SCM Research Unit for Music Diversity


The Research Unit aims to advance understanding of the nature, causes and implications of musical diversity in Australia, drawing on:

  • excellent music research (including musicology, ethnomusicology, music education, and artistic research, including composition and research-led performance);
  • cross-disciplinary collaboration with national and international experts in linguistics, medicine, cognition and social policy and other relevant fields;
  • advice from experts in public sector and industry.

The Research Unit also provides support and visibility for research projects being undertaken within the Conservatorium.

Research Unit Strands

Strand 1: Understanding music diversity: all known human societies create music. Why is this so and what implications does this observation have for current practice in music research and allied fields?

Strand 2: Innovation through music: what role do composers and performers play in generating musical diversity, and how is creativity enabled or constrained by current conditions in Australian society?

Strand 3: History of Australian music diversity: How is music-making affected by Australian society’s diverse histories, cultural communities, institutions and landscapes?

Strand 4: Sustaining music diversity: cross-disciplinary collaboration with domain experts and industry to develop applied research projects addressing current issues (e.g. role of music in language revitalisation; arts and cultural policy development; etc.)

RCMD Members

Research Fellowships and Recent Grants, 2014-16

Research Fellows

Dr Myfany Turpin Mapping the diversity of Aboriginal song: social and ecological significances for Australia Australian Research Council Future Fellowship 2014-2018
Dr Catherine Ingram The music-making of cultural minorities in Australia and China: aesthetics, agency and social engagement University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014-16
Dr Joseph Toltz Performing the Jewish Archive UK Arts and Humanities Research Council 2015-2018

Externally funded research projects

Prof Linda Barwick, Dr Myfany Turpin, A/Prof Rachel Nordlinger (Melbourne); partner institution Central Land Council Re-integrating Central Australian community cultural collections ARC Linkage Project LP140100806 2014-2016
Dr Damien Ricketson To create and record The Secret Noise: a major new work for limited edition CD and LP Australia Council grant, 2014
Prof Linda Barwick, Emeritus Prof Allan Marett, Adjunct A/Prof Martin Thomas (ANU), PG Student Reuben Brown Expedition to Arnhem Land: Intercultural inquiry in a trans-national context ARC Discovery Project DP1096897 2010-2014
S. Muir (lead, University of Leeds), H. Finch, L. Peschel, N. Barraclough, T. Dobbs, Dr Joseph Toltz, Dr D. Fligg Performing the Jewish Archive UK Arts and Humanities Research Council  Large Grant, 2014-2017
Dr Sally Treloyn (lead, University of Melbourne); Emeritus Prof Allan Marett; partner institutions Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre Strategies for preserving and sustaining Australian Aboriginal song and dance in the modern world: the Mowanjum and Fitzroy River valley communities of WA ARC Linkage Project 2010-2013
Dr Mark Harvey (lead, University of Newcastle); Dr Myfany Turpin, Dr Ian Proctor Kaytetye and Prosodic Theory ARC Discovery Project DP150100845 2015-2017
Dr Genevieve Campbell To create a body of new work based on traditional Tiwi songs Australia Council Grant, PPCA Recording Artist Initiative 2015
Dr. Catherine Ingram, Prof. Keith Howard Presence through Sound: Place and Contemporary Music in and from East Asia Newton International Fellowship Alumni follow-on funding
Prof Linda Barwick, Dr Myfany Turpin, Prof Nicolas Peterson (ANU); partner institution Warlpiri Media Association Vitality and change in Warlpiri song at Yuendumu ARC Linkage Project LP160100743, 2016-2019
Prof Neal Peres Da Costa, Em Prof Clive Brown (Leeds) Deciphering nineteenth-century pianism: invigorating global practice ARC Discovery Project DP170101976
Dr Clint Bracknell, Prof Linda Barwick, Prof Kim Scott (Curtin) Mobilising song archives to nourish an endangered Aboriginal language ARC Discovery Indigenous IN170100022

PARADISEC Research Data Services

Research data services and other infrastructural requirements of researchers affiliated with the Research Centre are met through the PARADISEC Sydney Unit, hosted since 2013 within SCM. The unit provides digitisation and archival services for ethnographic research data, and is the Sydney arm of the award-winning Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, established as a collaborative cross-institutional research facility in 2003 to preserve and make accessible Australian researchers’ field recordings of endangered languages and cultures of the Asia Pacific Region.

Further information

For further information about the Research Unit for Music Diversity, contact Professor Linda Barwick, Associate Dean (Research and Indigenous Strategy), Sydney Conservatorium of Music.