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New sound systems exhibition Let's Play Vinyl hits the road

Launched to coincide with Black History Month, portraiture and interviews will shine a light on the new generation of operators with a special focus on female run systems

Let's Go Yorkshire – the organisation behind the arts and heritage project Sound System Culture in Huddersfield dedicated to documenting the history of some of the scene’s original pioneers – has curated a new exhibition focusing on a new generation of operators. Let's Play Vinyl aims to highlight an expanding scene that's become increasingly ethnically diverse, bringing a new voice of female authority to the fore and pushing the boundaries of traditional reggae and vinyl cultures.

“The emergence of more female sound system operators is one of the defining characteristics of the new generation,” says the exhibition press, quoting April ‘Rusty Rebel’ Grant, the operator of Birmingham’s Rebel Rock sound in saying: “At dances, men often say: ‘What are you doing with those records?’ It feels fabulous to shock them,” she says. “When I hold a piece of vinyl I think about all the work that has gone into it – especially if it’s an artist that’s no longer here – and I think about how amazing it is that it’s all on this piece of plastic, and the technical process of getting it on there.”

Photographer Elliot Baxter was specially commissioned to take portraits of the sound system operators featured in the exhibitions, “saluting them as productive entrepreneurs creating their own arts ecology in today’s Britain” says Martyn Haigh, Director of Let’s Go Yorkshire.

The first stop for the event will be at the Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester from 14 October – 24 November. Following that, dates are: Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths University of London from 10 January 2018 – 12 February; Parkside Building at Birmingham City University from 21 March – 5 April; and Creative Arts Building at the University of Huddersfield from Thursday 10 May – Friday 29.