Australian (Australasian) Jazz Research Conference

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music – Monash University

in collaboration with

The University of Melbourne


Australasian Jazz Research Conference

(Planning the Future)

Convenors: A/Prof Robert Burke and Dr Rob Vincs

Areas of Research:

  • Historical/Theory
  • Cognitive/Critical/Contextual
  • Pedagogy
  • Cultural/Identity
  • Practice-based Artistic Research in Jazz

When: Monday 31st October 2016

Where: Faculty of VCA and MCM

Building 863 Room 102

234 St Kilda Rd Southbank


No cost

Registrations: Email Rob Burke –


9:30 –  10:00 – Coffee/Tea

 10:00 – Introduction – (Panel: Rob Burke, Rob Vincs)

  • Plans for the day
  • Jazz ‘Landscape’ –
  • Outcomes

11 – 12:30  – Australian Jazz Research: where we are

  • 11:00  Prof. Roger Dean
  • 11:30 Questions/Discussion
  • 11:45 Prof. Bruce Johnson
  • 12:15 Questions/Discussion

 12:30 – 1:15 – Lunch

1:15 – 2:00  – Australian Jazz Research: Perspectives

  • 1:15 Prof. Tony Gould
  • 1:30 Prof. John Whiteoak
  • Discussion

2:00 – 2:45 – Jazz in the institutions – HDR

  • 2:00 Dr. Chris Coady
  • 2:30 Questions/Discussion

2:45 – 3:00 Afternoon tea

 3:00 – 4:00 Planning

(Panel: Bruce Johnson, Tony Gould, John Whiteoak, Rob Burke, Andrys Onsman, Roger Dean, Rob Vincs)

  • Name – Structure – National/International?
  • Organising committee
  • Finances – Funding
  • Inclusions
  • Conferences (2017 and beyond)
  • Collaboration
  • Publishing – Journals, Books, Practice-based (Artistic Research)
  • Grants/ERA/Pressure Goup/International Collaboration
  • P/Grad – HDR
  • Website

 4:00 – 5:00 Drinks/Discussion

Key Note Speakers

Professor Roger Dean

Positioning Jazz and Improvisation Research in Australia

Can a national association promote jazz and improvisation research where relatively little pre-exists? Does this require mediation by the power structures of funding agencies? Should an association focus on the music of its own country, or be much more wide ranging? Should it put effort  towards encouraging the creative endeavour of improvisation itself as well as research on it? I argue that it is essential that improvisation research be open to all disciplinary approaches, from HASS and STEM: a signal achievement of an association could be the promotion of respectful exchange of disciplines, involving a discourse with the equality that ideally characterises improvisation itself. While this mutual respect is supported by the Canadian IICSI multi-centre research network in our field, in practice this network does not delve beyond HASS approaches, nor to their edges. It seems likely that an association can form a useful pressure group and discussion point, but its framing and control are likely to be critical


Professor Bruce Johnson

Australian Jazz Research: why care?

The dominant model of jazz history remains based on a US recorded canon, with jazz outside the US  largely a second-rate imitation. With impetus from the New Jazz Studies, this has come under challenge, with a growing recognition of the importance of jazz developments outside the US. I argue that the history of the music is incomprehensible without the study of its diasporic forms. In particular, this paper reviews the importance of Australian jazz to our cultural history and internationally, the state of Australian jazz research, why it matters, and how we might nurture it.


Dr. Chris Coady

Methodological Challenges in Jazz Doctorates

In this presentation I will outline some tensions embedded within ethnographic, practice-based and historical musicological approaches to jazz studies. In relation to ethnographic work, I will discuss the tension that emerges when reconciling individual agency with the energy of cultural practices/traditions. In relation to practice-based approaches, I will discuss the tension that results from situating creative work in relation to established academic discourse. In relation to historical musicology, I will discuss the tension that exists between establishing a compelling narrative and the subjectivity of data selection. Commentary from a 2014 workshop with recently completed and current Australian doctoral students working on jazz topics (N=20) will then be used to illuminate how doctoral candidates perceive and negotiate these tensions.