Tag Archives: Conferences

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:-

Opportunity Knocks

This time last week, I was at the IAML(UK & Ireland) Annual Study Weekend.  (It’s the highlight of the year for music librarians.)  I had a comparatively last-minute opportunity to give a paper on my historic legal deposit music research, so I took a week’s holiday between Palm Sunday and Easter, during which I blitzed both the paper and an encyclopedia article that I’d promised elsewhere.  So far, so good.

Now, we also have an academic librarians’ seminar before the Annual Study Weekend formally starts, but I hadn’t offered to present anything there.  I worry about “hogging the stage”, so I tend to hang back in the hope someone else will seize the opportunity.  To no avail, this time – I was offered an even more last-minute opportunity to lead a session at the seminar, and now I really had no time in which to write anything!  And then it dawned on me that if I used the technique I’ve tried in my Teaching Artist assignments –  encouraging everyone else to join in, and NOT holding forth myself, then I really wouldn’t have too much to prepare.

In recent weeks, I have pondered how I could encourage students to engage with our library special collections materials.  There’s a background to this: I attended a lunchtime seminar at St Andrews over a year ago – before I started my research there – when a ‘library choir’ performed some of their special collections music, and they also blogged about what they been working on.  This had been part of a longer series of blogs in which different ‘instruction manuals’ were explored, tried out and blogged about – the  music posting was just one of many.

Much more recently, Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts posted a blogpost about a recent event in their library: “Performing Special Collections: Jerwood Library Catch and Glee Club“.

And then, literally the weekend before our ASW, I spotted on Twitter that Dr Menaka PP Bora, Affiliated Artist at the Bodleian Libraries – a specialist in Indian dance – was to perform the collections at an event in Oxford.  I wish I could have been there!  I have since made contact with her, so maybe I might one day hear more about her research.  In the first two of these sessions, I know that academic staff were also involved, and faculty endorsement does seem to be key in making such events successful.  I don’t really know much about the third, since I only saw the promotional web-page in advance of the event.

Anyway, I shared these three very different, but equally successful ventures with my fellow academic librarians, and then asked for examples of their own practice.  I had already emailed the list flagging up this single question – I’m a great believer in setting the scene and getting people thinking about what they’d like to share, before they actually arrive.

I got some great examples from a variety of music libraries.  Activities in the Royal College of Music, the British Library, Trinity College Dublin, and the Irish Traditional Music Archive were particularly relevant, and of course, we were due to go to the Royal Northern College of Music to see some of their Archive treasures and then to hear a recital of violin and piano music with particular RNCM associations.  Librarians and archivists love sharing exciting things from their collections, so it came as no surprise that my ‘guided discussion’ got a good response.

I have recently had the opportunity to acquire a very rare set of parts for an 18th century string quartet for the Whittaker Library, and after I’d led this discussion session – and heard a presentation by the RNCM archivist – I was beginning to formulate an idea to incorporate this old string quartet into a library concert.  This would not only showcase a new acquisition, but also offer the chance to impart some techniques for researching early printed music, both with performers and then with an audience.  Watch this space – I’m still watching for the postman to deliver the parts!




A Headful of Theory and a File Full of Notes: Gagnon and Collay, Constructivist Learning Design

This was the gloriously free weekend when I was going to tie up two lesson plans, two theoretical accounts, and find the Peer Observer Assessment Template.

As it is, I have two lesson plans, a couple of documents retrieved from my IMG_20151206_221509Teaching Artist short course, no notes on a book that I realised was not going to help me; and notes on an entire book – one that I chose from a publishers’ catalogue:-

Gagnon, George W., Jr. and Michelle Collay, Constructivist Learning Design: Key Questions for Teaching to Standards (Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press, 2006.

As regards the Constructivist Learning Design, it was excellent.  Indeed, since the co-author is a music teacher, I was sure I was with kindred spirits.  However, the subtitle betrays a slant that I hadn’t expected: it was primarily aimed at American schoolteachers teaching to standards and set curricula.  Moreover, to make the book have general appeal, there wasn’t really any music input apart from a final chapter on incorporating dance.  (Ask my Traditional Music students to DANCE their collaboratively reached conclusions at the end of an hour’s seminar? No, I don’t think so!)

Nonetheless, if I wanted a breakdown of how constructivist learning works in practice, then I was in the right place.  I took fairly detailed notes until I reached the point where I felt I was going to have too much material to take in, let alone use.

The other book would be useful to someone interested in the psychology of learning, but it wasn’t going to tell me anything about how to teach, so after dipping into the initial chapters several times over the past couple of weeks, I finally put it aside:-

Carey, Benedict, How we learn: the surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens (New York: Random House, 2014)

So far, so good.  I haven’t written up my theoretical accounts, but my teaching plans are looking quite convincing.  A glitch with my favourite referencing software, Mendeley, used up an hour or two yesterday – to my annoyance – and of course there was all the usual domesticity, and a leaky roof after Storm Desmond.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t complete all I’d set out to do.

So, let’s see if I can find my Peer Observer Assessment Template, then I’ll call it a day.


Is it a Bird, Is it a Plane? Hardly Superman!

I’m just back from the Annual Study Weekend of my professional organisation, the International Association of Music Libraries UK and Ireland Branch. And what’s the first thing I do upon my return – after checking emails, of course?  I dive for my CILIP Continuing Professional Developmento portfolio – that’s the Chartered Instititute of Library and Information Professionals – and log my attendance at the Annual Study Weekend.  Revalidation is in the air.  I did a staggering 163 hours of CPD in 2014, and I have lots of professional activity of one kind and another in the offing, so I have to keep up to date.  Hopefully I’ll check what I have to do, and get my revalidation submitted fairly soon, if I can just fit it in amongst all the other activities!

The problem is, I am one individual with one full-time job, but much of my spare time is going on all the extra activities associated with being a librarian three days a week, and a researcher the other two.  I’m almost drowning in it!  Here’s what I’ve just noted in my CPD journal:-

  • March 2015 – Invited to edit the paper I gave at Musica Scotica last year for inclusion in next Scottish Music Review
  • March 2015 – Engaged to give talk at Edinburgh Central Library, Autumn 2015,  commemorating 200th Anniversary of the first Edinburgh Musical Festival.
  • March 2015 – Applied for and awaiting to hear if I’ll be awarded funding …for a 6-month part-time research project to follow on from the AHRC-funded postdoctoral research that ends in October 2015.
  • March 2015 – Submitted article to Emerald peer-reviewed journal
  • April 2015 – Submitted article to CILIP group magazine
  • April 2015 – Invited to be on organising committee for 2016 conference being hosted at my workplace.
  • April 2015 – am on organising committee for Musica Scotica, a 1.5 day conference taking place in Glasgow at the end of this month.

So many opportunities that I feel both energised and overwhelmed.  Sadly, decided to cease mentoring activities, and am grateful that my SALCTG convenorship is coming to a natural end next month.  There are limits to what the average full-time working parent can achieve in their spare time!

The Day of Reckoning

I’ve been updating my CPD record on my professional association’s VLN.  To my astonishment, I clocked up 161 hours of CPD in 2014!  This does seem rather exessive!  Admittedly about a third of this was an invaluable short credit-rated course that I did in my own spare time in the evenings; and some other events took place on Saturdays.  However, this total of hours attending CPD takes no account of evenings spent writing and researching.  I begin to see why I ended up so tired.  When I start my CPD planning for 2015, I must try to be more discerning in what I decide to attend.  There’s being-seen-to-be-keen, and the folly of trying to be two full-time people, researcher and librarian, in one person’s time.  So I’m simultaneously proud of a hardworking year, and conscious of not having achieved work-life balance last year.

And where did the time go?

Start Date End Date Title Hours
13 November 2014 15 November 2014 13th ELIA Biennial Conference: Location Aesthetics at Glasgow 22.0
8 November 2014 8 November 2014 Library Camp Glasgow at Mitchell Library, Glasgow 6.0
24 October 2014 24 October 2014 Musical Life Outside London, 1500-1800 [Conference] at Newcastle University 6.0
18 October 2014 20 October 2014 Understanding Scotland Musically [conference] at Newcastle University 14.0
14 September 2014 16 September 2014 Learning and Teaching Conference at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 10.0
11 September 2014 11 September 2014 Scotland’s Collections: the Digital Humanities [Seminar] at Edinburgh 6.0
25 August 2014 25 August 2014 Reading and Identity Conference at National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh 3.0
13 July 2014 13 July 2014 IAML Conference at Antwerp 16.0
25 April 2014 25 April 2014 Musica Scotica (Scottish music) research conference at Aberdeen 7.0
10 April 2014 11 April 2014 IAML (UK & Irl) Annual Study Weekend at Cambridge 16.0
20 March 2014 20 March 2014 Working at Heights at Online 0.3
20 March 2014 20 March 2014 Slips, Trips and Falls at Online 0.3
6 March 2014 6 March 2014 Level 1 Child Protection Training at Online 0.3
28 February 2014 28 March 2014 Mentor Training (online webinar) at Online 0.5
12 February 2014 27 May 2014 Teaching Artist course at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 54.0
Total hours 161.4

Do You Research Scottish Music? Here’s the Musica Scotica CFP!

Musica Scotica – Tenth Annual Conference

Sat 25th – Sun 26th April 2015

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art

2 Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0RH

Call for Papers

Papers, 20 minutes in length, are invited on any aspect of Scottish music. Topics presented in previous years have included chant, Gaelic song, fiddle and bagpipe music, manuscript sources, music publishing, the Scottish diaspora, opera performance, cultural organisations, music education, sectarianism, George Thomson and Haydn, Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, Learmont Drysdale, Hamish MacCunn, James MacMillan and Sally Beamish.

There will additionally be a special session dedicated to papers relating to the history of the McEwen Memorial Concerts of Scottish Chamber Music:-

McEwen Paper Session

We invite submissions for a paper session featuring topics that in some way relate to the history of the McEwen Memorial Concerts of Scottish Chamber Music. The McEwen Commission has supported the commissioning and performance of contemporary art music in Scotland since 1955. A commission is awarded annually to a composer of Scottish birth, descent or residency. Early recipients of the commission include Ian Whyte, Cedric Thorpe Davie, Robert Crawford, and Thea Musgrave. More recently, works have been commissioned from John Maxwell Geddes, James MacMillan, Judith Weir, and David Fennessy. The McEwen bequest has yielded a substantial body of chamber pieces since the first award in 1955, and this collection continues to grow. A list of previously commissioned pieces dating back to 1955, as well as further information about the concerts can be found at www.gla.ac.uk/mcewen

We are interested in papers that in some way relate to the history of the McEwen Chamber Music concerts. Papers may focus either on specific pieces that were commissioned, or on the work more generally of composers who have befitted from the McEwen Bequest over the years. Most importantly, we are interested in papers that aim to stimulate interest in and discussion around contemporary music in Scotland.

Please submit an abstract (250 words) as a Word document or rtf file by Saturday 28th February 2015 (specifying if you wish specifically to give a paper for the McEwen session), to:-

Dr Karen McAulay museumconference2015@musicascotica.org.uk

You will be notified by mid-March 2015 if your abstract has been accepted.

A poster session may be included; delegates are invited to indicate whether they would be interested in availing themselves of this opportunity.

Proposed conference fees

  • Full rate £40 for single day attendance, £75 for two day attendance,
  • Students and unwaged £30 for single day, £55 for two day attendance,
  • £15 as the default half-day without lunch, for any category of delegate.

The registration form will be available in due course on the MusicaScotica website.
Publication of proceedings

Musica Scotica will publish papers from this conference along with a selection of papers from previous conferences.