Study Day: The Autoethnography of Composition & the Composition of Autoethnography

Study Day: The Autoethnography of Composition & the Composition of Autoethnography

College of Arts School of Culture & Creative Arts
Date: Wednesday 17 June 2020 - Thursday 18 June 2020
Time: 09:00
Venue: Zoom
Category: Conferences
Speaker: Keynote | Prof. Peter Gouzouasis (University of British Columbia)

The Autoethnography of Composition & the Composition of Autoethnography
17 & 18 June 2020
Hosted by the University of Glasgow and the University of Surrey

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The advent of autoethnography, a form of qualitative social science research that combines an author’s narrative self-reflection with analytical interpretation of the broader contexts in which that individual operates, holds particular significance for the field of music composition (broadly conceived). As a model for creative practice, autoethnography has been adopted by artists and researchers as a means of enfolding critical reflection upon social, cultural, and political identities and contexts into creative process and outcomes. It has similarly proven useful to practice-researchers, who are increasingly expected to produce written narratives to support and explain their musical creations. In particular, the expectation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) that creative practice outputs will be contextualised through an accompanying commentary signals the importance of establishing scholarly structures appropriate to the discussion of one’s own work, a practice to which autoethnography is well-suited.

Autoethnography has received significant application to the discipline of music internationally (notably in Bartleet & Ellis 2009, and in the work of individual scholars such as Peter Gouzouasis and Karen V. Lee), as have related approaches such as creative analytical practices (Richardson 2000) and a/r/tography (Springgay, Irwin, Leggo, & Gouzouasis 2008) (a bibliography is maintained at This study day aims to raise the visibility of autoethnography and cognate methodologies at such a timely juncture in the UK, seeking to bring together composers, creative practitioners, performers, and musicologists, as well as to provide significant opportunity to prompt academic dialogue between these groups. It aspires to cultivate modes of engagement in music that enable composers of all types and at all levels to locate their practices within a robust intellectual framework, as well as to articulate their relationship to wider sociocultural contexts.

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