The 1st International Music Livelihoods Symposium

Led by Dr Diana Tolmie Senior Lecturer of Professional Practice, the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre and/of the Griffith University Creative Arts Research Institute will be hosting the inaugural International Music Livelihoods Symposium online Monday and Tuesday the 6th and 7th of December 6-10pm AEST (Brisbane), 2021. Keynote speakers include Dr Nicole Canham (Monash University) author of recently-released Preparing Musicians for Precarious Work (Routledge). Attendance for both days (Dec 6&7, 2021) is $60AUD, or for either day $40AUD. To register your attendance please click here

Dr Canham’s Keynote Address:
The luggage we must leave behind

C.S Lewis observed “you cannot take all luggage with you on all journeys” (1945, preface), and the journey for many creative people – not just musicians – into, through and out of COVID has been a tough one. In her keynote presentation, Dr Nicole Canham considers some of the ways we can light the way for creative people through a period that for some has been characterised by great upheaval and uncertainty. These difficulties have revealed the extent to which creative workers are marginalised in many societies, and highlighted forms of precarity that won’t be outrun by upskilling. Similarly, the present context calls for levels of adaptability, self-clarity and self-reflection that highlight the high degree of psychological ownership musicians need when it comes to their lives and work. What can we learn from tuning into musicians’ subjective experiences of career development and their passage through the past 2 years, and how might that alter our understanding of what sustainable livelihoods in music look like?
(Photography credit: Peter Hislop)

Symposium Information

The Symposium Schedule is now available.
Please click here to view the times and presenters.
Download the Symposium Presenter Booklet
Registration for the Symposium is $60AUD for both days or $40AUD per day – click here to register.

For enquiries please direct all correspondence to

Symposium presenters include:

Hon. Prof. Dr Alenka Barber-Kersovan
Professor Margaret Barrett
Dr Steve Barry
Associate Professor Irene Bartlett
Professor Andy Bennett
Associate Professor Diana Blom
Ms Tarita Botsman
Professor Pamela Burnard
Dr Nicole Canham
Ms Morwenna Collett
Dr Kathleen Connell
Professor Ryan Daniel
Mr Cameron Deyell
Professor Celia Duffy
Dr Renee Duncan
Dr Mathew Flynn
Dr Sean Foran
Mr Brad Fuller
Dr Ben Green
Ms Ajhriahna Henshaw
Dr Tanya Kalmanovitch
Dr Kristina Kelman
Mr Dominic Kingsford
Professor Dr Volker Kirchberg
Dr Guadalupe  López-Íñiguez
Dr Karlin Love
Dr Guy Morrow
Mrs Lauren Moxey
Professor Rosie Perkins
Dr Pamela Pike
Dr Kate Power
Ms Jen Rafferty
Mr Nicholas Russoniello
Ms Caitlin Shaughnessy
Dr Neta Spiro
Dr George Waddell
Professor Heidi Westerlund
Dr Narelle Yeo

The core theme of the symposium is “Educating for the Sustainable Musician in Post-Normal Times.” Postnormal times (PNT) is a concept developed by Ziauddin Sardar as a development of post-normal science. Sardar and Sweeney (2016; 2020) describe the present as “postnormal times”, “an in-between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have yet to be born, and very few things seem to make sense” (n.p).

The term “music livelihoods” further acknowledges the complex lives of musicians involving their changing musical identities, diverse career journeys, and an external environment impacting their values and opportunities.

Presentation topics relate to the following:

  • Current or proposed innovative learning and teaching practice regarding the professional development of student musicians and/or new-emerging-established music practitioners
  • Research discussing professional musicians’ realities and practices towards sustainability prior, within or beyond a pandemic-affected work environment
  • Current disruption-inspired innovations and practices of professional musicians
  • Changing or challenging values of new-emerging-established music practitioners
  • Musicians’ health and well-being (physical, aural, mental, financial) concerns
  • Musical identities and journeys
  • Future trends and potential disruptors impacting musician livelihoods
  • Technologies enabling music livelihood futures.