Addressing Differential Outcomes for Ethnically Diverse Learners Working Group

  • Date


  • Time

      2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The next meeting of our working group will feature a workshop.

Workshop Title: ‘Diversifying musicology via a student co-created curriculum’ Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, Lecturer in Historical Musicology, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

21st September 2023, 14.00 – 15.30 (online via MS Teams)

The NEON Working Group to Address Differential Outcomes for Diverse Learners serves to provide a space for addressing the challenges of establishing better outcomes for ethnically diverse learners in Higher Education and will be exploring innovative approaches to developing good practice in this area by way of practical discussions, research/case study analysis, and peer support.

2.00-2.10 Welcome and Introductions (Karen Lipsedge, Kingston University, Chair)


2.10-2.40pm: Workshop Presentation ‘Diversifying musicology via a student co-created curriculum’ Brianna Robertson-Kirkland (Lecturer in Historical Musicology, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

Workshop Summary:

Diversifying the music curriculum has been an important but divisive subject for the past three decades. Susan McClary’s seminal book Feminine Endings (1991) was heavily criticised for daring to consider how gendered biases affected both the construction of music history and the analysis of classical music repertoire. Marcia Citron faced similar criticism after publishing her book Gender and the Musical Canon (1993), which critically questioned the obsession with the white, male, Western European composer. Discussions have become even more inflamed in the last five years, concerning decolonising the music curriculum. In a conservatoire setting, discussions are not merely academic debate nor are they confined to the university lecture hall or classroom. Every choice a music student makes regarding the repertoire they learn, programme, play, and recommend to others reflects their background, their knowledge, and even their politics. While conservatoire training is traditionally modelled on a master-apprentice approach, where the teacher is largely responsible for what a student learns in their lessons and classes, Brianna has adopted a very different approach.

This workshop will highlight the methods Brianna has adopted in enabling students the chance to co-create class content. Throughout the workshop, Brianna will discuss the way in which class content had previously been devised at the RCS, how she has introduced a new approach to exploring music history to first- and second-year students, and how this approach then enables the students to take more of a leadership role in identifying topics they want to explore in the third and fourth year of their studies. Such an approach has given both the students, and me (as the lecturer) the opportunity to explore areas of music history that we might have otherwise ignored had they not been active co-creators.


2.40-3.00 Breakout groups

The breakout session provides colleagues with the opportunity to come together to discuss the project and how they could incorporate and develop the strategies provided at their institution. In your discussions, please consider the following topics:

  • In what ways do you think it is useful to engage students as co-creators?
  • How would you give students the opportunity to co-create class content?
  • What top tips will you take with you to share/disseminate with your networks?


3.00-3.15pm: Feedback and Q&A

3.15-3.30pm: AOB and next meeting