Dr Victoria Armstrong, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for Education and Social Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, recently delivered a keynote presentation at the Loop Festival, Berlin.
The three-day summit for music makers brought together academics, educators, composers, industry specialists, DJs and music journalists.
Dr Armstrong gave an invited keynote address entitled What do we mean by inclusion in music education?, where she drew on her many years of research and highlighted some of the contradictions and controversies identified in a range of music education practices and contexts that claim to be inclusive but actually serve to act as barriers to inclusion.
In her wide-ranging presentation she explored issues relating to the concept of talent, the gender imbalance in technological spaces, the construction of girls as non-technological, and claims for inclusive classrooms which emphasise Western classical music and ignore students’ own musical cultures.
In addition, she was part of an expert panel entitled Beyond curriculum: new perspectives in music education, with five other international educators and music artists who discussed new approaches to pedagogy in both formal and informal spaces.
Dr Armstrong said, ‘This was a wonderful opportunity to talk and share ideas about the future of music education with a number people in the industry. I was invited to participate because of my long-standing research interests in gender and music technology and inclusive educational practices and, unlike traditional academic conferences, I was able to talk to software developers, music practitioners and industry specialists, so there was a real sense of people wanting to work together to find solutions.
“I’ve already been asked to work and advise on the issues with two music software developers in the UK and the Netherlands, so I’m very excited about the potential to put my research to use in an industry setting. It highlights the importance of events such as Loop because it brings together groups of people who would not necessarily have the opportunity to meet, network and share ideas”.