Autoethnography, Self-Reflexivity, and Personal Experience as Academic Research


Institute of Musical Research (IMR) Study Day

in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London

16-17 April 2018, Senate House, London

*NB This event has now been expanded to a two-day conference*


Provisional Programme:


Keynote Speakers: Professor Neil Heyde (Royal Academy of Music, London); Professor Darla Crispin (Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo); Ian Pace (City, University of London)

CFP: deadline for submissions 12 January 2018

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 (e.g. Etherington, 2004; Chang, 2008), has come at a critical time for the discipline of music. In the UK, the expectation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) that creative practice outputs will be contextualised through an accompanying commentary signals the urgency for establishing scholarly structures suited to the discussion of one’s own work by performers, composers, and music technologists alike.

The recent inauguration of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), meanwhile, places a renewed emphasis on pedagogic research, for which autoethnography will increasingly prove to be critical in facilitating discourse on individual teachers’ experiences, in anticipation of the upcoming subject pilot for TEF and discipline-level evaluation being implemented more widely thereafter. As a methodology, autoethnography also yields enormous breadth of potential elsewhere in music studies, with the capacity to support academic enquiry encompassing individual experiences as listener or concert-goer, habits and modes of music consumption, and conduct as fans or aficionados.

While autoethnographic approaches have received significant application to the discipline of music internationally, for instance in Australia (Bartleet & Ellis, 2009) and the US (Manovski, 2014), this study day aims to raise its visibility at such a timely juncture in the UK. It will thereby consolidate the seminal contributions made by isolated studies in areas such as music education (Wiley & Franklin, 2017; Kinchin & Wiley, 2017), sonic arts (Findlay-Walsh, 2018), and composition and performance (Armstrong & Desbruslais, 2014). It also offers significant opportunity to initiate dialogue with academic fields as disparate as the social sciences, education, and health studies, in which autoethnography is more substantively practised.

At the same time, this study day will bring together composers, performers, musicologists, and music teachers, seeking to explore different modes of autoethnography with a view to establishing an analytical vein in continuation of previous work undertaken within music studies (e.g. Bartleet & Ellis, 2009). With an emphasis on transcending the production of so-called ‘mesearch’ – work that merely draws upon the author’s autobiographical description in an academic context – the event will cultivate modes of engagement in music research that enable scholar-practitioners at all levels to locate their experiences within a robust intellectual framework as well as to articulate their relationship to wider sociocultural contexts.


20-minute papers (plus 10 minutes for questions) are invited on any aspect relevant to the study day’s themes.

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 12 January 2018 to Christopher Wiley, (enquiries to the same address). Decisions will be communicated to speakers by 5 February 2018.

The registration fee will be £20 per person (reduced rates of £10 available for students/the unwaged), including lunch and refreshments. A limited number of bursaries will be offered to students/the unwaged to offset travel costs, up to a maximum of £60 each.

Organising Committee: Christopher Wiley (University of Surrey, Chair), Iain Findlay-Walsh (University of Glasgow), Tom Armstrong (University of Surrey)

Study Day Supporters: Institute of Musical Research, in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House (funding supplied by Nick Baker)

Further information: Dr Christopher Wiley (University of Surrey):

With Four Hands: Music for Two Pianists


an International Conference
organised by IMR and Middlesex University
in association with the
AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice

VENUE: Senate House
DATE: 17-18 June 2013

Music for two pianists covers a wide aesthetic and sociological arena representing both the epitome of amateur, domestic music-making in the bourgeois home through piano duets during the nineteenth century and the very heights of virtuosity in piano duos during the twentieth century. Technically, aesthetically and sociologically the practice of performance by two pianists, on one or two pianos, represents a unique kind of collaboration that can simultaneously define and challenge the boundaries and meanings of chamber music both as repertoire and in terms of relevant performance practices. Although some research has been done on the psychological mechanisms involved in the rehearsal and practice processes of two pianists, many issues relating to the theory and practice of piano duos and duets remain under-researched. This conference aims to bring together researchers, performers, and artist-researchers working on the historical, theoretical and performative aspects of music that involve two pianists. Proposals (300 words) for individual papers (20 minutes, with 10 minutes discussion), lecture-recitals and performances/demonstrations (30 minutes, with 15 minutes discussion), or workshops (45 minutes) are invited on the following topics:

• The historical origins and development of music for two keyboard players
• Historical and contemporary repertoire for two pianists
• Canonic works
• Transcriptions, arrangements and paraphrases for two pianists
• Sociology of music for two pianists
• Performance practice of piano duos and piano duets
• Duo pianists and their careers
• Recordings and recording history of music for two pianos
• Aesthetics of music for two pianists
• Significance of the genre as a cultural phenomenon
• Piano duo and piano duet as chamber music
• Two pianos in larger ensembles
• Music for two pianos in historical and contemporary concert prrgrammes
• Compositional issues in relation to music for two pianists
• The future of music for two pianists

DEADLINE for proposals: 5pm (GMT), Friday, 15 February 2013

Notification of acceptance and preliminary programme: 15 March 2013
Final programme issued: 15 April 2013

Please submit your proposal by email, in an attachment including your full name and contact details, to the IMR Administrator Mrs Valerie James, at

For queries about the conference, contact Dr Mine Doğantan-Dack, at

Proposals will be judged anonymously. Paper proposals from students are especially encouraged.

Conference Committee:
Mine Doğantan-Dack (Chair)
Darla Crispin
Jane Davidson
John Rink
Aaron Williamon

Conference administrator: Valerie James (Institute of Musical Research)