Saturday 9 December

Research Papers Session 1
Room 2.2

12.45pm – 1.15pm Craig Morgan PhD

The Mental Health and Well-Being of Australian Screen Composers – and the Future of Australian Screen Music

According to recent empirical studies, Australian Screen Composers belong to a unique group of professionals that have alarming mental health statistics that require our immediate attention. One recent report surveyed people (n=2,904) working in the Australian entertainment industry, including composers, musicians, venue staff, stage managers, sound engineers and roadies. Results indicate that the levels of depression symptoms are five times higher than in the general population, levels of moderate to severe anxiety symptoms are 10 times higher than in the general population and most alarmingly, suicide attempts for Australian entertainment industry workers are more than double that of the general population. Clearly this is a watershed moment requiring early intervention programs tailored to the industry. These results are contextualised against the results of interviews from working Screen Composers (n=23) about their views of the future of screen music composition in Australia.

Dr Craig Morgan completed his PhD at the University of Sydney in 2016. He is a board member of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and a graduate of the Australian, Film, Radio and Television School.

1.15pm – 1.45pm Felicity Wilcox PhD

Obstacles and goals toward gender equity in the screen music industry

Recent research conducted by the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) confirmed that while 21.7% of writer members identify as female, this figure drops to a paltry 13% when it comes to screen composers. APRA recently commissioned a survey into the screen composition sector, to investigate why women are so poorly represented within our industry. This paper will reveal some of the results of that research, and look more broadly into gender disparity in screen composition, on which the author, a Director of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC), and a practicing composer and academic, has a valuable perspective. It will detail and discuss the role of the AGSC Gender Equity Committee, which the author co-founded, in addressing and improving inequity in this area. Some of the urgent questions facing women in this field will be examined: why it so difficult for women to break into work and to maintain activity, what barriers do women face to career progression once established, areas of unconscious bias within the workplace, and why female engagement in our film industry, and hearing the music of women within Australia screen productions is so important.

Dr. Felicity Wilcox (Fox) has contributed music to many award-winning film and television productions and has received multiple Australian and international industry awards and nominations for her soundtracks.

Research Papers Session 2
Room 2.2

4.00pm – 4.30pm Yantra de Vilder PhD

In Search of the Artistic Moment – Inter-disciplinary Collaboration and ‘The Space Between’ in Screen Music

Collaboration is at the heart of all screen music – it is a vital inter-disciplinary matrix which connects creative and technical practitioners to a force bigger than the sum of it’s parts.

I’ve spent the last 4 years researching a phenomenon, which I describe as The Artistic Moment. My exploration has been how to arrive at this place within an inter-disciplinary collaborative context from a screen composer’s perspective. My paper discusses how the Artistic Moment can inform and penetrate the meeting place between collaborators of inter-disciplinary practices associated with screen music, leading to increased feelings of connection between those present, and their audience, to enhance the experience and outcome of the work.

This exploration comes from a creative voice that is distinctly unique to myself – an Australian female composer’s attitude embracing improvisatory, cross-cultural and inter-media practices, in other words, a “border crosser” (Nuss, 2013) approach. My research investigates and analyses the processes that can be used in recording, rehearsal and performance to create a state that goes beyond time and personality – a between place… a space I refer to as the Artistic Moment.

I argue for the positioning of The Artistic Moment as a valuable connecting place in collaborative arts practices, and how the ‘space between’ of this ‘gateway experience’ can also be viewed as an embodiment of the Japanese philosophical aesthetic known as Ma with particular reference to my original project Haiku, which was filmed and recorded in Paris, Japan and Australia.

Haiku has had a number of different outcomes, a site – specific performance in Japanese Gardens, a multi-screen installation in an art gallery, an international performance art piece, a film, and an award-winning soundtrack for orchestra. I will be performing an excerpt of the work as part of the She Scores concert for the Glories of the Score at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Dr. Yantra de Vilder is a composer and sound artist specialising in film, TV, dance and theatre. Her compositions have been broadcast on the national television networks as well as internationally.

4.30pm – 5.00pm Maija Howe 

The Fe/Male Gaze: Gender, Representation and Aesthetics