Kirsty Gillespie

is senior curator (anthropology) at the Museum of Tropical Queensland and a member of staff at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. She received her PhD from The Australian National University in 2008 for research into the music of the Duna people of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Kirsty is the author of Steep Slopes: Music and Change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (ANU E Press, 2010) amongst other publications. Since 2007 Kirsty has worked with the people of the Lihir Island Group, PNG, on a cultural heritage programme as they experience large-scale gold mining. In 2013 she co-curated the exhibition Musical Landscapes of Lihir at the University of Queensland (UQ) Anthropology Museum. Kirsty is also an honorary fellow at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, UQ.

orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5337-4370

A Distinctive Voice in the Antipodes »

Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Wild

This volume of essays honours the life and work of Stephen A. Wild, one of Australia’s leading ethnomusicologists. Born in Western Australia, Wild studied at Indiana University in the USA before returning to Australia to pursue a lifelong career with Indigenous Australian music. As researcher, teacher, and administrator, Wild’s work has impacted generations of scholars around the world, leading him to be described as ‘a great facilitator and a scholar who serves humanity through music’ by Andrée Grau, Professor of the Anthropology of Dance at University of Roehampton, London. Focusing on the music of Aboriginal Australia and the Pacific Islands, and the concerns of archiving and academia, the essays within are authored by peers, colleagues, and former students of Wild. Most of the authors are members of the Study Group on Music and Dance of Oceania of the International Council for Traditional Music, an organisation that has also played an important role in Wild’s life and development as a scholar of international standing. Ranging in scope from the musicological to the anthropological—from technical musical analyses to observations of the sociocultural context of music—these essays reflect not only on the varied and cross-disciplinary nature of Wild’s work, but on the many facets of ethnomusicology today.

Steep Slopes »

Music and change in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Authored by: Kirsty Gillespie
The Duna live in a physical environment of steep slopes that are sometimes difficult to traverse. A stick of bamboo used as a prop goes a long way in assisting a struggling traveller. Similarly, the Duna live in a social and cultural environment of steep slopes, where the path on which they walk can be precarious and unpredictable. Songs, like the stick of bamboo, assist the Duna in picking their way over this terrain by providing a forum for them to process change as it is experienced, in relation to what is already known. This book is a musical ethnography of the Duna people of Papua New Guinea. A people who have experienced extraordinary social change in recent history, their musical traditions have also radically changed during this time. New forms of music have been introduced, while ancestral traditions have been altered or even abandoned. This study shows how, through musical creativity, Duna people maintain a connection with their past, and their identity, whilst simultaneously embracing the challenges of the present.