Sunrise from the hotel

Sometimes the cool and interesting things that my colleagues do at work spill over and I get some of the benefits. As a result, I was in Budapest last week for the European project that Paul Long & Jez Collins run out of our research office.

It’s about innovation in popular music heritage and its impact on vocational training – which basically means a bunch of stuff about celebrating the musical history of a place (as Liverpool does with the Beatles, Chicago does with Blues music, etc.), and then understanding how people do that in really interesting and surprising ways, figuring out how they get (or make) jobs in that, and then translating that into what we teach people who want to do those sorts of jobs.

The project connects with different types of educators, music industry people and students in a number of different countries – from Bulgaria to Ireland, Finland to the Germany, UK to the Netherlands. All of them interested, for one reason or another, in: 1) popular music heritage; 2) innovation; 3) vocational training for the media and music industries.

Jonathon works while listening

That’s the theme at any rate. The purpose of the project is just to get people from different places around Europe to get together, talk about this stuff, see what each other does in those sorts of areas, learn from it – and maybe sow the seeds of future collaboration.

The upshot of which is we get to travel around, meet with lovely people in cool places, and hang out in “sites of popular music culture and heritage” (bars, mostly).

Paul & Jez in Budapest

Paul and Jez (above) had arranged with our partners for a few activities to take place, so once we had dispensed with the obligatory project meeting in a university classroom, we hit the streets. There was a bit of walking around – but mostly cycling, as we were taken on a tour to visit some important music places and meet some important music people.

I was invited along in part because these things are relevant to my research and teaching, but also because I already had some great contacts in this area in Budapest from a previous trip.

A38 boat / bar / venue / gallery / restaurant

We visited A38, which is essentially a boat moored on the banks of the Danube (in fact, it’s permanently fixed there, which officially makes it not a boat). It was voted the Best Bar in the World 2012 by Lonely Planet, which is pretty good going – but it’s not just a bar.

It’s a live music venue, a restaurant, an art gallery and performance space – and it happens to have a rather good bar on the top deck.

The history of Hungarian music subculture

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a proper ‘heritage’ tour if it hadn’t involved a trip to an exhibition in a gallery of museum — and happily, there was a very good exhibition of Hungarian music subculture as seen through the lens of a French filmmaker & videographer who had moved to Budapest at a particularly rich time in its cultural history.

And naturally, there was a bunch of sightseeing to do, friends to catch up with and meals to be had, which is always the bonus of having work that involves travel.

More photos, as usual, on Flickr.