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Student Profile: Justin Devries

March 15, 2022
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History master's student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

I grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver with the tremendous gift of neighbours gracious enough to encourage my interest in making loud noises. Since childhood music has been one of my greatest passions, and I have always felt naturally drawn to listening to and learning from the sounds of the world. As I proceed through my Master’s project I hope to bring my experience working as a professional musician to my research, investigating, building on and sharing new understandings of Vancouver’s rich musical history.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU for its institutional and archival resources, enthusiastic and supportive faculty, and proximity to my research interests.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My research looks to understand the relationship between electronic and Indonesian music, counterculture, politics, and economics in Vancouver from the 1960s-1980s through the life and work of the Vancouver-based composer, community organizer, and educator Martin Bartlett (1939-1993). I am interested in investigating how he used hand-made synthesizers and the communal study of Javanese and Balinese gamelan as a form of political critique, providing meaningful alternatives to what he might have called the increasing “technological anonymity” of the 1980s. Tracing out this narrative involves drawing connections between the San Francisco Bay Area’s 1960s counterculture, Vancouver’s increasing economic integration within Pacific Rim flows of global finance and investment in the 1980s, and Vancouver’s experimental music and arts communities.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am appreciating getting to meet and learn from the faculty here in the History department, as well as enjoying the incredible views from up on the mountain.

 

Contact : jrd6@sfu.ca