Thursday, October 15, 2009

u2 conference in the rearview mirror

Having flown home with my U2 conference T-shirt,

and recovered from jetlag and further to my attendance at the U2 conference, I have written a report for my (partial) funders – Laidlaw College. Here is part of it, a rearview mirror reflection on the conference.

Some highlights
1 – Broad appeal: The theme of U2 ensured an incredibly wide range of people, in age, in interest. The fact the many presenters were academics by day, fans by night, ensured a passion and energy that ran throughout the conference.

2 – Being in a world-changing, rather than church-changing conversation: It was great to be in a conversation that began with and in contemporary culture and as a theologian to rub shoulders with Aids activists, writers for Rolling Stone and rock journalists. So much of my work ends up with people saying “What about the church?” In contrast, a dominant conference question was “What about the world?” in relation to social justice and Kingdom activism. That was refreshing.

3 – Networks: The conference allowed me a chance to meet face to face with a number of academic peers in the theology and popular culture field. (Shout out to Andy, Tim (who graciously showed me around Duke University, including a real local eatery!), Beth, Greg Clarke and Jeffrey Keuss.). Being isolated in New Zealand, this face to face contact is vital for developing relationships and networks.

4 – Future openings: Their are plans for a conference book and considerable energy for another conference. There is also a conversation happening with Laidlaw Christchurch and Opawa Baptist regarding me presenting an extended version of my paper in Christchurch (Reframing and sampling: the evolving live concert performance’s of Bullet the Blue Sky), as a sort of “alumni”/public interest gathering.

Posted by steve at 09:35 PM

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