Upcoming Events

Dr Paul FleetAHHELogo-300x300

As many of you will know, the Golden Pages http://goldenpages.jpehs.co.uk/conferences/ / @thegoldenpages acts as an excellent music conference list for those of us who want to connect with our colleagues and their research and scholarship ideas. In my new role as Associate Editor for Music for Arts and Humanities in Higher Education Research I thought I would introduce myself by sharing some of the conferences that have recently caught my attention as someone who has research/scholarship interests in Teaching & Learning Strategies, Industry Immersion in Teaching, Music Analysis & Theory, Popular Music Education, Phenomenology, and the composer and aesthetician Ferruccio Busoni.

‘Sound: A lucky bag or a poor cousin of music theory’ is the title of the 16th annual congress in Hannover (Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien), Germany, 30 September 2016 – 2 October 2016. There will be be five themes looking at the angles of the term in-itself as well as the teaching and analysis of sound. The focus of such a loaded term is welcome, especially in a discipline where the division between notated and non-notated musics continues to provoke much interest.

Between 21–23 October 2016, the University of Surrey will be holding a conference on ‘Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect’. The outline of the conference can be found at http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sites/default/files/conference-programme-miles-davis-john-coltrane.pdf and the evening concert on the Saturday has Ronnie Scott’s All Stars Quintet.

The 3rd Sound::Gender::Feminism::Activism research event to take place in London on November 11th and 12th 2016. This truly interdisciplinary event will concentrate upon ‘whiteness’ (employing Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman’s term) and how it is transmitted, heard and understood in music, art, and co-creative activities. To note, the event will also see the launch of a publication that celebrates the presentations and participants from the previous two SGFA events.

These are, of course, only some of the conferences on the Pages and there are others that can be found through various email and social networks. However, if you have anything planned – an event, meeting, discussion group, conference – that you think is within the discipline of music or interdisciplinary within the field of the Arts and Humanities in Higher Education and would be of interest please do let me know and I will do my best to share this information.




AHHE-jonathan forblogby Jonathan McFarland

Associate Editor for Medical Humanities, A&HHE



“The rivers flow not past but through us” – John Muir

Jonathan Mc. 4


The Yenisei River runs through the city of Krasnoyarsk. It is the fifth biggest river in the world and one of the three major Siberian rivers, and it starts in Mongolia and flows into the Arctic Ocean. The morning after my arrival in Krasnoyarsk the first thing I saw when I opened the hotel curtains was this powerful river flowing past; blocks of ice still scattered in its waters a reminder of the winter only just past.

Jonathan Mc. 2jpgIn 1890, Anton Chekhov wrote, “On this bank lies Krasnoyarsk, the best and most beautiful of all Siberian towns…” Unfortunately, the beauty of the red cliffs, the river and the picturesque colourful wooden churches that was the city at the end of the nineteenth century has long gone. This is partly to do with the passage of time but more to do with Stalin’s policy to move the armaments factories from Western Russia to Siberia during the Patriotic or Second World War.

In April 2016, I was invited to Krasnoyarsk Medical University, and just its name took me into Russian tumultuous and extraordinary history for the university is named after Prof. V.F.Voino-Yasenetsky,Jonathan Mc. 3 an incredible man who was both an Orthodox Bishop during the Stalin years as well as one of the most eminent war surgeons known, whose quotation I took to heart –  “ For a surgeon, there must not be a “case”, but only a living, suffering person.”  A religious man, whose ability as a doctor and surgeon during the war saved his life, and whose work could easily fit into the long line of medical humanities stretching back to Hippocrates.

In Krasnoyarsk, I gave a lecture entitled ”English in Medicine: Lingua Franca, Education and Medical Humanities”, which was divided into two main parts: the first talked about the importance of English in medicine, the needs of non-English speaking doctors and health care workers, and some of the strategies needed.

The second dwelt on a new approach to the subject of teaching Medical English, and was a short introduction to the importance and use of humanities in Medical Education and Medical English. In the talk, the presenter introduced the topic with a quotation by William Osler, who stated:

“The practice of Medicine is an art based on Science”, and then proceeded to use short texts from recent medical writers such as Gavin Francis and Suzanne O’Sullivan (both practising doctors and writers) to introduce topics important to medicine; for example, “ Is disease a democratising force?” “Is Medicine an art?”, “What is the difference between disease and illness?”, and also a short clip from “The Doctor” was used to accompany the question, “How can a doctor feel empathy for his patient?”. Of course, these questions are difficult to answer, and there is no one true answer, but the idea behind them was to open debate and get the students thinking more deeply about these matters. It seems to have worked because last week I met the Head of the Medical English department, and she said that my talk, and my insistence on using the Humanities in Medical Education and English will become more and more important as medicine become more technologically oriented. The antidote are the humanities.

My short but intense visit to Krasnoyarsk was intensive and extremely stimulating, and I am resolved to return whenever I can; perhaps to journey up the River Yenisei.

As Kipling famously wrote, “East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet” but the two should always meet, and, in my case do so, as I will explain in my next post.

The Reflective Conservatoire:shifting the paradigms,urging a transformative agenda

From the Reflective Conservatoire Special Issue Editorial


Helena Gaunt,Helena Gaunt






Guildhall School of Music & Drama, UK

More: Reflective Conservatoire Special Issue Editorial

Table of Contents http://www.artsandhumanities.org/ahhe-journal/arts-and-humanit…ervatoire-15-3-4/

Fulfilling the potential of the paradigm shift now upon us means that institutions and all those working within them need an adaptive approach and dynamic skills (Helfat and Peteraf, 2009; Helfat and Winter, 2011). Both students and staff must find ways to work imaginatively, collaboratively and reflectively as ‘‘innovative knowledge communities’’ (Hakkarainen, 2013).

It is vital that we further champion the interface between education and professional worlds, increasing two-way influence and exchange, challenging rigid conceptions of transmission/apprenticeship or one-way traffic from professional to student, and making way for co-created laboratory spaces focused on experiment, collaborative enquiry and risk-taking, supported by rigorous feedback and reflection.

It is only this that will fully enable us to embrace the current renaissance that can reconnect the arts within the heart of society, helping new and innovative interdisciplinary work to flourish, and fuelling co-creative relationships between artists and ‘‘audiences.’’

It is only this that will enable us to embrace the global context of the performing arts and the potential of practitioners who move around the world, empowered to respond creatively to unfamiliar experiences and to produce work that crosses cultures and dismantles traditional boundaries, blurring the edges of long-established disciplines and developing new arenas of excellence.

The Reflective Conservatoire Conference has been grappling with these issues since 2006, bringing research and practice together to stimulate and support change within the sector, enabling experiment and reflection, professional exchange, artistic and educational innovation including interdisciplinary work at personal, curriculum and institutional levels. The sense of urgency around this agenda is gathering momentum, and in 2015 particularly addressed some interwoven challenges:

  • The place of the performing arts in society and their relevance across different sectors. Our disciplines risk losing their way and centrality to the fabric of society.
  • Professional work is faced with public funding cuts that are crippling abilities to maintain artistic standards and to take risks and innovate.
  • Perceptions abound in some quarters that the performing arts have lost touch with what people want and need in order to be able to express a voice; they have become a ghetto of an elite, usually the white upper middle classes consuming the arts as entertainment; diversity is not being embraced sufficiently, and inclusive approaches to performance, appropriate to the 21st century, are lacking.
  • New visions are required. In preparing the next generations of professional artists, ‘‘excellence’’ continues to be a key mantra. However, as contexts for the arts diversify and relevance to context is increasingly understood to make a vital contribution to excellence, the concept itself is becoming more fluid. It is therefore essential to extend and enrich traditional understanding of excellence and to embrace the reality of multiple excellences (Lerman, 2012; Renshaw, 2010).
  • Within curriculum change and enhancement of learning and teaching, ownership of the learning process for emerging artists is essential to empowering them to meet unknown future challenges.
  • This includes championing the potential of peer and informal learning, and the richness of engaging in communities of practice, alongside the process of accessing specific expertise of individual master teachers.

This special edition draws on a range of material from the 2015 Reflective Conservatoire Conference. It seeks to catalyze visions for specialist education/ training in the performing arts in 2020 and beyond, to consider current developmental initiatives, and to reflect on the contribution these can make to the fields of research and professional practice in the arts and humanities more widely

AHHE journal Reflective Conservatoire Special Issue: Editorial

Reflective Conservatoire Special Issue Editorial

byHelena Gaunt

Helena Gaunt,





Guildhall School of Music & Drama, UK

We are experiencing a paradigm shift in specialist education in the performing arts: in what it takes to prepare students for professional life, and in the potential for this work to resonate beyond the immediate disciplines. The imperative to respond proactively to the pace of change in the creative industries, and in higher education more generally, needs little rehearsal. Since the rise of the portfolio career in the arts (Bennett and Hannan, 2008; Rogers, 2002) and the advent of the Bologna process bringing widespread awarding of degrees in these practice-based disciplines (EACEA, 2010; Gaunt and Papageorgi, 2010), artistic and pedagogical innovation through reflection, research, collaboration, interdisciplinarity and social engagement have gained momentum. Over the last 30 years significant renewal of our practices in specialist education has become a norm.

However, this period has largely been characterised by adding to existing practices within curricula, and there is now a significant challenge to take stock and evaluate the achievements.

  • To what extent have innovations delivered what is really needed?
  • At what point do curricula become overloaded, thereby diluting quality?

To my mind at least, there is a need now to revisit fundamental principles and values, to find ways to integrate traditional and newer areas of activity, and to clear out the clutter. Without this, it will become increasingly difficult to be sufficiently agile to respond effectively to the ever more rapid changes in cultural and educational landscapes.

Beyond the performing arts themselves, an even more powerful imperative towards a paradigm shift is also emerging. This concerns ways in which the performing arts connect within society as a whole, with how artistic and educational practitioners find ways to offer their expertise and experience. We know that music, theatre and dance are essential to our humanity in any society. They champion fundamental values and experience, human interdependence and interaction, individual and collective creativity, and the disciplined pursuit of a passion over a lifetime. They help us make sense of complex situations, and call us to recalibrate our own ethical compass and leadership, whatever our primary focus in life.

 In sum, they have enormous and multilayered value (Mowiah et al., 2014).

Yet so often, not least in higher education contexts, performing arts practices remain cloistered, doing little to help the cause of connectedness. Traditionally, practices of specialist education/training in the performing arts (and perhaps particularly in the focused environments of standalone conservatoires, drama and dance academies) have played out in relative isolation. Concentrating on the craft of an individual discipline, they have been less inclined to make connections across boundaries. In addition, those teaching have typically worked alone behind closed doors, often having inherited a powerful hierarchy underpinning the transmission of a craft from master to students. There have been relatively few opportunities for such teachers to engage in shared reflection and exchange.

Fortunately, proximity to professional practice in making and performing has in many cases enabled change to find its way into the educational frame. Standards have consequently continued to evolve aligned to the professions, and in many contexts a focus on, for example, making new work sits alongside engagement with a canon of established repertoire. Nevertheless, pedagogical renewal has tended to receive less institutional support and has been remarkable in some cases by its absence. Pedagogy has not kept pace with artistic, wider educational and societal developments, and has relied largely on a natural but gentle evolution of embedded traditions as they are passed from one generation to the next.

This is problematic in many contemporary contexts where long-held assumptions about the purpose and value of the performing arts are being challenged. It is essential that pedagogy and curriculum development now catch up and indeed start to help to drive the evolution and sustainability of these arts forms in society. At the very least, each and every emerging practitioner in the performing arts must be enabled to establish genuine roots in their discipline, to articulate their vision and purpose and reappraise these continually, and to connect their artistry in society in different ways.

At the same time, it is essential that the proverbial baby is not thrown out with the bath water. The mandate to lead change is considerable, but the challenges of realising it are indeed complex. Specialist education must continue to champion and embody the particular principles and highest quality of skills that are the hallmark of the performing arts. It is only too easy to dilute these and to abandon notions of excellence as horizons broaden and choices diversify. It is critical, therefore, to continue focusing on effective renewal within individual disciplines, as well as paying greater attention to the contribution that these disciplines can make to the humanities as a whole, and to society.

More – see






Arts and Humanities in Higher Education journal Special Issue: The Reflective Conservatoire 15 (3-4)

AHHE vol 15 no. 3-4.cover

Arts and Humanities in Higher Education

Special Issue: The Reflective Conservatoire

July-Oct.2016; 15 (3-4)

Table of Contents



  • Developing employability in higher education music      Dawn Bennett
  • The role of ‘creative transfer’ in professional transitions                                  Angeliki Triantafyllaki


  • Transforming conceptual space into a creative learning place: Crossing a threshold            Kirstine Moffat & Anne McKim
  • Teaching art and design: Communicating creative practice through embodied and tacit knowledge           Kylie Budge

Against Value in the Arts and Education ed.by Sam Ladkin, Robert McKay & Emile Bojesen,


against valueA multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary volume exploring the damage to the arts, arts’ funding and education through the rhetoric, manipulation and auditing of value. The collection includes contributions from anthropology, the history of art, literature, education, musicology, political science, and philosophy.


Against Value in the Arts and Education proposes that it is often the staunchest defenders of art who do it the most harm, by suppressing or mollifying its dissenting voice, by neutralizing its painful truths, and by instrumentalizing its ambivalence. The result is that rather than expanding the autonomy of thought and feeling of the artist and the audience, art’s defenders make art self-satisfied, or otherwise an echo-chamber for the limited and limiting self-description of people’s lives lived in an “audit culture”, a culture pervaded by the direct and indirect excrescence of practices of accountability. This book diagnoses the counter-intuitive effects of the rhetoric of value. It posits that the auditing of values pervades the fabric of people’s work-lives, their education, and increasingly their everyday experience. The book uncovers figures of resentment, disenchantment and alienation fostered by the dogma of value. It argues instead that value judgments can behave insidiously, and incorporate aesthetic, ethical or ideological values fundamentally opposed to the “value” they purportedly name and describe. The collection contains contributions from leading scholars in the UK and US with contributions from anthropology, the history of art, literature, education, musicology, political science, and philosophy.

More information: http://www.rowmaninternational.com/books/against-value-in-the-arts-and-education.

International conference, ‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’- University of Bristol Friday 15-16 July 2016

modernism-medicineModernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind: Investigating Disorders of the Self

Project overview

‘Modernism, Medicine and the Embodied Mind’ is an interdisciplinary network that uses the radical insights of aesthetic modernism to develop dialogue with medical practice in psychiatry, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, neurology, and the mental healthcare offered at the end of life. The project is dynamically interdisciplinary, fostering collaboration between researchers and clinicians working in Higher Education, the NHS, and international healthcare. It brings literary and arts scholars, philosophers, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, neuropsychologists, neurologists, research scientists, and doctors in palliative care and general practice into dialogue with theatre practitioners, dancers and artists from across the UK, Europe and the USA, asking them to explore together the resources modernism offers for creatively understanding experiences of body and mind poorly served by realist models of the self.

The project explores the historical and discursive links between literary modernism, medical discoveries, and clinical practice, in dialogue with the insights of visual artists and art historians, dancers and dance scholars, and contemporary scientists and clinicians. Underpinning the project is the significance of phenomenology and the first-person experience of medicine, as explored in literature, theatre, dance, and the philosophy of medicine, and as applied to medical education and clinical care through innovative performance-based workshops and pedagogical interventions.

Conference details http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/research/modernism-medicine/upcoming-events/modernism-medicine-embodied/

Key notes from (another!) International Relations Conference!


Vineet Thakur

University of Johannesburg

For nearly two decades now, the discipline of International Relations has lives on a lament: that it is Eurocentric and we need to de-westernise it. Every year, proponents f non-western IR make their pilgrimage to the Mecca, the annual conference of International Studies Association (ISA) in the US, or, once in a while, Canada, and talk endlessly of why we need to move beyond the West.

Occasionally precinct but mostly verbose, these are no comparison to the arrogance exhibited from the high and mighty. In a panel last year, when the leading IR figure, John Mearshimer was made aware of a whole groundswell of writings on non-Western IR, he said: ‘please ask these scholars to come to the ISA. I would like to listen to them.’

Was there ever a statement more revealing – cocky or innocent, take your pick – of the schism that lies between the mainstream and the margins in IR?

In the first half of January, some of us made the journey, metaphorically cutting right through the globe from the US, to New Delhi. The city was under a thick coat of smog. Pollution levels in Delhi had reached unprecedented levels and the government in Delhi was forced to take drastic measures, including adopting the odd-even rule for the first fortnight of January.

The sense of desperation outside could also be felt inside our conference hall, albeit the nature of the beast was different. A series of workshops – three in total – were organised by International Research on India and International Studies (IRIIS), World International Studies Committee (WISC) and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIAS) to rethink foundational assumptions of the discipline. It was a remarkably eclectic bunch of scholars from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America discussing ways in which the discipline could be ontologically re-defined.

Interesting discussions followed. Hardly a consensus emerged, but it was interesting to see young scholars drawing from a wide range of philosophical sources from East Asia to Latin America. In a discipline, which makes a virtue of its reluctance (mostly stemming out of ignorance) of using non-European sources, this was a hopeful sign. Just last year I had found myself with a group of young scholars at ISA who advised me to tone down the post-colonial approach of my paper in favour of constructivism to make it ‘IR proper’. I had wondered then if almost three decades of interventions from post-colonial scholars was merely inconsequential head-banging. The Delhi Conference was reassuring that it was not/

Towards the end of this journey, my fellow traveler and an IR rebel of old standing, Peter Vale, asked me: have we reached a Kuhnian moment in IR? In his 40 years of struggle against orthodoxy from within the discipline, he seemed, for the first time, I suppose, alive to the possibility that the margins have arrived at the gates of the citadel of mainstream IR, ready to claim it. What a time to be in the discipline, I thought. Bring it on!

What happens when an ‘innovation boom’ leaves the humanities behind?


Howard Manns

Monash University

Linguists by definition are interested in language and the impact it has on society. So, some of us take a perverse interest in the language of government and university policy. Policies are words meant to wield power over people. And, when it comes to government and university policies, the words wield power over us as scholars of the humanities.

A recent media post provided me the onus to reflect on a word that hinted at the past, present and future of the humanities. A journalist from an international arts and culture magazine contacted me about the word innovation. In the lead up to this year’s Australian election, the sitting conservative government has released policy documents promising an innovation boom.

Young people, like the journalist, were curious and sceptical. They wanted a better sense of how the government was using innovation and what impact this might have on Australia’s future. At the onset, innovation seemed to sit within the domain of business for the government.

Innovation: From the humanities to economics

To understand its use, I went back to the start. The word innovate entered English sometime during the 16th century. It derives from the Latin innovatus, the past participle of innovãre, ‘to renew’ or ‘alter’. The element nov in innovate and its predecessor is closely related to the modern English new.

There was an influx of hundreds of Latin borrowings like innovate in the 16th and 17th centuries. Intellectuals of the time doubted whether lowly English words were worthy of high scientific and philosophical concepts. Consequently, one innovation, if you will, to the English language was the introduction of Greco-Latinate words like innovate.

Some of the earliest uses of innovation related to such changes to language, alongside innovation’s use for revolutions, but philosophers and with reference to the state of mankind. In other words, notions of innovation were initially quite closely aligned with the humanities. For instance, linguistic innovations were in the crosshairs of American Quaker Lindley Murray, when he penned his famed 18th century English Grammar. 

Yet, the industrial revolution saw increasing use of innovation for technological inventions and innovation’s subsequent use in the domain of business and commerce. In the late 1930s, economist Joseph Schumpeter played no small role in divorcing innovation from its humanities sense, with his focus on ‘Creative Destruction’. Schumpeter, in part through this concept, proposed that a company’s success was tied to its ability to encourage entrepreneurship and institutional change.

Schumpeter’s views gave rise, over time, to innovation economics, which has risen to particular prominence within the past few decades. In support of innovation economics, economist Nathan Rosenberg has written ‘innovative activity has been the single, most important component of long-term economic growth’.

Enter Australia’s Innovation Boom

Schumpeter’s view of innovation, if indirectly, underlies the current vision set out in the Australian government’s policy. Collective references to business/commerce in this policy outstretch those to universities at a rate of 4:5:1. There are frequent references to entrepreneurs (which Schumpeter would certainly approve of) but there are no references to language, culture or anything that might be construes as humanities-related in this policy.

To these ends, I saw where the young journalist was coming from. When government and business conspire about words and meanings, meanings don’t just get changes; words get led down dark alleys and battered.

For instance, as linguist Geoffrey Nunberg notes, the younger Bush administration wielded entrepreneur and innovation as powerful tools for fighting for corporate tax cuts and justifying unemployment figures. Bush argued that corporate tax cuts would impede innovation. Bush extended the label entrepreneur to include unemployed people who were doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

So, what does Australian innovation mean for universities and the humanities? It’s easy to be cynical and say ‘not much’ without hopping into bed with business, even as a part-time lover.

But a linguist playing devil’s advocate might point out the word cynic can be linked to the Ancient Greek kynikos ‘dog-like’. Cynic is a distant relative of the modern English word canine and one popular link between cynics and canines sees them both as shameless ‘snarlers’ at conventional meaning.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting a few positive aspects of innovation in policy, including that of Australia’s newest innovation boom. Such policies encourage collaboration between entities which wouldn’t normally collaborate, like universities and industries.

Moreover, in this economically-minded world, this emphasis on collaboration has an empirical basis. The National Innovation System, upon which documents like the Australia’s innovation boom are based, emerged from the study of nations, like Japan and Germany, which have been successful at facilitating innovation.

The National Innovation System takes as a starting point that the research system’s goal is innovation and maximising the flow of information across a complex set of institutional relationships is among the best strategies for assuring the national success of innovation.

So where next for innovation and the humanities?

In light of the slippery uses of words like innovation and entrepreneur, it’s good to see young people like the journalist, in the words of the late Australian Don Chipp, ‘keeping the bastards honest’. To a certain degree, we do need to be cynical and snarl at conventional meanings of words like innovation, especially when such words marginalize the humanities. Yet, we as humanities scholars might also take on this modern sense of innovation as a challenge and think innovatively about how we can engage with these policies. After all, the humanities gifted innovation to economics and commerce. We should think how innovatively about how we can keep a seat at the innovation table, even if it is now chaired by the more economically minded.

AHHE new article ‘Using close reading’by Helen Brookman&Julia Horn


AHHE 15.2

Grandes Chroniques de France, bibl. de Castres, XIVeCloseness and distance:

Using close reading as a method of educational enquiry in English studies 


by Helen Brookman &Julia Horn


This article draws on a pedagogical case study in order to reflect on the value of using a Humanities disciplinary practice (the ‘close reading’ of literary studies) as a method of educational enquiry and to provide a worked example of this approach. We explore the introduction of a pedagogic strategy – students writing abstracts for essays and sharing them in advance of group discussion – into the tutorial at the University of Oxford, and an evaluation of it. We then read the student ‘texts’ (written abstracts and evaluation forms) more closely, to problematize the initial evaluation findings and reveal hidden aspects of student learning and the teaching relationship. We reflect upon our approach and suggest some of the difficulties and advantages of ‘close reading’ student texts while achieving scholarly ‘distance’ as a pedagogic research practice. In addition, we explore further the relations between social science and humanities approaches to educational enquiry.