To write or not to write? That is the question: Practice as research, Indigenous methodologies, conciliation and the hegemony of academic authorship

Swijghuisen Reigersberg, Muriel E, and Lloyd, Jessie (2019). To write or not to write? That is the question: Practice as research, Indigenous methodologies, conciliation and the hegemony of academic authorship. International Journal of Community Music, 12(3) pp. 383–400.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/ijcm_00007_1

Abstract

Academic authorship is an important way in which new knowledge about Indigenous Australian music and history is shared. Academic analyses, however, do not always successfully convey the emotive nature of this new historical knowledge. Publishing is also an exclusionary activity, relying on an author’s academic training and familiarity with the protocols for publication. In this article I will suggest that instead we conceive of practice as research (PaR) in music as a method that is able to increase the participation of Indigenous people in the shaping of our communal understanding of Australian history. Performance as PaR practice as research allows more stories to be told by a diversity of people. In the hands of a good PaR researcher, performances are better able to communicate the emotive nature of colonial histories, broadening our understanding of Indigenous experiences of colonialism and how these impact on conciliation. Through documenting my work with Indigenous researcher and performer Jessie Lloyd I will argue that PaR is a method well suited to Indigenous contexts, reflecting Indigenous cultural practices using oral formats that rely on story, interpersonal relationships and participation.

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