Misery Resistance and Sonic Refusal

7 Sep 2019

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry


ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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DJ Lynnée Denise discusses her signature ‘DJ Scholarship’ practice through case studies from the work of Toni Morrison and Saidiya Hartman.


DJ Lynnée Denise coined the term ‘DJ Scholarship’ in 2013 to explain DJ culture as a mixed-mode research practice – subversive in its ability to shape and define social experiences and shifting the public perception of the DJ as a purveyor of party music to an image of the DJ as an archivist who assesses, organizes and provides access to music with critical value.

In this talk, DJ Lynnée Denise explores her notion of ‘misery resistance’ through the work of the late, renowned novelist, essayist, editor and professor Toni Morrison and writer and theorist Saidiya Hartman. DJ Lynnée Denise designed ‘misery resistance’ – an analytical DJ tool – to excavate the work and interior lives of well-known and unsung Black women artists and public intellectuals. Tracing the intellectual lineages initiated by Morrison and Hartman, DJ Lynnée Denise probes ideas of liberation in Morrison’s nonfiction work and highlights representations of sonic liberation practice in Hartman’s most recent book Wayward Lives: Beautiful Experiments.

DJ Lynnée Denise is an artist, scholar and writer whose work reflects on underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape and electronic music of the African Diaspora. Through interactive workshops, lectures and presentations, Lynnée Denise harnesses music as a medium for vital public dialogue on how to transform the way that music of the Black Atlantic is understood in its social context and beyond entertainment. Lynnée Denise’s DJ Scholarship has been featured at institutions such as the Broad Museum, the Tate Modern, Savvy Contemporary Gallery Berlin, Goldsmiths, University of London, Iziko South African Museum, Stanford, Yale, NYU and Princeton University. Her writing has been featured in the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Black Scholar JournalThe Journal of Popular Music Studies and as part of anthologies including Women Who Rock and Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity. Lynnée Denise has a BA from historically Black Fisk University, an MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from the University of California Riverside. Lynnée Denise is a Visiting Artist at Stanford University’s Institute of Diversity in the Arts.

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