PHD FIELDWORK

My PhD fieldwork engages the social worlds of Shetlanders through active personal participation in the local music scene. I explore how locals articulate personal and social perspectives on the distinctiveness of Shetland’s music scene by reflecting on their own social experiences. The spree is explored ethnographically as the key local practice that manifests the principles of an epistemological tradition – a way of knowing and being that is shared across multiple generations.

PhD Thesis

SPREE: Shetland’s Epistemological Tradition of Music Making

THE SPREE

I explore the evidence for existing interconnected epistemological principles, including horizontality (supporting people of all ages, genders, socioeconomic classes, cultural backgrounds and musical skill level), interpersonal and intergenerational knowledge, resourcefulness and nuance of character appreciation. Individuals know, describe and manifest these principles in their own characteristic, personal and changing ways. The appreciation of individual idiosyncrasies, life stories and skills in Shetland is not necessarily aligned with a model of competitive individualism of neoliberal capitalism, but with a local principle of equality and horizontality, founded on spree practices.

Original Blog with Ethnographic Materials

SPREE: Shetland’s Epistemological Tradition of Music Making

AN EPISTEMOLOGICAL TRADITION

Based on open principles, this epistemological tradition supports engagement with past, current and novel forms of musical expression, remaining open to outside influences. As a fluid, living form, understanding it requires a leap beyond static models of tradition that seek the preservation of idealised authentic forms, canonical-aesthetic orthodoxies, and social boundaries. The spree remains stable and resilient as a principled way of being, providing a model for interactions with locals and outsiders, and affording the growth of a closely-knit social support network.

SHETLAND MUSIC PLAYLIST

SPOOT HAWK

During my time in Shetland, I played in various original music projects, and performed on stages around the islands.

I was stoked when Ewan Nowak invited me to be part of this band as a bass player. It included Arthur Nicholson on guitar, Joe Watt on lead vocals, and Lewis Murray on drums.

With Spoot Hawk, we eventually into the studio at Mareel and recorded an album. You can listen to it on Spotify.

POSTS FEATURING SHETLAND ON THIS WEBSITE

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