Music in Society—Webinar 4

Friday 24 March, 2023 | 4.00-5.00 pm

Ethnomusicology and Entanglement in Lihir, Papua New Guinea

Dr Kirsty Gillespie

Research Fellow, College of Asia & the Pacific

The Australian National University


In November 2022 Jonathan P.J. Stock and Beverley Diamond published their edited volume, The Routledge Companion to Ethics and Research in Ethnomusicology. Due to her long-standing engagement with the mining sector in Papua New Guinea, Kirsty Gillespie was invited to contribute a chapter addressing the ethical challenges she faced in her music research. In this seminar, Kirsty outlines this complex relationship and these challenges, drawing on her chapter for the Routledge volume and sharing experiences from her most recent visit to the Lihir Islands prior to the pandemic. Her paper reflects broadly on the ethical dilemmas faced by those working in cross-cultural research contexts, and on how we manage our research lives in changing times.

Kirsty Gillespie Lihir Island

The official book launch of Pil: Ancestral Stories of the Lihir Islands by Dr Kirsty Gillespie (2018). Photo credit: Artem Golev


Kirsty Gillespie 
Dr Kirsty Gillespie received her PhD from the Australian National University (ANU) in 2008 for her research on the music of the Duna people of Papua New Guinea (PNG). She is the author of a number of books, chapter and articles on PNG music and culture, including Steep Slopes: Music and Change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (ANU ePress, 2010) and Pil: Ancestral Stories of the Lihir Islands (Institute of PNG Studies, 2018). Kirsty has held academic positions with the University of Queensland, James Cook University and the Queensland Museum. She is currently a research fellow at the Australian National University, working on Pacific creole languages.
Don Niles a Dr Don Niles is presently assistant director of the Music Division at the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies. He researches and publishes on many types of music and dance in Papua New Guinea, including traditional, popular, and Christian forms. He is currently a vice president of the International Council for Traditional Music and former editor of its journal, the Yearbook for Traditional Music. Don is also honorary associate professor at the Australian National University. In 2016, he was honoured to be invested as an officer in Papua New Guinea’s Order of Logohu.

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