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A brittle discipline: Music Technology and Third Culture Thinking

Boehm, C (2014) A brittle discipline: Music Technology and Third Culture Thinking. In: SEMPRE Conference: Researching Music Technology in Education: Critical Insights.

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Abstract

Five years ago I wrote an introductory article for a journal, in which I considered the state of music technology degrees in our universities in the UK. Having seen where higher education (HE) policy has taken us, and having had the fortunate opportunity to be heavily involved in shaping genuinely interdisciplinary provision that considers interdisciplinarity with all its warts and perks , I thought it time to consider the implications of HE policy on interdisciplinary subject areas, to explore specifically the gaps that I identified five years ago and to consider how the current climate is affecting them. This article will cover the ever-widening disciplinary gaps that are appearing in HE and focuses specifically on those gaps that are substantially affecting various interdisciplinary areas of learning and research in HE. It uses music technology as an example case study. Even the process of placing of this article into an academic journal demonstrates the existing challenges; in its interdisciplinary nature its eligibility to feature in a subject-specific periodical might be questioned despite its high relevance for it. The article also attempts to demonstrate models that support interdisciplinary teaching and research, which hopefully are able to mind and furthermore mend various existent gaps. With any luck it will disrupt some of our pre-postmodern concepts of what a university is, to be superseded by a more postmodern acceptance of society as constructivist learning communities, and universities as enablers of these communities. In this exploration, I follow a trajectory, from exploring to mending the gaps, and then finally to discussing in detail a specific methodology that represents one way forward out of the interdisciplinary quagmire.

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