As an artist and independent researcher working at the confluence of art, broadcast media and academia I completed my practice research PhD at Bournemouth University in 2017, where I am now a visiting fellow and contributes to the Research Excellence Framework. My research interests and themes contributing to the fields of media practice and performance arts include:
practice research methodology
reflective practice + theory
music and narrative
storytelling in sound
the relationship between the artistic elements in narrative forms
voice self and embodiment
sound body, environment
sound and wellbeing
PhD Title: Music, Narrative, Voice and Presence: Revealing a composed feature methodology.
Supervisor/Mentor: Dr Mark Readman
Examiners: Professor Yvon Bonenfant, Professor David Hendy.
Abstract: This PhD by Publication draws together five composed features commissioned by and first aired on BBC Radio 3 and 4 between 2009 and 2013. I am the sole originator of these creative works and uniquely assume the role of composer and producer in their realisation. This combined role has given rise to a composed feature methodology common to all five publications. Within this thesis I clarify the composed feature methodology as an innovation in the practice field of storytelling in sound. I demonstrate original contribution to knowledge in the academic disciplines of media practice and performance arts by considering how the published work addresses some key research questions.
This written synthesis frames the internationally acclaimed composed features within the academic sphere post hoc. To do this I adopted a Practice as Research in the arts methodology (PaR). My research strategy addressed how reflective and autoethnographic methods can be employed to critically investigate the original contributions to knowledge embodied in the generative act of making the work, and the published works themselves. This is set in the context of existing literature and practice.
The process of reflection reveals three key aesthetic principles of the composed feature methodology: Firstly, the disruption of the dominant aesthetic of the supremacy of the spoken word gives equal weighting to music, spoken word and sound within a montage structure. Secondly, the disruption of the dominant aesthetic ensures that music, musicality and the composer are brought to the fore. Thirdly, therefore my voice within the work is a pluralistic entity, encompassing the composer voice, authorial voice and physical voice.
By situating the composed features and myself as the practitioner within a practice lineage, I have also asserted the uniqueness of the composed feature methodology within the field. I have shown how music, musicality and the composer have played a significant role in developing and shaping a radio feature aesthetic. In outlining my approach to scoring music for the composed features I have responded to the gap in knowledge pertaining to the discourse surrounding composing music for radio drama, documentaries and features. I show here how the composed features give rise to new concepts surrounding voice and presence by employing a methodology where different modes of voice contribute to my presence within the work.