Category Archives: Research papers

Multiple Hats

Oops, it’s a week since I blogged.  This is in part due to my trip down to the University of Oxford last week to give a paper at the Cultures of Collecting event at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities).  The poster gives further details:-

There were four papers – mine was the first.  There was an enthusiastic and welcoming audience, so I felt it went very successfully. (It also gave me a range of other things to think about, which I wouldn’t otherwise have encountered!) Click here for my PowerPoint.   In preparation, I read several papers from Elsner and Cardinal’s book, The Cultures of Collecting, which were thought-provoking to say the least .. and yes, I now have a list of more books I’d like to get hold of!

Now I must get back to the business of my PGCert project.  I do now have a questionnaire, albeit not yet turned into a SurveyMonkey online survey.  First, I have to submit an ethical approval form, so that’s the next hurdle to cross.

Talking About Research

OK – since September, I’ve given four talks, with another to follow next week, and then a sixth in November.  In terms of both research activity and public engagement, I think I’ve been quite active!11228598145_661aa7a45d_z

In September, I talked about Instructions, Introductions, Treatises and Tutors: Music for the Regency Miss (Women and Education in the Long Eighteenth Century); then my Exchange Talk here at RCS: Meanwhile in Scotland, 1808.

Last week I did a Show and Tell talk at Martyrs Kirk research library in St Andrews; and yesterday I did an illustrated Music Talk in St Andrews: From Stationers’ Hall to St Andrews: late Georgian Music and Ladies of Leisure.karen-and-st-andrews-library-choir

 

 

Next week it’s the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society: The Legal Deposit Music of St Andrews: Scottish Airs, Irish and Hebrew Melodies, and other late Georgian Favourites.

And finally, on 16th November, the RMA Scottish Chapter (5.15, Room 2, Music Department, 14 University Gardens, Glasgow) – an approximate but not exact repeat of yesterday’s Music Talk.

rma-colloquia-autumn-2016

Facts, Figures and Femininity

Thinking about a recent Call for Papers, I had an idea of a new angle from which to view my current research.  I’ve already been looking at late Georgian music composed by women, but what if I analysed which books were used by women actually learning music?

Now, I do happen to have many pages of data, which I can interrogate in different ways.    There is nothing more satisfying than – having spent hours gathering what looks like the most insignificant data – getting back home and carefully tabulating it to answer specific questions.  I’ve spent days transcribing minutiae, asking myself if it’s the best use of fieldtrip time, and always concluding that yes, I do need to do this – it’s the only way to get the data that I can then interrogate, so it’s totally justified.  Detailed data is what I do.  I must, however, get back to St Andrews to continue capturing more data before I can see the whole picture. And I can’t go for another eleven days – so tantalising!

But to get back to the new idea … By the end of yesterday evening I had produced a new document, sorted out quite a bit of data, and there are some clear results emerging.

I probably have enough to submit an abstract, but I won’t rush into it – I’d rather sleep on it.

Confirmed speakers include:-

Wynds, Vennels and Dual Carriageways: the Changing Nature of Scottish Music

I’m writing what I hope will be a controversial conference paper for the forthcoming Understanding Scotland Musically AHRC-funded two-day conference in Newcastle, 20th-21st October.  I’ll be making the point that pinning down what Scottish music actually IS, is pretty much like going to look for the place where your ancestors come from, and wondering why it doesn’t look the same.  You can’t compare what people thought Scottish music was, 200 years ago, with what people think it is now.  Indeed, if you try to compare what I think Scottish music is, with what you think Scottish music is, or what my son, or your granny, think Scottish music is, you’ll get as many different answers. 

WherGreenock Dalrymple Street Car parke do the wynds, vennels and dual carriageways come into it?  Ah, that would be telling! Though I can tell you that if you see a small, middle-aged personage taking photographs in the middle of a roundabout in Greenock with a perplexed look on her furrowed brow, then you can be fairly sure that’ll be me.

The abstract for my paper can be found under the “Musicologist” tab on this blog.

An Evening of Quiet Reflection and Consolidation

Bass Culture at Musica ScoticaQueen's College Camb

After a hectic few weeks, I need to update my CV with recent papers and presentations.   I maintain an Academia.edu presence; and since Research Gate is a good discussion forum, I upload what I can there, too.  I want my research profile to be as good as it can be.  I work full-time; while the boys were small, I didn’t do much scholarly writing or presenting.  Since doing the PhD part-time in my spare time, I’m making up for lost time.  None of this is directly related to my studies for the Teaching Artist course, but it is all part of the package that is me, so I wanted somehow to weave it into this e-portfolio.  For that reason, I’ve given my CV its own page on this blog.

  • March 2014. ‘Scottish, Scotch and Caledonian: the many shades of Scottish Music’ – RMA Scottish Chapter, Colloquium, Glasgow.
  • April 2014. ‘Learning to Teach, and Teaching to Learn: is there a Place for Pedagogical Theory in Teaching Bibliographic and Research Skills?’ – IAML(UK & Irl)* Annual Study Weekend, Cambridge.
  • April 2014. Quick-Fire Session: ‘Effective Use of Social Media’ (ibid)
  • April 2014. ‘Scottish Airs in London Dress’ – Musica Scotica, Aberdeen.
  • And in July I’m giving a paper at the ‘big’ international IAML Conference in Antwerp – not my first paper at an international conference, but Antwerp feels more ‘abroad’ than Dublin, so it’ll be exciting all the same:  ‘From Historical Collections to Metadata: a Case-Study in Scottish Musical Inheritance’

What else will I add to the CV?  I’ve been given one of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland places to attend the 13th ELIA Biennial Conference (entitled, ‘Location Aesthetics’) from 13-15 November this year – an event which I’m eagerly anticipating, because I’ve thought quite a lot about Scottishness, Scottish places and origins and culture, in connection with my own research.

There are various other opportunities I’ve come across which would be useful in a research or a self-development context, and I recently submitted an abstract for another conference – about Scottishness in music – but I wouldn’t share these until, or unless, there’s a chance that they might actually happen.

I’ve published nothing yet this year.  I have two encyclopedia articles pending publication, and I’ve submitted a substantial paper to a professional journal, but it really is time I started writing something else.   I haven’t made things easy for myself by trying to be as professionally active a musicologist and librarian, as if I were two people doing these activities full-time!

 

Too Tired to Type?

Today, I’ve admitted to myself I’m overtired, something I very seldom admit to.  I should explain that in the past fortnight I’ve given a paper and two quickfire sessions at the IAML (UK and Ireland) music librarians’ annual study weekend in Cambridge; attended my first IAML Exec meeting at the British Library in London (also fitting in a trip to the Tate, for the RuinLust exhibition); and given a scholarly paper at Musica Scotica in Aberdeen, finishing up with playing at a church dedication service this morning.  Oh, and I’ve spent a few days at work in both my library and research capacities too.  So finally, on Sunday evening, I find I can’t think straight – not a good time to tackle the Teaching Artist backlog of reading.

Karen has met the new Tate Britain

However, I have been reflecting about giving research papers.  In March I gave a talk, with absolutely minimal notes, at an RMA (Royal Musical Society) Colloquium. I was pleased with it, and peer comments were very favourable.  And yet yesterday’s talk, written a full three months earlier and revised this week, was so densely packed with facts and figures that there was no way I’d be able to stand and just “speak” the paper. I was talking about a number of 18th century music books, precise dates (down to the day and the month), and commentary from the late 19th and early 20th centuries – it was very detailed!  I looked up at different areas of the audience, a lot. But I freely admit I “read” much of it.  I’d marked it with highlighter pen, gone over it several times – but I didn’t have time to reduce it to skeletal form, which is the only way I’d have stood a chance of a freer, less constrained delivery.

This Teaching Artist course has made me much more aware of good pedagogical practice.  I suppose it’s fair to point out that giving a research paper at a conference is NOT teaching in the conventionally accepted way.  Sharing research findings is a different activity from preparing to teach a class, involving them, getting feedback and monitoring whether they’ve learned what you set out to teach them.  But I’m now rather perturbed.  Because my delivery of yesterday’s paper, which my research Principal Investigator says was good, and which received favourable comments from several delegates, leaves me feeling flat and disappointed.  There was nothing wrong with the content, or the structure of what I said.  But I was deeply envious of a colleague who just stood, and delivered, seemingly without notes at all.  What is WRONG with me?!

I wondered if perhaps the answer was that the paper would have been better as a publication – something that might yet happen – and maybe I need to produce something more discursive for research presentations.  At the same time, what do scientists do?  They quite possibly have even more detailed, fact-and-figure-heavy findings than my own.  And what about mathematicians, or statisticians?