Monday, June 16, 2014

From Output to Impact

One of the socially most relevant aspects of research is the passing on of newly acquired knowledge. At universities, where research and teaching positions are combined, such transfers are self-evident, even though they are not necessarily immediate. Musical training of Western canonical score-based repertoire as well as improvisation and non-Western music is traditionally built upon the master-disciple relation, with conservatoire students often being taught their trade by one teacher as the main influence, and with teachers profiles that favor concert careers over proof of how far they are up to date with (and apply) the most recent findings in their field of expertise. Conversely, instrument and composition teachers are not the most common contributors to the academic journals that are subscribed to by the libraries of their institutions.   

With the recent developments in Artistic Research (AR), a type of knowledge is being explored that pertains very much to the music practitioner. While it focusses directly on the musician's practice, it applies the latter as part of the investigative method, and aims at impacting that practice, this type of knowledge has not previously been generated explicitly. Now, AR is supported and carried out with an ever-growing intensity and speed, and across educational and institutional levels: the European Association of Conservatoires considers AR as a gateway to the profession, implying that the impact of AR is to extend beyond the mere integration of AR skills in the curriculum (e.g. a Master in AR) to include the implementation of current AR output. As a consequence, a range of questions arises, enquiring into the possible modes of integrating AR insights into the instrumental and compositional practice being taught, all the while allowing for the realities of musical training being fed back into AR. Such enquiries touch upon the fundaments of the conservatoire biotope, targeting aspects such as the authority of the teacher, the structure and content of the 'lesson', the efficiency with which existing journals connect to students and teachers, the possible friction between the cutting edge AR output and the conservational reflexes that link up with the industry (often the orchestra) for which students are prepared, or between the goal of training students to be self-directed (cf. Dublin Descriptors) vs. the collective effort of building new knowledge through research.

It is clear that this topic is crucial to the development of both AR and artistic personalities. Since the potential and urgency are huge, I'm organising a conference to explore "From Output to Impact - The Integration of Artistic Research Results into Musical Training", to take place at the Orpheus Institute (Ghent), and organised together with the Centre of Excellence in Music Performance Education (NAM, Oslo). The keynote will be held by Prof. Dr. Dirk Van Damme, head of Innovation and Measuring Progress Division in the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills.

The deadline for proposals is August 25, 2014. More practical details here