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Music researchers debating innovation and impact

For the first time Music Academies in Norway collaborate in organizing a summer school. The International Music Research Summer School will be held in Oslo, but the initiative comes from Bergen and Grieg Research School.

Griegakademiet
SUMMER SCHOOL ATTRACTS BIG NAMES: Grieg Research School welcomes PhD-students and senior researchers to the first Norwegian International Music Research Summer School.
Photo:
Magne Sandnes

"We really saw the need for a meeting place that discusses some critical issues within the field of music. We ought to discuss how we want to work, how to get funding, and for whom the research is for, so actually the summer school will address some very political questions," says leader of Grieg Research School, professor at The Grieg Academy – Department of Music, Jill Halstead Hjørnevik.

Important for the whole field of music

"PhD-students and artistic research students will get ECTS credit points for attending the summer school, but just as important is the opportunity to discuss the future of music research," Halstead Hjørnevik says. Hence the summer school will not only be important for the PhD-students, but for the field as a whole.

"There is a lot of pressure to produce impact and results. But how about basic research? If we fail to do that, the ground on which we stand will be full of cracks and in the end collapse. We all need to be very aware of how we relate to these issues."

All the words starting with the letter i

Music research increasingly has to answer to three words beginning with i, and these are to be found in the heading of the summer school: Music 2020: Interdisciplinarity, Innovation, Impact.

"The aim of this event is to consider the concepts of interdisciplinarity, innovation and impact, and their influence on current practices and policies in music research. Some see these concepts as very neo-liberal, we want to adress how can we relate to them in a way that keeps the integrity of the research. The key question is: Do we have to adopt this language as well as letting it shape the research to get funding at all," says Halstead Hjørnevik and continues:

"Using Music 2020 in the title of the summer school, we also wish to establish a link to EUs biggest research funding program, Horizon 2020. This programme binds research to innovation by defining it as ”investing in our future”. There is a big debate about the relevance of research in academia. How are formulations like that influencing the way music research is undertaken?  We are looking into the way forward for research on music. What is shaping what we are doing? How are we preparing the researchers of the future?"

Oxford-professors joining the summer school

The summer school will present talks from some of the key scholars in the field of musical research. Among the invited guest speakers are Georgina Born who is Professor of Music and Anthropology at Oxford University. She will talk about the pros and cons of of interdisciplinarity in musicological- and practice-based research. Mine Doğantan-Dack is another Oxford-professor flying in for the summer school. She will give the lecture Live Music Performance: Practice and Research. Another important scholar attending is Australian professor Jane Davidson who is holding the talk ‘Passion, Lament, Glory’ and the History of Emotions.

From Norway, Alexander Refsum Jensenius and Anne Danielsen, both from Department of Musicology at University of Oslo will participate. They just received Centre of Excellence status for Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion.

"This award to their centre is important in terms of interdisciplinary research," Jill Halstead Hjørnevik states. She goes on to say that the summer school also look at the positive effects of the new focus on interdisciplinarity.
 

The benefits of boundary crossings

"Interdisciplinarity has changed thinking in traditional music disciplines. By focusing on musicology, music education, music therapy, and artistic research the invited speakers will illuminate new ways in which crossing boundaries can be fruitful. In this way we will also look into how knowledge is developing through inter-, multi- and transdisciplinary research."

Halstead Hjørnevik further adds that there is a postitive side to terms such as impact and innovation.
"These are also important to produce research that is socially relevant and accountable, and contributes directly to the economy and so on."

The field of music needs more collaboration

It was the British born professor who first came up with the idea of a collaboration between Grieg Research School, Norwegian Academy of Music, and Department of musicology at the University of Oslo. The summer school started to find its form in late 2015.

"It was clear that the different research institutions needed to build a stronger national collaboration and a summer school was a good way to go about this. This is especially important in music, which is a relatively small field, and undertaking a PhD can be a lonely thing. In 2015 we, the Grieg Research School, approached a collective of researchers and the work started out over a year ago. Everybody has been very enthusiastic about organizing a summer school, and I am very pleased that we have managed to get leading scholars to come and give talks. We are also very happy to see so many ph.d and artistic research presentations from national and international researchers," Jill Halstead Hjørnevik says.