The Autoethnography of Composition and the Composition of Autoethnography

Wednesday 17–Thursday 18 June 2020, University of Glasgow (online conference)

* * * * Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event will be hosted online. * * * *

Programme and Registration:

CFP: deadline for submissions 28 February 2020

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.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Peter Gouzouasis (The University of British Columbia, Canada)

Organising Committee:
Iain Findlay-Walsh (University of Glasgow)
Christopher Wiley (University of Surrey)
Louise Harris (University of Glasgow)
Tom Armstrong (University of Surrey)
Lucy Hollingworth (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
Jane Stanley (University of Glasgow)


20-minute papers (plus 10 minutes for questions) are invited on any aspect relevant to the study day’s themes, including but not limited to the following:

* self-reflexive approaches to the creation of music, to include autoethnography;
* music and/as autoethnography (to include related methodologies);
* music composition;
* songwriting and popular music;
* music and creative practice;
* phonography, sound art and sound studies;
* performance as composition (e.g. semi-improvised musics);
* practice-as-research and music;
* music composition pedagogy;
* issues relating to the production of written narratives on music to contextualise the creation of that music.

Proposals for panels of 3–4 papers (1.5–2 hours) on a closely related topic are also warmly welcomed, as are proposals for roundtables (3–5 participants, 1 hour duration). The latter should be thematically integrated and dialogue-based rather than simply a series of unconnected mini-papers.

Note that papers will be expected to offer some critical self-reflection on method, and not merely to set out ground covered in an individual’s own practice. Those that adopt non-traditional formats, or incorporate a practice-as-research component, will be warmly welcomed.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be e-mailed by 28 February 2020 to Iain Findlay-Walsh, and Christopher Wiley, (enquiries to the same addresses). Decisions will be communicated to speakers by 27 March 2020.

Supported by the University of Glasgow and the University of Surrey

Further information:
Dr Iain Findlay-Walsh (University of Glasgow):
Dr Christopher Wiley (University of Surrey):