Dr Georgia Pike wins National Library of Australia Research Fellowship in 2020
Supported in memory of Averill Edwards, Dr Georgia Pike has won a National Library of Australia Research Fellowship in 2020, for a project entitled 'Since Ma’s Gone Mad on Community Singing’: community singing in interwar Australia. Postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, the fellowship will see Georgia engage with the NLA's extensive archives for a three-month full-time residency. As a result of her residency Georgia will present a participatory lecture and concert engaging audiences in a recreation of an interwar community singing event. The project's title is borrowed from the 1930 song of the same name by Australian composer Jack Lumsdaine.
Australia is currently witnessing a resurgence of interest in community music making. Of particular interest are intergenerational practices that enhance wellbeing, and support healthy ageing and ongoing social engagement. Community choirs and ukulele groups are now becoming ubiquitous across Australia. Yet Australia has a rich and largely forgotten history of vibrant community singing practice, distinct from the performance-based choral groups of today. Before the rise of community choirs in the 1950s, ‘community singing’ was a phenomenon to be found across Australia, with community singing societies to be found in Adelaide and Ballarat, and radio broadcasts of large-scale community singing sessions in Sydney and Melbourne. This project seeks to shed light on this vibrant and under-studied era of Australian cultural history, and to support the engagement and re-flourishing of community singing today.