EDITORIAL, Transform: New Voices in Community Music, Issue 2, Dec. 2020

Garry, F. (2020) Editorial–Download PDF

Fran Garry

Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick

Welcome to Transform: New Voices in Community Music, Issue 2, 2020. I am delighted to say that, as editor this year, and a contributing author to the inaugural issue in 2018, I have indeed been provided with a 360 degree experience of the scholarly publication process—a key aim of Transform. This journal, and its collaborative ethos, stem from the annual York St John University, ICCM Student Community Music Research Symposium, for which I have made the journey from Ireland, as both a presenter and an attendee for the past number of years. The symposium is always insightful. It is uplifting to hear about community music projects and research from all over the world, and to have the opportunity to meet fellow community musicians and researchers. Hopefully, in 2021, we will all be able to meet in person again. In the meantime, I have the privilege of introducing four authors and their work to this open-access platform for new voices in community music. 

The first article in this issue was written by Dr Kathleen Turner whose keynote address at the 2019 ICCM Student Symposium explored the overarching theme of ‘Critique not criticism: Why we ask the questions we ask’. Adapting her presentation to text, Kathleen provides insights into her arts practice Community Music PhD research, completed in 2017. Describing herself as a songwriter, Community Musician and storyteller, she shares in-depth reflections on her intertwined research and creative processes. Audio links, lyrics, and written context are provided for two original songs performed as part of Kathleen’s keynote presentation in 2019, both creative outputs evidencing aspects of her PhD research inquiry.    

In our second article, Catherine Birch writes about her research into a weekly singing and songwriting project entitled ‘Emerging Voices’ which has developed from the York St John University Prison Partnership Project. She provides deep insights into her community music practice by exploring the challenges and rewards of working with women within the UK criminal justice system. Emphasising the unique aspects of working in these sensitive and challenging contexts, her research prioritises practitioner and participant perspectives, and highlights the impact and resonance of musical expression in the women’s lives. 

In our third article, Ryan Humphrey critically analyses frequently used key terms in community music discourse. He examines language usage within the concepts of ownership, empowerment and transformation in Sound Sense UK’s publication: Sounding Board, spanning a time period from the early 1990s to 2020. Practitioner perspectives in the Sounding Board articles are explored in the context of theoretical discourse analysis and various national policy developments in the UK. Ultimately, the author invites community musicians to think more deeply and analytically about the origins and usage of language within community music practice. 

In our fourth and final highly topical article, Chi Ying Lam writes about the challenges faced by two community music practitioners in Hong Kong in adapting to online teaching and learning due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Her research highlights specific problems that emerge when practitioners and participants cannot meet in person, and asks how these perspectives can be built upon in the future. Will there be a return to traditional group music making, or will technology evolve to address current shortcomings within online community music practice?     

I wish to sincerely thank the reviewers who took the time and care to provide excellent and detailed feedback for the authors. Thank you to the authors for all their hard work and attention to detail. It has been a pleasure working with you all, and I hope the readers will enjoy reading your work as much as I have.