Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music

The Symposium on “Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music”, held at Monash University 23-24 July 2015, offered a rich range of papers on the nature of artistic research and its relevance for studies in Music. Themes included:

  • Models of Artistic Research: Theoretical models, case studies and future directions
  • Conflict of the faculties: Where does artistic research sit within the academy
  • Analysing performance/composition: methods of analysis appropriate to its particular modalities
  • Realising artistic research in music practice

The final Plenary Session attempted to summarise the discussion and to provide some directions for the future. Some of the points raised there are also relevant to research in other performance based artistic practices.

  1. There is a need to settle on a common term to describe research as: artistic research in music, practice-based research, practice as research, creative research, non-traditional research, etc.
  2. Artistic research in music is still not well understood within the academy. It needs to be articulated, clarified, debated and disseminated, on a regular basis.
  3. Artistic research comes from “inside the researcher”. It is “subjective” and exists in a third space between practice and description and analysis. As was said in the first panel, this space includes dialogue between the composer and the performer, the past and the present, the fixed and the fluid, the intellectual and the intuitive, the abstract and the embodied, preparation and spontaneity, the enduring and the transitory. It is not so much constructed in a logical, sequential manner as “braided”, woven from many disparate elements.
  4. There is a need for wider cross institutional sharing of details about practices in artistic research in music and the criteria used to evaluate these, both at the doctoral level and in academic work.
  5. Artistic research in music has its own verification procedures that need to be brought into the academy (cross institutional), especially in terms of the standardization of non-traditional research outputs, including the description of the criteria for allocation of research points for the purposes of data collection such as HERDC and ERA.
  6. The ways in which academic knowledge is being presented is changing quickly with the increasing use of electronic media. This is currently a difficulty for artistic research but may turn out to be an advantage in the long run.
  7. The Symposium committed itself to an ongoing series of conferences on artistic research in music and the development of a national steering group to record proceedings and set direction.


Robert Burke:

View the Symposium program (PDF)