How Music Teachers, within a Further Educational Institution, Interpret and Mobilise Notions of Creativity within their Pedagogy

  • James Kirkham

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research project aims to understand how music teachers within a further educational institution interpret creativity. As creativity is often considered contested territory within academic discourse, particularly regarding music education, it was acknowledged that additional, empirical, research was needed in order to further an understanding of creativity within this context. The importance of this is further reinforced when one considers the recent educational impact of Covid-19. For instance, as academic work regarding how teachers interpret and mobilise notions of creativity within an online space is an emerging literature, this research makes a contribution to knowledge in examining the construction and mobilisation of creativity within an online space during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In acknowledging the contested nature of creativity, this research is presupposing social constructionism as an appropriate theoretical framework. Specifically, in drawing upon the work of Searle, this research has found that music teachers—in establishing ‘institutional facts’ of the type (X) a particular musical act constitutes (Y) creativity—manifest an ‘institution of musical creativity’ in relation to their pedagogic practice. Further, as these institutions are influenced by the ‘musical context’ of a particular session, the ‘educational, musical and professional backgrounds’ of the teacher and the ‘external influence’ of Microsoft Teams, these ‘institutions of musical creativity’ are largely unique to each participant. Therefore, the results of this study contribute towards furthering an understanding of creativity in relation to music teaching, specifically regarding online learning, in addition to problematising the current status of creativity within music curricula. In a similar way, this research also contributes to both the social constructionist literature—specifically that concerned with musical creativity—in addition to the above-mentioned literature focusing on music education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, in employing Searle’s theory of institutionalisation, and revising Searle’s formula for the purpose of data analysis, this research is developing Searle by applying the notion of institutionalisation to new territory—creativity within music education— and so furthering the institutional argument.
Date of Award10 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJim Reid (Main Supervisor) & James Avis (Co-Supervisor)

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