09/21 - 01/22: University of Ghana
03/22 - 06/22: Harvard University
“Music is not a one-man show.” Young Instrumental Musicians in Accra, Ghana, and their (trans-)local creative Relations
In African contexts, youths are highly active in prosperous and internationally successful music scenes. Concurrently, youth is often diagnosed to be “prolonged” and “marginalized,“ not least due to neoliberal precarisation. Against this background, Katharina Gartner researches questions of “prolonged youth” and creativity in Ghana’s globally intertwined metropolis, Accra. She conducts an ethnographic study with young instrumental musicians who are active in in various genres (e.g. gospel, highlife, [afro-]pop, brass, neo-traditional). As relationships which they maintain within their music practice (e.g. with colleagues, students, mentors etc.) play an essential role for the creative process, Gartner analyzes these music relations in their local, translocal and transcontinental entanglements. In the process, she analytically combines perspectives from youth studies, ethnomusicology, and popular culture studies.
Katharina Gartner is a researcher and lecturer on youth and expressive cultures, with a special interest in music. She works at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna, and at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Her current Ph.D. dissertation focuses on young instrumental musicians in Accra, Ghana, and traces questions of “prolonged youth” and creativity in a setting of rapid urbanization, increased precarity, digital revolution and accelerated global flows.
Katharina Gartner’s work stems from an international and interdisciplinary background. She studied in Vienna, Paris, and Accra: African studies, anthropology of music, psychoanalysis of youth and educational studies. In addition to Austria and France, her research led her to four African countries. Her scientific work is inspired by her practical experience as a counselor for youths and their families, and as a performing musician.
„Shiny Shabomen. Young Musicians in Accra, and Performances of Masculinities in Popular Music“, in: Gender, Place and Culture, 1.9.2020, Open Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0966369X.2020.1786016 (peer reviewed), 23 S.; gem. mit Kathrin Mackowski und Gerhard Kubik, "Musik verstehen: Transkulturelle Erkundungen des südafrikanischen Jazz", Interview in der Radiosendung Salzburger Nachtstudio, Radio Ö1, Wien, 11. Juli 2018; „Fernrohre tauschen. Kulturelle Verschiedenheiten in der Erziehungsberatung“, in: Psychologie in Österreich, 01/2012, S. 56–63.
Aktuell erfahren Kunst, Musik und Populärkultur aus afrikanischen Kontexten internationale Hypes. Katharina Gartner forschte extensiv zu Musikproduktion in Ghanas Küstenmetropole Accra. Im Vortrag gibt sie Einblicke in transkontinentale Musikbeziehungen und fragt, wie diese auf die Kreativität junger Instrumentalisten wirken.