29 November 2022
Photo: Femke Opper
For the discussion series Zukunftsmusik, Andreas Möllenkamp brought together researchers, musicians, and music teachers to discuss his doctoral thesis on digitalization in music making. The project was financed through the Hamburg Research Academy support fund for research communication.
How did you come up with the idea for this project?
I have done many interviews with musicians in my research, but I have rarely managed to follow up discussions even though I tried to keep my discussion partners up to speed, for example, via my publications. Nonetheless, I wanted to talk to the people directly affected by my dissertation topic and to contribute my findings, for example, to help practitioners reflect upon their own artistic strategies. So together with Sabine Maasen and the team linked to the professorship for scientific and innovation research, we developed a format for dialogue-oriented knowledge exchange with the goal of dismantling possible hurdles to good communication. Basically, we met the target group on their turf, at the Operation Ton conference. We gave a workshop there with a discussion and an interactive exhibition.
How did the discussion go, and who took part?
In addition to our team, there were 3 experts and roughly 20 other participants. Originally, we wanted to create 3 small groups for specific topics, but thanks to the terrific exchange in the group, we spontaneously decided to stick with the larger round and then walked through the 3 rooms of the interactive exhibition. What was exciting was how the individual interpretations of the topic differed from and informed one another—also because people came together here who normally would not have met. It was also helpful that we did not have any specific goal beyond just a good discussion. Following the successful first event, we now want to continue the series with the Digital Futures Dialogue series.
How did the funding help?
The funding was very helpful in allowing us to just try out the project idea. In contrast to other funding applications, this application was really simple and accessible so that the path from the idea to its realization was very short.
What advice would you give other researchers who wish to organize a discussion?
Actually, it is just like doing research: it depends on precisely identifying your own topic and the research question. It is the same in research communication: the more concrete the line of inquiry and the target group, the easier it is to inspire good discussion.
And it is worth just trying it out. Thanks to the exchange, I now understand much better how musicians tick. You can learn a lot and have a lot of fun at this kind of discussion. You can also reflect anew upon your research, and I found that very motivating—so just do it!