Monday, February 6, 2012

5 Minutes with Anne Cecil - Director of the Design & Merchandising, Drexel University.

As Director of the Design & Merchandising program, Anne Cecil has taken a lead role in expanding student's opportunities for inter-disciplinary course work, the international study program and the global classroom. An avid researcher, Anne Cecil Chairs the Punk Culture Area for the Popular Culture Association where she has consistently grown area participation and is spearheading an effort to legitimize punk research in the academic arena. She is also honored to be Exhibitions Editor for the Australasian Journal of Popular Culture.

Rolling Stones-Ruby Tuesday Live 1967, Rare Scenes.

Q1. What was the first record that you owned that had a life changing effect on you?

Anne Cecil: This is a tough one because I had a considerably older brother and sister so I shared their albums at an early age. At 3 years old I used to sit under our dining room table and sing Ruby Tuesday by the Stones and even then I prefered the Stones to the Beatles. I never gave up on loving the bad boys. Bowie was huge for me from the get go and Debbie Harry from the Parallel Lines cover, Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde were my role models in my teens.

Q2. How did you become involved in education?

AC: A mentor put me forward for a teaching gig at a proprietary trade school. I took it and found the classroom a perfect fit for me. I'm a Leo, so "All the World's a stage".

Q3. You received wonderful accolades for your presentation at POPCAANZ in Sydney. Can you talk a little about your presentation and tell me a bit about POPCAANZ and 'Punk Rock Women Alive and Well in South Philadelphia' ?

AC: Punk Rock Women... Is a six part project that covers a group of old school women punks in South Philadelphia who have adopted a punk lifestyle. I believe punk is about far more than the music. The music scene is the meeting place, but the lifestyle is deeper. My perspective is that punk lifestyle is about BRICOLAGE, DIY/Failure, And Transformation. It is also about Family (not biological). Most of the women I know from the scene are still living it while many of the men have moved on. I think one reason for this is that many of the women are single and they need the support system to survive.

Q4. How do you think the online community has affected youth culture and subcultures in general?

AC: So many subcultures came out of a common love of music and now I think that is pretty much gone. People experience music in a different way with the computer. I remember waiting in line to by new records, hanging at the independent record store and spending hours lying in someone's room listening to music. It was a communal experience. Today it is mostly a solitary experience. I still see a strong Skate subculture that is more traditional and I think there is a huge gaming subculture that happens online and in person. Online cultures don't necessarily manifest through fashion and media and frankly, I think today's youth is more interested in fitting in rather than standing out.

Q5. What is the greatest challenge for today's graduation students?

AC: With a down economy, the first challenge is finding a job. In some ways, they are lucky because the only real responsibility most of them have are student loans, as opposed to spouses, children and houses. Overcoming this challenge will help them build their skill sets and resourcefulness. On the flip side, This generation of new employees have quite diffent expectations and needs so preparing them for work is a challenge for them and educators. It certainly keeps things interesting!

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