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Pedelty Wins Grant for Applied Musicology Study

January 12, 2018

Portrait: Mark Pedelty

Portrait: Mark Pedelty
Photo by Jack Swift, CLAgency student

In December 2017, Professor Mark Pedelty won a grant from Humanities Without Walls. His project, “Field to Media: Applied Musicology for a Changing Climate,” has received just over $140,000 in funding.

Music has often been an important catalyst for social change, but few music scholars have applied their research to communicate and frame critical environmental questions.

This interdisciplinary project draws on the fields of ecomusicology, praxis-based applied ethnomusicology, and communication studies to create synergy between participatory research, community action, and scholarly publication.

Each member of the project team will conduct research using Pedelty's piloted "field-to-media" methodology. Projects will take place in five environmentally threatened sites in China, Haiti, India, Tanzania, and Washingon State/British Columbia. Team members come from Indiana University Bloomington, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Atomic K Productions, in addition to the University of Minnesota.

Researchers hope to understand how soundscapes can help define communities and senses of place and how local musicians creatively mobilize audiences to confront environmental problems. They will collaborate with musician-informants to create a music video and social media campaign designed to confront an environmental challenge.

The experiment in creative "soundscaping" promises to generate new theoretical insights into the actual and potential relationships between music, communities, and place. When the production phase is done, the team will publish an open-source field-to-media manual for future practitioners.

The Institute for Advanced Study, directed by Jennifer Gunn, represents the University of Minnesota in the Humanities Without Walls consortium, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.