PROJECT FAUST EXPOSED Sally Blackwood Honours Project UNSW ©Leilah Schubert

PROJECT FAUST EXPOSED Sally Blackwood Honours Project UNSW ©Leilah Schubert


Academic speaking & writing engagements

ABSTRACT: The field of opera is as multifaceted as the artform itself, replete with contradictions, boundaries and historical baggage. Various systemic issues, concerns or ‘blocks’, which I argue are impeding opera’s evolution in Australia, are a complex and entrenched multiplicity of ‘values, judgements and hierarchies’ (Constable, Rubasingham, Morris, & Yende, 2021). They manifest as issues of safety and wellbeing, gender representation, equal access and cultural care, and are perpetuated through the existing power structures of the operatic field and their agents in the maintenance of exclusionary practices, disabling behaviours and silencing of diverse voices. The ‘change’ that is needed in the business of opera is structural change at its core. It is not merely an alteration to one annual program or season, a temporary redirection of funds or one ‘culturally diverse’ production; it is all of this and more on a permanent basis. While improvement in gender equity and diversity in opera content is important, it is equally (if not more) critical to implement systemic change across the values, hierarchies, actions, rules and assumptions of operatic production and consumption. I employ the ‘Opera Dynamic’ — a synthesis of Field Theory (Bourdieu, 1984a, 1998), Power Theory (Lukes, 1974, 2005) and the ‘Power Cube’ (Gaventa, 2006, 2007) — to unpack the current state of play and shifting power structures within operatic cultural production in Australia. This examination reveals power, economics, values and Bourdieusian capital. I question the status quo of opera leadership and power structures in their ability to face the sticky areas of access, gender equity and diversity.
Thursday 25 August 2022

Telling Stories Performers (‘) Present International Artistic Research Symposium
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore
Title: Practice-based research exploring Stateless Odyssey – a new hybrid operatic work-in-development co-created by Sally Blackwood (opera architect), Lawrence English (composer) and Vanessa Tomlinson (composer), commissioned by Bleach The Gold Coast Festival.
23-26 October 2019

Theatre and Internationalisation & Barrie Kosky: Past Present and Future
The Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts,
Macquarie University, in co-operation with the Goethe-Institut
PAPER: Collaborative Auteurship: international cross disciplinary collaborations and situated
practice-based research with Sasha Waltz & Guests and Sally Blackwood
26-27 April 2019

NOW 2019 New Opera Workshop
Opera Symposium – Opera Queensland and Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University
5-7 April 2019

Through the Looking Glass – 41st MSA Conference
Musicology Society of Australia, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts,
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
PAPER: Project Faust opera/ballet: A critical analysis of the auteur creation
Award Winner: 3rd Prize Best Postgraduate Paper 2018 Awards

Outstanding presentation and engagement with audience. Deeply engaging topic around creative practice work.

6-9 December 2018

Discovering Don Giovanni Opera Symposium
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
PAPER: Me and Don: It’s a personal thing
Tuesday 25 September 2018

Opera Studies Day
New Zealand School of Music, Te Kōkī, Victoria, University of Wellington
PAPER: A critical analysis of the auteur creation of Project Faust opera/ballet
Saturday 14 July 2018

Graduate Research Symposium, Musicology Colloquium Series
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
RESEARCH: A critical analysis of the auteur creation of Project Faust opera/ballet
Friday 18 May 2018

Creative Work Project #2 as part of my Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
RESEARCH: A critical analysis of the auteur creation of Project Faust opera/ballet
Wednesday 18 April 2018

Best Practice in Artistic Research in Music Symposium
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
#voxpopera a performance presentation of practice-based-research-in-action, and poster presentation talk.
27-29 September 2017

Women in the Creative Arts inaugural conference
The School of Music, Australian National University Canberra
10-12 August 2017