Banner Image: Community mural, Central Land Council, Tennant Creek. Image taken by Dr Sarah Woodland.

Sustainable Futures

Centering on in-depth studies from nine music cultures across the globe, Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures aimed to deliver a model to empower communities across the world to build musical futures on their own terms. Supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Linkage project was realised between 2009 – 2013 in partnership with three key industry bodies and seven universities in Australia and abroad. In 2016, Oxford University Press published an edited volume of the nine project case studies, along with the model to better understand musical ecosystems: Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures (edited by Huib Schippers and Catherine Grant).


Team members: Huib Schippers,  Linda Barwick, Dan Bendrups, James Burns, Patricia Shehan Campbell, John Drummond, Peter Dunbar-Hall, Catherine Grant, Philip Hayward, Keith Howard, Hakan Lundström and Myfany Turpin.

Partners: International Music Council/UNESCO, World Music and Dance Centre (The Netherlands), Music Council of Australia.

Project brochure

Project website

Blue Sky Highway

Blue Sky Highway is a multidisciplinary music and mental health collaboration designed to share singing, music and performance with people who have experienced mental health challenges, and those who support them. The project includes community music interventions that draw on the experience of peer mentors to create safe and supportive processes for participants. In singing and performance we find a metaphor for personal agency that can be creatively explored in the process of mental health recovery. This research is shaped by the principle that every voice is valuable, and that everyone can benefit from access to opportunities for self-expression.

Team members: Leah Cotterell, Helena Roennfeldt, Dave McGuire (Guitarist, composer, facilitator of the Hope St Music Group).

Partners: A Place to Belong

Reminiscing about Jazz in Queensland

This research will engage with local jazz communities in Queensland to capture oral histories and tangible ephemera that tells the story of jazz in Queensland prior to 1965. These will subsequently be digitised and added to the Queensland Jazz Archive Collection at the State Library of Queensland. The loss of personal and collective memories of jazz pre-1965 is a real threat to the quality of histories that can be told about this era in the state’s music history, as individuals who were active in Queensland’s early jazz scenes face potential cognitive decline and mortality. The project will include components of intergenerational music-making and public access to online histories and stories of jazz in Queensland.

Project leader: Lauren Istvandity

Partners: State Library of Queensland

Brisbane Chorale History

Brisbane Chorale is one of Queensland’s major choirs and has been a significant cultural force for more than three decades. Its story is a journey—a voyage of discovery through the rich traditions of choral music, with many amazing musical experiences along the way including some world and local premières of new or unfamiliar repertoire. Many eminent musicians and orchestras have underpinned Brisbane Chorale’s development, and it maintains a close relationship with Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Throughout its journey, Brisbane Chorale has collaborated with many performance organisations, and it has also performed interstate and overseas. Brisbane Chorale: Our Journey documents that story and its place in Brisbane and Australia’s cultural history. It’s also Peter Roennfeldt’s third monograph relating to Queensland’s musical heritage.

Project leader: Peter Roennfeldt

Partners: Brisbane Chorale, Brisbane City Council - Community History Grant

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Music Sustainability and Social Justice

This project investigates the interconnections between music sustainability and social justice. A completed case study in Cambodia, involving six months of fieldwork funded by an Endeavour Australia Research Fellowship, revealed insights into the complex relationships between poverty and the vitality of traditional Khmer music. An ongoing case study in collaboration with Sandy Sur of Leweton Cultural Village (Luganville, Vanuatu), explores the relationship between climate change—as an issue of social justice—and the strength of local musical expressions in Vanuatu. It is intended that project outcomes will inform practical efforts in the areas of both music sustainability and social justice, at local levels and beyond.

Project leader: Catherine Grant

Partners: Sandy Sur (Leweton Cultural Village, Vanuatu), Leah Barclay, Tom Dick (Further Arts)

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