Australian and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : LP120100685
In 2009, the music composition department at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Perth organisation Tura New Music embarked upon a project to develop and establish the Western Australian New Music Archive (WANMA), a digital repository and interface of new music by Western Australian composers from 1970 to the current day. The project seeks to discover, collect, collate, digitise, store and disseminate music recordings, video documentation, scores and other evidence surrounding Western Australian new music. WANMA is now a funded Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage research project involving collaboration between the State Library of Western Australia, WAAPA, Tura New Music, the National Library of Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This paper discusses the background of WANMA, and the relevance of the digitisation agenda to the development of pilot projects which have informed the current approach to the construction of the archive. It uses the concept of a community of practice to locate connections between musicians and other artists involved in new music creation and production, and the artworks they produce. It notes the influence of non-verbal communication in cementing links between participants in a community of practice and includes among such communicative events the roles of audience member and participant in the artistic endeavours of others. The important performative element of the project is also discussed, as a way of projecting and integrating the archive into the present and the future. Although WANMA is in its early days and is not yet publicly accessible, it has already raised a range of issues around copyright and definitions of relevance beyond the remit of this project. Such matters require active collaboration and communication to establish acceptable parameters for an actively searchable archive which can be interrogated along a range of dimensions: from the locale of the performance to the birthplace of the composer. New music is a complex and evolving artform and WANMA recognises and celebrates this fact.