Music and Meaning event: some reflections


I spent this afternoon at a small event I organised on the topic of ‘Music & Meaning‘. I planned it as a bit of a distraction and as a bit of informal space for the discussion of ideas. I gave a presentation and I invited three of my colleagues to speak on the topic. We ended up with about 33 people at the event. What was great was the range of disciplines that this covered. There were people from archeology, music and philosophy, as well as people from the sociology department. There were also people who are different stages of their career/studies. We even had some undergrads, which was great. As a result we ended up with loads of really lively discussion about the papers and some genuinely interdisciplinary and open dialogue. It was interesting how the topic of music provided a focal point and reference point that allowed this discussion to work. It would seem that there is something about music that enables fruitful discussion to be established across backgrounds and research experience. It made me think of Andrew Abbott’s work on the Chaos of Disciplines, this was a moment when the difficulties of cross disciplinary dialogue seemed to be bypassed. Maybe there is something about music as a topic that allowed this to happen.

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