Wednesday the 5th of June was a special occasion for the honours cohort. We gathered together at c.e.r.e.s in brunswick for an intensive research day and some FANTASTIC food (not to mention the lovely lattes). The antipasto platter was particularly divine. The surroundings at c.e.r.e.s were pleasant, with a quaint fresh produce market nearby, psychedelic clothes hanging out in the drizzle, a crisp breeze and some clucky little chooks roaming about the place.

Falling smack bang in the middle of a heavy assessment period, the timing of this outing seemed inopportune for some – however this didn’t stop everyone from putting in a big effort and delivering some brilliant presentations. Each student had the limelight for 5 minutes and used the opportunity to offer the rest of the student body an outline of what they were going to be working on for the remainder of their honours year, and the research background they were coming from.

I had been nervous about taking the podium for my presentation, but was grateful to have been able to do a dummy run in the conference room with Ed, Ben and Steve the day before. I think this helped each of us out, allowing us to identify the information that was important to retain given the short length of the talk, and what didn’t really need to be there. From the first draft of my presentation to what I eventually ended up displaying on the slides, there was a world of difference. This proved to be a valuable exercise in the power of simplicity.. I’m aware that I have a tendency to overcomplicate things at the best of times, so I feel relieved that I was able to communicate my message in the 5 minute time frame.

One of the most useful things to come out of the research day was the feedback we gave to each other. The feedback rubric was simple and relevant, and the piles we all came home with undoubtedly contained some good ideas and advice worth taking into account moving forward.

Some of the main things that I will take into account from now onwards are:

– Lateral thinking and any broader media theory that can be applied. Ie – ‘concept’ in other forms of media, Also multi-platform marketing?
– Proving my hypothesis.. Should the success of a concept album be measured critically, culturally or financially?
– What is the best way to construct my case studies?
– Who I can get in touch with to obtain further information/guidance? (Shelley Brunt and Geoff King were suggested.)
– Settling on my key theorists and starting to apply their work.
– Performative/creative identity: has it been lost?
– Clear definition of concept album? The question was asked, ‘Aren’t all albums concept albums in some way?’
– Implications of the iTunes digital LP.. How does it change/provide opportunities for the concept album?
– Look into: boards of canada, the incarceration of strickland banks.

Ultimately, while our writing hands started to cramp up a bit towards the end of the day and the Kleos in the room even indulged in a little kip on their table – all was well and rosy after a quick beer at the pub down the road. 3 major milestones done – now there’s two to go! See you on the other side!!

About simonwoodhonours

Simon Wood (Honours in Media and Communication) is an RMIT student whose specialist discipline is in the 'contemporary music industry'. For his honours study in 2013, Simon will be researching the ‘concept album’, and its significance within the contemporary music industry.
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