barrettEstelle Barrett, Keynote Speaker



Estelle Barrett is amongst Australia’s most eminent experts on artistic research. Her 2007 co-edited volume, Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, has been one of the most influential international publications in developing and articulating a paradigm of artistic research and its pedagogical issues. 

Barrett’s broad ranging expertise encompasses contemporary critical theory, psychoanalytical theory, trauma studies and new materialisms. Her monograph, Kristeva Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (2011), brought these discourses into dialogue to offer ‘a significant contribution to the extensive body of literature on Kristeva and aesthetics, and to the discussion over the space of the arts within contemporary societies.’ In addition to her monograph, numerous book chapters and journal articles, Barrett has published three co-edited books. Currently, Barrett is a team member of the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching's funded project, Developing New Approaches to Ethics and Research Integrity Training Through Challenges Posed by Creative Practice Research.

Since 2013 Barrett has been Professor of Research and HDR Coordinator at the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) at Deakin University. In this role, she has worked with Indigenous Australian researchers to develop a research training pedagogy using relational methodologies built on Indigenous epistemologies that articulate the ethics and protocols for conducting intercultural and Indigenous research.


Disruptive and Disrupting Paradigms: Artistic Practice and Indigenous Epistemologies as Research


Key Words: Creative arts research, Indigenous knowledge systems, paradigms, refutation, resistance, interpolation, relationality.





In this paper, I will extend my previous accounts of creative practice-based research

(Barrett and Bolt 2007) by drawing on the work of Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper and other philosophers of science to suggest that transgression, resistance and revolution are necessary ingredients of progress in spite of the disciplinary constraints exerted by traditional knowledge systems and paradigms. I will discuss the specific features of artistic research conducted by artist practitioners, and Indigenous research founded on Indigenous epistemologies that challenge many assumptions fundamental to science and more established approaches to research and will extend this to a consideration of the similarities and differences between the two paradigms.


I argue that creative arts research and Indigenous research employ transversal approaches that can inform traditional paradigms and shift understandings of the way in which knowledge emerges and functions. Despite having some affinities with other qualitative approaches, these aesthetic modes of cultural production are built on fundamentally disruptive differences that can be conceptualized through the notions of “interpolation”, “relationality” and the New Materialist conception of intra-action. As such, they permit a refiguring of basic ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions of conventional approaches to research.


In the final part of this paper, I will draw on specific examples of research from these two fields in order to illustrate how they operate as subjective, emergent and intuitive modes of knowledge production, and to demonstrate the importance and value of positioning both paradigms more firmly within the broader arena of research.




Roundtable Speakers


cheahVictoria Cheah (b. 1988, New York, NY) is a composer working in multiple media and genres, exploring hierarchy, ambiguity, and the concert ritual. She holds a B.A from the City University of New York's Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and is currently pursuing a PhD in music composition at Brandeis University. Passionate about the production and realization of new music, Cheah has served as the founding executive director of Boston ensemble Sound Icon and is now a co-director and curator with Score Follower.


thomasZach Thomas is a composer and media artist whose work is characterized by impulse and restlessness. He is a PhD candidate at the University of North Texas where he works as a teaching fellow at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia and as a researcher at the xREZ Art+Science Lab. Zach is a co-director of the new music non-profit, Score Follower, which curates and produces online content for the promotion of contemporary music.


scaldaferriNicola Scaldaferri is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment at the University of Milano where he founded and directs the Laboratory of Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology. He has done extensive ethnomusicological research in Italy, Albania, Kosova, Burkina-Faso, and elsewhere, as well as research on electroacoustic an 20th Century music. Professor Scaldaferri received his PhD in musicology from the University of Bologna and a degree in composition from the Conservatory of Parma. He was Fulbright scholar at Harvard University and a Visiting Professor at St Petersburg State University.


shelleyBraxton D. Shelley a musicologist who specializes in African American popular music. His research and critical interests, while currently focused on African American gospel performance, extend into media studies, sound studies, phenomenology, homiletics, and theology.

After earning a BA in Music and History from Duke University, Shelley received his PhD in the History and Theory of Music at the University of Chicago. While at the University of Chicago, he also earned a Master of Divinity from the university’s Divinity School. His 2017 dissertation, “Sermons in Song: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination,” developed an analytical paradigm for gospel music that braids together resources from cognitive theory, ritual theory, and homiletics with studies of repetition, form, rhythm and meter.

Recipient of the 2016 Paul A. Pisk Prize from the American Musicological Society and the 2016 Graduate Student Prize from the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, he has presented his research at Amherst College, Duke University, Northwestern University, and Tufts University, as well as at the annual meetings of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, Music Theory Midwest and the American Musicological Society.

His publications include the following essays: “Sounding Belief: ‘Tuning Up’ and The Gospel Imagination,” in Exploring Christian Song, “‘This Must Be The Single’: Valuing The Live Recording in Contemporary Gospel Performance,” in Living the Life I Sing, and “Gospel Goes To Church (Again): Richard Smallwood’s Hybridity as Liturgical Compromise,” in Readings in African American Church Music and Worship, vol 2. His current projects include an article on the poetics of gospel vamps, an article on music and protest in the North Carolina-based Moral Mondays movement, and a book-length study of African American gospel performance.


mcmurrayPeter McMurray is an ethnomusicologist, saxophonist, and media artist. His research focuses primarily on the intersection of Islam and sound, including recitation, liturgy, theology, and architecture and he is currently completing a book and media project, Pathways to God: The Islamic Acoustics of Turkish Berlin. He has also published on various aspects of the history of sound recording, especially tape and YouTube music. He is currently researching music and the refugee crisis in contemporary Europe and Turkey as well as intersections of sound, media and empire in the 19th century. His media practice includes extensive non-fiction audio and video work.

For over 10 years he has worked as the Assistant Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and continues to do research on oral poetry, the history/theory of orality, and them voice. As a performer, he has a longstanding interest in jazz and experimental improvisation. He also has been a part of Harvard’s metaLAB and Sensate Journal.

He completed a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Harvard, with secondary emphasis in Critical Media Practice. He also holds degrees in music composition (MFA, Brandeis) and Classics (Greek) and Slavic Literature (BA, Harvard). After his doctoral studies, he held postdoctoral fellowships at MIT (Mellon) and Harvard’s Society of Fellows (through spring 2018). Currently he is a Lecturer in Music at the University of Cambridge.