The Visibility of Breathing
: Flute Performance Practice, Collaborative Composition, Performance Art, And Resilience

  • Kathryn Williams

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This body of practice-based performance and collaborative composition research consists of the documentation of four substantial creative projects alongside a contextual and critical commentary. This research contributes to a growing area of scholarship that engages hybrid music practice and, as such, provides vital case studies to better understand entangled ‘performer’ roles of interpreter, advisor, improviser, deviser, curator, and co-composer. The creative work is positioned simultaneously within performance art and concert music paradigms, to provide new knowledge in conceptual work situated within a diverse, music-focused, artistic practice. The research considers the performer’s body, including its abilities and limitations, as a catalyst and starting material for new creative work, and in doing so provides new knowledge on the relationship between breathing, air, the environment, and flute performance and composition practice. By further situating this creative work within specific examples of physical and social trauma, the work maps and draws parallels between an evolving creative musical practice and a personal trajectory towards overcoming and developing resilience. Within this, the work and accompanying commentary serve as a critical examination of issues including: music and ableism; music performance practice and female body image; music-making as self-improvement; and complex artistic collaborative relationships in which the focus is the performing body, trauma, and resilience.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJulian Thomas (Co-Supervisor) & Aaron Cassidy (Co-Supervisor)

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