Research Stream


Joseph Browning
City, University of London (The University of Melbourne)

Jane Davidson
The University of Melbourne

Alan Maddox (2012-2016)
The University of Sydney

Sandra Garrido
Western Sydney University


Creativity, Collaboration and Emotion in Music

This project examines the emotional dimensions of musical creativity in multi-person collaborative projects, exploring how and why feelings matter when musicians work together to create affectively charged artistic productions.

Victorian Opera 2016 crop.jpg

This project considers how musicians practise, conceptualise and experience emotions, how artistic teams negotiate coherent productions from diverse affective agendas, and how shifts in the emotional cultures surrounding Western art music have shaped music-making from the Baroque period to the present day. The project focuses on case studies of recent Australian artistic productions – from operas to sound art – all of which rework historical musical styles for contemporary audiences. Key case studies include Voyage to the Moon, a contemporary pasticcio opera, premiered and toured throughout Australia in early 2016 and produced in collaboration between Victorian Opera, Musica Viva and CHE; and Pleasure Garden, an outdoor sound installation composed by Genevieve Lacey and Jan Bang, and inspired by seventeenth-century composer and musician Jacob van Eyck. Working with industry partners, Chief Investigator Professor Jane Davidson, postdoctoral researcher Joe Browning and other CHE researchers use a range of ethnographic and historical methods to analyse the creative processes and affective dynamics underlying these modern-day productions and their historical predecessors. Another major strand of the project examines how such productions have been experienced and interpreted by audiences past and present. By investigating how past emotional cultures are reimagined today, the project highlights tensions and values at stake in Australia’s engagements with its European musical heritage, as well as contributing to our understanding of the importance of the arts in shaping emotional cultures at the national scale and beyond.

Non CHE Collaborators

Erin Helyard
Andrew Geeves

Image: The Voyage to the Moon orchestra. Courtesy of Victorian Opera. © Jeff Busby