The National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia (NRPIPA)

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The National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia (NRPIPA) is committed to assisting Indigenous Australians record, document and securely archive their traditions of music and dance. This Study Group is open to community stakeholders, performers, scholars, archivists and other allied professionals with an interest in Indigenous Australian music and dance.

If you are interested in this Study Group, you are very welcome to contact us via the form below.

Vision | Mission | Symposium | Membership | Publications | Protocols | Contact

Call for Papers

The 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance will be held in association with the 41st MSA National Conference at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, in Perth on 6-9 December 2018. The Symposium will be convened by Aaron Corn and Clint Bracknell. The call for papers is now open until Monday, 7 May 2018.

Reflecting this Conference's overarching theme, the Symposium invites proposals for presentations that explore mystery and power in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander song. While Indigenous song is frequently described as powerful, the nature of this power can be elusive and unquantifiable. Today, many songs themselves are elusive, and unable to be heard outside of archival recordings, if at all. In this context, presentations may seek to address broad questions including:

  • Is mystery integral to a song's power and, if so, how?
  • As song traditions become increasingly endangered, do songs become more or less powerful?
  • With few records or singers, how much can we really know about critically-endangered song traditions?
  • How can we, as individuals and communities involved in music recording and revitalisation, be sure to engage appropriately with songs that may hold unknown power?
  • How can technology be leveraged to support the maintenance of mystery in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songs?

Vision

The NRPIPA was conceived as a key outcome of the first Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation during the 2002 Garma Festival in Arnhem Land.

Officially launched by the iconic Australian actor, Jack Thompson, at the 2004 Garma Festival, the vision of the NRPIPA vision is to foster a supportive network of performers, scholars, allied professionals and community stakeholders who are committed to assisting Indigenous Australians to record, document and securely archive their endangered traditions of music and dance, and to apply these unique resources to strategic innovations in business, information technologies, the arts, education, research, governance, health and beyond.

Advances in the accessibility of digital media technologies since the NRPIPA's inception have greatly empowered Indigenous communities to determine how their cherished music and dance traditions are to be recorded, documented and made accessible with respect to international best practices, which are reflected in the NRPIPA's recommended Fieldwork and Archiving Protocols as developed through extensive consultations among performers, scholars, allied professionals and community stakeholders.

The NRPIPA encourages stakeholders engaged in recording, documenting and archiving Australian Indigenous music and dance traditions to observe our Fieldwork and Archiving Protocols, and invites stakeholders who do so to align their funding applications, collections and publications as relevant with the NRPIPA by name.

The Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Australia's peak body for Indigenous Studies, is the preferred archival repository for all records generated in alignment with the NRPIPA, but are simultaneously deposited in local and regional repositories where possible.

The NRPIPA became a formal Study Group of the MSA in December 2017. Since then, it has incorporated the MSA Indigenous Think Tank, which was established by the same core group of scholars in 2000 and initially led by Linda Barwick to guide constitutional reforms that have significantly improved Indigenous recognition and participation within the MSA.

Mission

The continuing mission of the NRPIPA is outlined in two seminal documents:

The 2002 Garma Statement established the rationale and initial scope for the NRPIPA's formation.

The 2011 International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Statement stands as an urgent call for action to support the preservation of Australia's endangered Indigenous music and dance traditions for the benefit of all Australians and cultural diversity worldwide. Founded in 1947, the ICTM is a non-governmental organisation in formal consultative relations with UNESCO and has only once made a formal call of this kind for urgent action.

Symposium

The Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance is the NRPIPA's annual meeting, and was inaugurated at the 2002 Garma Festival with generous support from AIATSIS.

Each year, this Symposium invites proposals for presentations by performers, scholars, allied professionals and/or community stakeholders working in the creation, performance, recording, documentation, archiving and/or exhibition of Indigenous music and dance expressions in Australia and globally.

  • 17th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2018), Convenors: Aaron Corn and Clint Bracknell (Perth: Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University) in association with the 41st MSA National Conference
  • 16th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2017), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Melbourne: The University of Melbourne) in association with the 2017 Australian Society of Archivists National Conference, and the 2017 Indigenous Technologies and Indigenous Communities Symposium
  • 15th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2016), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Adelaide: National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music Research, The University of Adelaide) in association with the 39th MSA National Conference
  • 14th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2015), Convenors: Sally Treloyn and Payi Linda Ford (Cairns) in association with the 2nd Symposium on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music and Wellbeing, and Creating Futures 2015: Practice, Evidence and Creativity in Tropical and Remote Settings
  • 13th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2014), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Canberra: National Convention Centre) in association with the AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference
  • 12th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2013), Convenor: Sally Treloyn (Melbourne: The University of Melbourne) in association with the 1st Symposium on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music and Wellbeing, and the Australian Music and Psychology Society 2013 Conference: Music, Mind and Wellbeing
  • 11th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2012), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Canberra: Manning Clark House) in association with the 35th MSA National Conference
  • 10th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2011), Convenor: Allan Marett (Darwin: North Australia Research Unit, The Australian National University)
  • 9th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2010), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Canberra: Australian Academy of Science Shine Dome) in association with the 2010 Indigenous Technologies and Indigenous Communities Symposium
  • 8th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2009), Convenors: Allan Marett and Sally Treloyn (Darwin: Charles Darwin University) in association with the Darwin Festival
  • 7th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2008), Convenors: Allan Marett and Sally Treloyn (Darwin: Charles Darwin University) in association with the Darwin Festival
  • 6th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2007), Convenor: Allan Marett (Darwin: North Australia Research Unit, The Australian National University)
  • 5th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2006), Convenor: Aaron Corn (Gulkula) in association with the 8th Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
  • 4th Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2005), Convenors: Allan Marett, Mandawuy Yunupiŋu and Marcia Langton (Gulkula) in association with the 7th Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
  • 3rd Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2004), Convenors: Allan Marett, Mandawuy Yunupiŋu and Marcia Langton (Gulkula) in association with the 6th Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
  • 2nd Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2003), Convenors: Allan Marett, Mandawuy Yunupiŋu and Marcia Langton (Gulkula) in association with the 5th Garma Festival of Traditional Culture
  • 1st Symposium on Indigenous Music and Dance (2002), Convenors: Allan Marett, Mandawuy Yunupiŋu and Marcia Langton (Gunyaŋara: Yirrŋa Music Development Centre) in association with the 4th Garma Festival of Traditional Culture

Membership

The NRPIPA welcomes active MSA members representing a broad array of scholarly institutions, professional and community affiliations, and career stages to join this Study Group and share their interests in Indigenous music and dance.

All interested MSA members are invited to participate in the annual Indigenous Think Tank meeting at the MSA National Conference.

The NRPIPA is organised by a Directorate and a Steering Committee. All positions are voluntary.

Musicologists Allan Marett and Aaron Corn were, respectively, the NRPIPA's founding Director and Secretary, while the founding Chairperson of the NRPIPA's Steering Committee was Mandawuy Yunupiŋu AC, the original lead-singer and composer of the globally-renowned Australian band, Yothu Yindi.

The Directorate of the NRPIPA presently comprises:

  • Aaron Corn, The University of Adelaide (Co-Director)
  • Payi Linda Ford, Charles Darwin University (Co-Director)
  • Brigitta Scarfe, Monash University (Secretary)

Current Members of the NRPIPA's Steering Committee are:

  • Clint Bracknell, The University of Sydney
  • Marcia Langton, The University of Melbourne
  • Tom Lawford, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
  • David Manmurulu, Warruwi (Co-Chairperson)
  • Jenny Manmurulu, Warruwi School
  • Allan Marett, The University of Sydney (Co-Chairperson)
  • Steven Patrick, Tracks Dance Company
  • Sally Treloyn, The University of Melbourne
  • Myfany Turpin, The University of Sydney (Indigenous Music of Australia Series Editor)

The NRPIPA wishes to honour the memories of founding Steering Committee Members who have passed away:

  • Joseph Gumbula, The Australian National University
  • Mandawuy Yunupiŋu, Yothu Yindi Foundaton (Chairperson)

Publications

The NRPIPA is affiliated with the Indigenous Music of Australia series of books and annotated recordings published by Sydney University Press.

The many forms of Australia's Indigenous music have ancient roots, huge diversity and global reach.

The Indigenous Music of Australia series aims to stimulate discussion and development of the field of Australian Indigenous music, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music, in both subject matter and approach.

Proposals are welcomed for studies of traditional and contemporary music and dance, popular music, art music, and experimental and new media, as well as theoretical, analytical, interdisciplinary and practice-based research on relevant themes.

Where relevant, books in this series may be supplemented by web-based and/or audiovisual media publications.

Prospective contributors are invited to discuss potential titles for this series with the Series Editor and/or members of the Editorial Board.

Protocols

In 2005, the NRPIPA conducted two pilot projects funded by the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney to identify suitable Fieldwork and Archiving Protocols for recording, documenting and archiving Australian Indigenous music and dance expressions under the direction of Indigenous performers and in partnership with community stakeholders.

These protocols were first published in:

The NRPIPA Study Group is presently tasked with reviewing these protocols in consultation with suitably-qualified scholars, allied professionals, community stakeholders, and Indigenous performers.

Contact