Jez Collins is a social and cultural entrepreneur and is employed as a researcher in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University where he studies the creative industries and cultural policy. He has a particular interest in the music industries with music as a tool for social change, music as culture and music heritage as current areas of practice and research.
Jez is the founder of the Birmingham Popular Music Archive (http://birminghammusicarchive.com) The archive was created to recognize and celebrate the rich musical heritage of the city of Birmingham and as way of ensuring that multiple voices, stories and narratives tell their stories, of their music no matter how obscure. The project seeks to build the complete musical history of the city bottom up – by it’s users. We ask them to ‘Tell us what you know, tell us what you think’ The archive is now moving into releasing lost Birmingham music, with the classic reggae album Inner Reggae Rhythm by Eclipse slated for the first release.
Jez is also the Executive Co-Producer for the award winning documentary Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra. This is his first film and documents the development of these genres of music in Birmingham and talks to the musicians who reflected the social, cultural and political issues of their communities through their music.
Before moving into the academic world, Jez worked in and around the music industry in Birmingham, he owned a bar and venue, managed bands, organized events and worked with young people with a particular emphasis on ‘Music as a tool for social change’, which has led to him working with musicians in the barrios of Colombia and street children in India in his role as a Board member of UK organisation Un-Convenition (http://unconventionhub.org).