Publication Details

Gibbs, L., Williams, K., Hamylton, S. & Ihlein, L. "'Rock the Boat': song-writing as geographical practice." Cultural Geographies online first (2019): 1-5.


Climate change science is unequivocal on the link between fossil fuels and climate change. Yet, some governments - including those in Australia - fail to meet agreed targets and continue to invest in the coal industry. Scientists and other scholars have expressed concern that the science is not prompting shifts in policy adequate to address current and future effects of climate change. Many have called for other tools - specifically, the arts and social sciences - to investigate and communicate about the environmental and social changes underway. In this context, this article explores the potential of interdisciplinary collaborative song-writing as research practice. Beginning on a boat on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the research team adopted singing and song-writing as a method for coming together to reflect upon our research aims and motivations, to explore and express the delight and grief we were experiencing in this climate-changing land and seascape and potentially to reach new audiences and create different affects. Our multidisciplinary expertise offered impetus to pursue a hybrid form: an original song written, professionally recorded and vinyl pressed; scholarly notes to expand on our song lyrics; visual presentation of our music as annotated score; and written reflections on the process and its contribution to knowledge. Here, we present and explore the possibilities of song-writing as creative geographical practice.



Link to publisher version (DOI)