Every summer, I travel to Europe for some research, projects and meetings. This 2023 summer is not different, with the visit of four countries: France, England, Germany and Switzerland. I just travelled to England to meet the percussionist Evelyn Glennie in Huntingdon, where her office and her huge collection of percussions are located. After interviewing her virtually in 2020, I wanted to meet her in person. I brought her the book containing a chapter I wrote about her and two other musicians with disability, published in March 2023. She and her team welcomed me warmly. Evelyn gave me a tour of her percussions room.
This project is a part of my doctoral research on Music and Disability in the professional music industry. From January to June 2023, I conducted a series of workshops at Community Music Schools of Toronto (CMST), funded and supported by York University’s Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts. This post presents the final report and the future of the project: the creation of a new company!
I have been chosen to be part of the professional Recording Academy family. This will allow me to support the artists I value, and to extend my disability activism even further! Thank you to those who have supported me in the process, Especially Prof. Rob Bowman and my colleagues at RAMPD.
This conference is an exchange of knowledge between researchers, performers, educators, practitioners, and community organizers. Through a range of informative and interactive sessions, participants discuss the present and future applications and implications of performance work with, by, for, and about children and youth. A range of in-person events, panels, performances, and workshops are presented, spread out during the conference days. This year, all presentations and workshop sessions took place on June 17th and 18th, 2023.
In March 2023, I have won the Toronto competition, allowing me to participate in the national finals in HEC Montreal, on May 10, 2023. The event was organized by Acfas, the French-Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science. We were 21 PhD students from all over Canada, presenting our research in less than three minutes. I presented my current adaptive instruments workshops. It was fascinating to discover the 20 other topics. We were all motivated and happy to share together. This experience was not only rewarding personally, it increased my network and connected me to brilliant actors of francophone research in Canada. I will probably find ways to work with Acfas in the future.
The theme of this conference was: Disrupting Music Education: Disability as “an ingenious way to live.” DSandME23 took place from April 27, 2023, through April 29, 2023. The 3rd Biennial International Disability Studies and Music Education Symposium (DSandME23) explored how disability and lived experiences of disabled persons/persons with disabilities provide opportunities to productively disrupt music pedagogy. I presented the adaptive instruments workshops on Friday, April 28, 2023.
Today, March 31st, 2023, is book launch day. This book, published by Transcrip Verlag, contains a chapter I have written about women’s leadership among professional musicians: “Assumptions of Normality: How Three Women with a Disability Changed the Face of Music.” It is based on the interviews of three extraordinary women who have changed the music industry: Evelyn Glennie, Gaelynn Lea and Lachi. The book is available in open access PDF for its launch. Printed versions of the book will be available soon on the editor’s website.
For two days, March 24 and 25, 2023, the music department hosted the 2nd annual Graduate Music Students Colloquium. The theme of this year’s colloquium was Forward Motion. I was invited to join Keisha Bell-Kovacs’ jazz quartet for two songs on Friday, March 24, and I presented my work with Community Music Schools of Toronto, consisting of a series of adaptive instruments and voice workshops, on Saturday, March 25.
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an internationally recognized research communication competition. Participants have three minutes to deliver a compelling presentation on their thesis research for a general audience using a single, static slide. On March 21, 2023, I was among the participants of the Toronto final of the French version of 3MT, Ma Thèse en 180 secondes (MT180), at Massey College. In French, of course.
Comprehensive exams are the last steps in a PhD student’s journey before being allowed to write a doctoral dissertation. I did my written comprehensive exam (a mini dissertation on a chosen topic agreed with the supervisory committee) in November about the impact of deafness on Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano sonata compositions. My oral comprehensive exam was on March 17, presenting a series of adaptive instruments and voice workshops I have organized in a music school, in relation to my research about professional musicians with disabilities. Though the written comprehensive exam is discussed privately between the supervisory committee and the student, the oral comprehensive exam is open to the public. It contains 1) a presentation part done by the student, 2) several rounds of questions from the committee, and 3) a decision of approval of the exam.