music

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Riitta Valijarvi


Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing
Gower Street
United Kingdom

About the event

In times of widening economic inequality, encroaching climate crisis, rising fascism, and the horrors of war - extreme metal music has emerged as a vital site of political engagement and resistance. Over the last decade or so, the field of extreme metal (death and black metal, doom and sludge, industrial, and noise, etc) has demonstrated a renewed sense of diversity, inclusion, and political consciousness, especially from left-wing, antifascist/antiracist/anticapitalist positions across the globe. The political anger and anti-authoritarian impulse animating metal since its beginnings (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Napalm Death, Sepultura) is now undergoing a renaissance, opening up exciting new pathways for activism and solidarity.

Ultimate Outsider Genre: Metal, Diversity, Activism is an interdisciplinary conference bringing together scholars, writers, and musicians, for a day of dialogue on how extreme metal music is meeting today’s world on fire. From a variety of perspectives (from feminist/queer theory to environmentalism, sociology to aesthetics, activism and community-building) we will discuss and strategize how extreme metal can be a vehicle for raising consciousness and creating social change, towards a politics of inclusion, care, and anticapitalist futures.

This conference is convened by Dr Riitta Valijarvi, Associate Professor (Teaching) at UCL SSEES and independent scholar and a metal journalist Daniel Lukes (co-editor of Black Metal Rainbows).

Information about panels, industry partners, and evening activities to follow. The event will be in person, with the option of joining remotely. 

Please contact Daniel Lukes (daniel.lukes@gmail.com) and Riitta Valijarvi (r.valijarvi@ucl.ac.uk) if you would like to be involved!


Patricia MacCormack
Professor Patricia MacCormack, Anglia Ruskin University ARU




The convenors and their recents books

Also check out our Talking Europe Podcast with Riitta Valijarvi, on Multilingual Metal Music!

Listen now

This conference is supported by qUCL, UCL's  university-wide initiative that brings together UCL staff and students with research and teaching interests in LGBTQ studies, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory and related fields. Find out about qUCL here

Further support is provided by UCL Music Futures, the initiative dedicated to thinking, writing and performing music, jointly hosted by the UCL European Institute and the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, with support from UCL Grand Challenges. Read about UCL Music Futures here

Image: Collage of Black Kaleidoscope, by Ry Cunningham, with permission