Heavy Metal conference to include speakers, concerts

By: Mallory Roshkowski – Staff Writer

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of heavy metal music?

Screaming, loud guitar screeching, head thrashing – all stereotypes often associated with the heavy metal genre because it is not something people know much about. The Metal and Cultural Impact Conference will take place from November 6-8 at the University of Dayton, to educate attendees about the rich field of heavy metal and broaden their horizons.

Thursday through Saturday, attendees will be able to hear keynote speakers, breakout sessions and live performances. There will be presenters from five to six different countries, offering a unique diversity.

UD English professor Dr. Bryan Bardine played an essential role in planning the upcoming conference. He got the idea to bring the conference to Dayton after attending a heavy metal conference in April 2013.

“It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to,” Bardine said. “And I thought, why not Dayton?”

Keynote speakers will feature different subjects, but Bardine highlighted Looking at Metal in the LGBT Community as one not to miss. Some other sessions Bardine mentioned include: Metal and Gender, Metal and Religion, Metal and Education and How Metal Survives in Totalitarian Governments.

One night, there will be a charity concert benefiting Project READ of Dayton and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund; another will feature a screening of a documentary on heavy metal in Botswana. Bardine said metal is a growing field that not many people know about, that opens up concepts that stretch across English, sociology, history and culture studies, bringing many different scholars together.

“People doing research on this genre are showing how diverse this culture is and how important learning about it is, not just for students but also for everyone,” Bardine said.

Bardine said he’s most looking forward to the three keynote speakers and the two sessions he happens to be chairing in addition to the concerts at night.

“I saw one of the three bands performing and they were outstanding,” Bardine said. He also mentioned that they hope Alex Skolnick of Testament will play at the concert as a special performance.”

“Students should go because they may not know anything about heavy metal or have a bunch of stereotypes about it,” Bardine said. He also emphasized the fact that this conference is free to UD students and faculty, which makes it easy to come and go from sessions based on interest and curiosity.

“The presentations and sessions are diverse enough that there’s something for everyone,” he said.

The Metal and Cultural Impact conference will take place from Thursday, Nov. 6, to Saturday, Nov. 8. The conference costs $100 for full-time faculty and $50 for students; all University of Dayton faculty, staff and students are free. Please see the graphic for specific times and locations for each of the events.

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