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Workshopping Participation in Music

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2013

Kazuhiro Jo*
IAMAS, 3-95, Ryoke-cho, Ogaki-shi, Gifu-ken, JAPAN 503-0014
Adam Parkinson*
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Atau Tanaka*
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK


This paper presents a process-based approach to considering workshops as a route to participation in collective creative musical practice. We evoke the notion of the Music One Participates In, which focuses on a shift from the listener-as-consumer to participant-actor actively engaged in sound perception and production. We look at the range of different methods that make up the term ‘workshop’, as well as emergent relationships between facilitator and participant in creative do-it-yourself activities to frame our discussion of participatory music practice. We then examine the nature of participation across a range of disciplines from social and cognitive science through human computer interaction to radical and contemporary art, and identify possible contradictions in horizontal utopian organisational models. With this conceptual frame as a backdrop, we present four types of workshop that we have conducted across time at different sites with diverse groups of participants. We apply concepts from the participation literature to analyse our music workshops, and attempt to reconcile the potentially diverging agendas of facilitator and participant to arrive at a process-based view of ‘workshopping’.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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