European Association for Music in Schools

DSF 2013 Report

Our third Doctoral Student Forum (DSF) was held in Leuven from February 12th to 14th, coinciding with the 21st EAS conference. Once again, a strong field of applications came from higher education institutions from Europe and beyond, and we accepted nine doctoral students on the three day programme. These came from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

The DSF is planned over three days. It opens with an introductory session at which each participant is asked to make a short oral presentation to the group. We have found this to be an ideal starter activity. Not only does it act as an ice-breaker but it also is a useful way for participants to get a sense of the topics of others and to begin the process of questioning and discussion of their own work and the work of others. Themes of common interest began to emerge at the end of this first day, and we continued our discussion and exchange of ideas with each other over dinner.

On Wednesday, the focus was on the posters prepared by each participant. We timetable this so that, during the day, everyone gets time dedicated to their topic. We work together to tease out the key issues identified by each researcher in the poster presentation. As in previous years, the peer discussion and feedback led us to new perspectives which were possible only within this unique international and intercultural context. We found new ways to critique the terminology used in music education research and to address the ethical issues involved in data collection and analysis. Throughout, our emphasis was on looking for clarity in the way in which the academic process works in doctoral research and in exploring approaches to fieldwork and data collection which are rigorous and robust.

A session on ‘How to publish your research in journals’ was presented by Sarah Hennessy, Editor of Music Education Research.

Thursday morning was devoted to ‘next steps’ – finding ways ahead – and the forum ended with a poster session within the main conference programme. This provided participants with an opportunity to discuss their work with delegates attending the conference.

It was very pleasing too, to see participants from previous DSF returning to EAS conference in Leuven as delegates and we are working to keep in touch with the participants from all of our DSF events.

Feedback from the participants 

‘New perspectives and thoughts on what actually matters, on what is important in my research’.

‘It helped me to meet people who are having similar research issues as those I am having’

Constructive positive feedback ….very positive and helpful experience… fruitful open discussions…

Friendly atmosphere

The Doctoral Student Forum (DSF) is aimed at experienced practitioners in the field of music education as well as those involved as early career research students. Held over three days, it begins prior to the annual conference and ends with a poster session scheduled within the main conference programme. This provides participants with an opportunity to discuss their work with delegates attending the conference. The DSF team: Mary Stakelum and Thade Buchborn.

Application forms are available on the conference website. The next forum will take place in Nicosia during the EAS 2014. Details can be found on the eas website

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