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Annual MoPop conference deals with music, death and afterlife

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Museum of Pop Culture
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The theme of this year's Pop Conference at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture is "Only You and Your Ghost Will Know: Music, Death, and Afterlife." It focuses on how music is used to commemorate death and mass tragedies, the musicians lost over the years and the legacies that have been left behind. Additionally, it will address the way technology influences how we remember and celebrate certain artists, either through group mourning on social media or sampling an artist's work.

Robert Rutherford, MoPop's manager of public engagement, helped coordinate the event along with a committee of musicians, academics and music journalists.

"What we're hoping for is that people have the opportunity, over the course of the four days of the conference, to go into these sessions and come away with 'ah-ha' moments for looking at something in a new light," he said. 

Rutherford says the subject of the conference felt especially timely with the deaths of musical icons such as Aretha Franklin, Prince and Tom Petty. 

And, he says, the Pop Conference amplifies MoPop's educational mission. 

"We offer experiences not only to inspire people, which might be the piece where they come in and look at something that Jimi Hendrix held in his hands, and they feel a connection to that, but also to connect these people," Rutherford said. "And I think that's really where something like PopCon comes in because it's about creating space for people to come together and have this real, deep dive, and this really open exchange of all of these different ideas."

The conference runs April 11-14. 

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Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.