graduate students reach out to peers
By Jane Ford
students often feel isolated from colleagues in their departments
and their schools. Contact with peers at other institutions is
usually confined to chance meetings at national conferences.
such a chance meeting last year, at the American Musicology Societys
national meeting in Columbus, Ohio, music graduate students from
Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and U.Va.
explored ways to come together to exchange ideas.
result was the creation of the South Central Music Consortium.
On Sept. 12 and 13, more than 35 students from the three schools
gathered for the groups first meeting, hosted by the U.Va.
members. The weekend included opportunities to read papers and
freely exchange ideas, as well as an informal social get-together,
roundtable discussions and a guest speaker.
members Mary Simonson and David Cosper of U.Va. and Joyce Kurpiers
of Duke agreed that the benefits of sharing ideas and fellowship
among the schools is empowering to the students.
is a student-oriented event, an opportunity to present work in
a student environment, without faculty involvement, Kurpiers
added that the goal was to provide a way to ease into the professional
academic life of presenting papers and to expose others to the
strengths of each schools department.
Hudson, chairwoman of the McIntire Department of Music, praised
the collaboration. It is important now, for the intellectual
life of the graduate students and for the future, in terms of
their professional life, she said.
added, Its a small field. These people will be our
[academic] colleagues in the future.
main focus of the collaboration is to provide a forum for experimentation,
lecture demonstrations, presenting papers and trying out presentation
Meacham, who earned a masters in musicology at UNC in the
spring and is now working toward a masters in folklore,
tendered an expansion of his masters thesis he is preparing
for an article.
appreciated the feedback he received. It was a very supportive
atmosphere. Its a diverse group in terms of interest and
expertise. People brought up interesting ideas, weaknesses or
things that could be expanded. Everyone provided valuable insights,
said the diversity of perspectives is a plus. The departments
have different academic approaches, and the kinds of music they
study are different. This is a great opportunity for a cross-pollination
Duke doctoral student Lily Hirsch will be attending her first
national conference in October. She will read a paper at the Society
of Ethnomusicology Conference in Miami.
she said she is scared about undertaking the upcoming presentation,
she praised the opportunity for a trial run in a supportive, low-key
Its just friends getting together to talk about what
they love, she said.