Dr Georgia Pike is a practitioner and researcher focussed on the uses of the arts to improve and enhance the potential of human individuals and society. A singer, educator, community outreach facilitator and transdisciplinary researcher, she is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Research in Ageing, Health and Wellbeing at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. Until mid-2018 she was the Convenor of the ANU Music Engagement Program.
Georgia began her musical training at age 4 in what was originally called the Music Education Program, an elite training program for children based at the Canberra School of Music. Georgia trained in music theory, voice and harp, until, like so many others, she eventually gave up all music making by the age of 14. Her final years of high school shied away completely from the creative arts, instead focussing on languages including Chinese, Japanese and English studies.
At age 17 Georgia finally was helped to overcome her lack of music making by spending a year in New York training in voice with Susan Burghardt Diamond and Claire Alexander (former voice coach to Frank Sinatra) and studying outreach arts methods at the Institute of Music and Health with founder Dr John Diamond (2002). The outreach approaches she learned helped her to regain confidence and gave her a purpose and intent with which to use her creative skills to help others.
Upon returning to Australia, Georgia became heavily involved in theatre and film, starring in stage shows and short films over the next decade. Most notably, in 2008 Georgia received the Best Actress (Leading Role in a Musical) Award at the Canberra Area Theatre Awards and a Canberra Critics Circle Award for her performance in the title role of Thoroughly Modern Millie with Canberra Philharmonic Society. She also won the Helen Wilson Memorial Award for Best Comedic Performance for her portrayal of Miss Mable Chiltern in An Ideal Husband with Canberra Repertory Society.
Throughout this period of performing Georgia completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Law and Classics at the ANU (2006), falling in love with studies of Ancient Greece in particular under the tutelage of Prof. Elizabeth Minchin. Georgia also worked at this time as a live-in carer for a woman who had suffered brain damage as a child, and through this experience Georgia came into contact again with the music program of her childhood. Assoc. Prof. Susan West, the founder of the progam, had since adapted outreach philosophies to the school system, including passing on ideas and resources to teachers and communities within the Australian Capital Territory. Georgia was astonished by the enthusiasm and lack of fear displayed by the children of the newly developed outreach program, so starkly contrasted to her memories of strict instruction. This inspired her to complete a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education through Monash University (2009) majoring in the subjects of History and Studies of Society and Environment.
Georgia subsequently became a full-time employee of the Music Engagement Program, eventually becoming Convenor in 2011. She completed her doctoral thesis in September 2016, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. West and Prof. Minchin at ANU. Her thesis developed a transdisciplinary framework encompassing history, ancient world studies, etymology, pedagogy, philosophy, and the origins of music in human society, for application to the everyday practice of music in classrooms and communities. Her research is currently focussed on the use of outreach philosophies to overcome 'stage-fright' and anxiety in performers as well as in the general public.
Georgia has presented at International conferences across Europe, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. One such presentation resulted in the Program’s inclusion in the United Nations Compendium of Music as a Natural Resource (2013 and 2015), which is made available to members of the UN General Assembly. Georgia visits up to ten schools and community groups every week, including preschools, primary schools and secondary schools, introductory English centres, nursing homes, and schools for children with disabilities. She coordinates and hosts the Program’s ‘Big Gig’ outreach concerts engaging thousands of children and community members in communal music making. In 2016 Georgia was presented with a Children's Week Award by the Governor General of Australia for her work with Cranleigh School, a specialist school for children living with significant disabilities.