Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Ultimate Outsider Genre: Metal, Diversity, Activism

27 September 2024, 1:00 pm–7:00 pm

three white faces with goth-style make-up

Hybrid interdisciplinary conference exploring extreme metal music, convened by Riitta Valijarvi, UCL SSEES

Event Information

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Riitta Valijarvi


IAS Common Ground
G11, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London
United Kingdom

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.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Patricia MacCormack, Anglia Ruskin University ARU. 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!

Image: Black Kaleidoscope, Ry Cunningham

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