UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Sandra Kirkwood
Institute: 
Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Year of completion: 
11 August, 2009
Country: 
Australia
Country of Research Data: 
Australia
Language: 
English
Comments: 
Location of full text: Australasian Digitial Thesis Program Email of Author: kirkwood13@bigpond.com
Abstract: 
This study is a critical reflection on two music projects that I conducted in my home area of Ipswich, Australia, prior to undertaking this research. The music projects involved participatory action research to investigate the music heritage and culture of the rural Ipswich region. The purpose of this study is to review and analyse the creative processes that I used in the rural Ipswich music projects in order to develop suitable practice frameworks for similar projects in future. The first music project was a collaborative investigation of the music history of Purga in rural Ipswich (2003-2005). Local people and those who used to live in the area were invited to come back to share memories of the music from the area with one another. People collaborated creatively: This allowed me to write The Purga Music Story and Harold Blair (2005), an inter-generational community education package. In 2003, we established the Purga Music Museum as a meeting place where the music heritage and culture of our neighbourhood is performed and displayed. The second music project (2006) was a study of contemporary music in rural Ipswich that resulted in community consultation and the development of a Music Action Plan for the area. I continued facilitating community music in rural Ipswich, as the curator of the Purga Music Museum, until 2008. Both music projects presented different challenges in the establishment of processes that would be effective for the needs and interests of people from various cultural groups. The work was fraught with complex decisions and ethical dilemmas about representation and music cultural heritage management because our neighbourhood previously contained the Purga Aboriginal Mission (1915-1948). The findings therefore relate to the struggles of the ‘Stolen Generation’-- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were taken away from their families and forced to live in government-controlled residential situations. New, respectful approaches had to be found, conducive to the health and well-being of all concerned. For this reason, participatory action research methods were developed and a ‘Community of Discovery’ approach was used. Throughout this study, I investigate issues that arose as people told their music stories, and passed on music heritage and culture from one generation to the next. The key question is “What are appropriate frameworks of culturally engaged community music practice for rural Ipswich?” This study also draws on findings from the music projects to address the sub-questions, “How did community music practice function in the past in rural Ipswich?” “What is the current situation regarding contemporary community music practice in rural Ipswich?” and “What can be done to enhance future community music practice for rural Ipswich?” Aspects of music and health practice complement each other in this study. As a dual qualified music and health professional, I draw on expertise from both of these areas. Ethnographic methods were used to record and review the findings from each music project. The analysis is grounded in review of literature and other sources, creative display and performance, analysis of music history, community consultation, and critical reflection on my own community music practice. Finally, this evidence-based process of professional reasoning leads to the development of appropriate practice frameworks that transform the way that I intend to deliver services in future, and will hopefully inspire others. The thesis has five parts. The context and rationale for the research are outlined in Part 1. This is followed by description of the two music projects in Part 2. Part 3 is an exploration of how my music practice is situated in relation to scholarly literature (and other sources) and outlines the chosen theoretical constructs or models. This prepares for critical analysis and discussion of specific issues that arose from reflection on practice in Part 4. The conclusions of the research, presented in chapter 9, outline the creative processes, underlying principles, and the philosophy of my practice. The study concludes with an epilogue, which is a consideration of the present situation and suggested future directions for service provision and research.
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