June-July 2023. It was lovely to return to the Music and/as Process conference a decade after my last visit. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I presented back in 2013: my own academic career, the research group itself and the state of practice research in academia have all evolved. Ma/aP now appears more diverse and wide-ranging with a marked emphasis on projects situated both inside and outside the academy engaging with music in a swathe of sociocultural settings. Practice research has established a stronger footing in academia, at least in the UK, although it remains depressing how often University senior research managers need to be reminded that there are outputs in research other than those involving the written word churned out in journal articles. I feel more sure of myself as a practitioner-researcher these days, of how I want to present my work and the function of research and writing within my various compositional projects.
The theme of this tenth anniversary conference was ‘making music together’. My paper, Together Apart: Collaboration, Distributed Creativity and Technology in a Transatlantic Musical Partnership, discussed The Gramophone Played – my ongoing project with cellist Madeleine Shapiro – and the ways in which the heavily technologically mediated aspect of our collaboration (we have met in person only once in the eleven years we have been working together) has affected the ways in which we have worked on the music and, indeed, is reflected in the music we have produced. I should actually have used the phrase ‘our paper’ because Madeleine contributed significantly to the content in the shape of audio reflections on our joint work that I was able to integrate and respond to; she also joined delegates and myself for a live Zoom Q&A from New York.