Summer Scholars: Canadian music/NY World's Fair

British Library, London.

Summer Scholars: Canada’s Early Music Heritage and New York World’s Fair, 1939
Friday 12 July, 12.30 – 13.20
Knowledge Centre. Free. Drop-in (no need to book).

Two Eccles Institute Fellows examine the cultural exchanges that shaped the musical landscape of early Canada and the vision of the future offered at the New York World’s Fair of 1939.

The Summer Scholars season of free in-person lunchtime talks explores the exciting and wide-ranging research into the Americas and Oceania collections at the British Library by Eccles Institute Fellows and Award winners and British Library members of staff. The talks are drop-in (no need to book).  Be sure to check out our other Summer Scholars events.

A New Variation: Early Explorers and Canada’s Musical Heritage
Rea Beaumont investigates the perspectives of early European explorers and offers insights into the cultural exchanges that shaped Canada’s musical landscape. The research features original materials held in our extensive collection. 

The City of Tomorrow: Urban Futures at the New York World’s Fair of 1939
The New York World’s Fair (NYWF), which opened its doors on 30 April 1939, marked a significant departure from traditional exhibitions of the past. In a time overshadowed by the Great Depression and the looming threat of World War II, the NYWF offered a compelling vision of the future where technology and science held the promise of a safer, more peaceful world, meticulously planned, much like the Fair itself. Through a comparative lens, Mara Oliva explores how the construction of the Fair and its three most popular exhibits – Democracity, The City and Futurama – collectively represent a vision of a futurist utopian city.

Rea Beaumont is a composer-pianist and a specialist in Canadian music and culture. She is a faculty member at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and the recipient of the SOCAN Foundation / MusCan Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Research in Canadian Music. She has presented her research in North America, South America and Europe and was a 2023 Eccles Institute Visiting Fellow.

Mara Oliva is a political historian and a digital humanist working at the intersection of history and digital technologies. Her research focuses on 20th-century US history, particularly the US presidency, Soft Power, Climate Change Diplomacy and US-China relations, New York City and Cultural Heritage. As the University of Reading’s Digital Humanities Academic Champion, she promotes both an understanding of Digital Humanities as a discipline and the integration of cultures and principles from Digital Humanities into wider research practice. She was a 2023 Eccles Visiting Fellow.