Dr Reuben Brown (PhD Ethnomusicology, University of Sydney) is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, and a Research Affiliate with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.
Reuben has collaborated with Indigenous Australian ceremony leaders and artists as well as anthropologists, linguists, historians and musicologists to document living song traditions such as kun-borrk/manyardi, wangga, thabi and junba from the north of Australia, and to support the vitality and revitalisation of Indigenous Australian song more broadly.
Reuben's research interests include:
- Performance ethnography as a way of understanding intercultural encounter
- Repatriation studies and the re-use of archival recordings in performance and the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous knowledge
- The role of performance as a site for social and political change
- The relationship between language and song
- The relationship between musical differentiation and clan identities in Arnhem Land
- Comparative musical analysis of Indigenous Australian song
- The role of digital environments to support Indigenous ways of holding and practicing their performance traditions
For his PhD thesis titled: ‘Following footsteps: the kun-borrk/manyardi song tradition and its role in western Arnhem Land society’, Reuben collaborated with ceremony leaders from the communities of Gunbalanya and Warruwi in the Northern Territory to return archival recordings from the 1948 American Australian Expedition to Arnhem Land, and document 15 contemporary song repertories from the Top End region, analysing their significance as part of funeral and reburial ceremonies, exchange ceremonies, cultural festivals, and informal events involving visitors.
Reuben’s research for the ARC project ‘Hearing Histories of the Western Pilbara’ also involves playing back digital collections of archival recordings of thabi songs to custodians living in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and documenting local Indigenous understandings of these songs in their own languages and social and historical context.
Reuben lectures on Indigenous Australian song with Wilin Centre colleague Tiriki Onus, and collaborates with linguists and musicologists affiliated with the Centre of Excellence in the Dynamics of Language on research into western Arnhem Land language and song. Reuben continues to learn Kunwinjku and Mawng, and has been invited to perform kun-borrk/manyardi, wangga and junba with singers from western Arnhem Land as part of Mamurrng (exchange ceremonies) in the Top End, and in conference settings where he has co-presented with collaborators on aspects of Indigenous Australian song.
Find out more about Reuben Brown's experience
Reuben Brown's highlights
Reuben Brown's selected work
Diplomacies of Practice: Workshop-on-Country and Symposium and Sharing of Indigenous Cultu..
Curated Exhibition, Event or Festival
Dialogues with the Archives: Arrarrkpi Responses to Recordings as Part of the Living Song ..
Displaying the 2 most recent projects by Reuben Brown.
Internal Research Grant
Displaying the 9 most recent scholarly works by Reuben Brown.
Diplomacies of Practice: Workshop-on-Country and Symposium and Sharing of Indigenous Cultural Practice
Sally Treloyn, Tiriki Onus, Reuben Brown, Jodie Seiuli, Megan McPherson, Lou Bennett, James Howard, Nicole Paul, Mick Harding, David Manmurulu, Jenny Manmurulu, Rupert Manmurulu, Jamie Milpurr, Patrick Churnside, Folau Umbagai, John Divilli, Pete O'Connor, Rona Charles, Lloyd Nulgit, Donna Blackall
Curated Exhibition, Event or Festival | 2018
Dialogues with the Archives: Arrarrkpi Responses to Recordings as Part of the Living Song Tradition of Manyardi
Reuben Brown, David Manmurulu, Jennu Manmurulu, Isabel O'Keeffe
Journal article | 2018 | Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture
This article explores the role of legacy recordings of song for a family of Arrarrkpi (Mawng-speaking people), who are contemporar..
Relational Returns: Relationships and the Repatriation of Legacy Song Recordings in Australia
R Brown, S Treloyn
Journal article | 2017 | University of Melbourne Collections
In this article we focus on how repatriation is perceived, enacted and understood by custodians of living performance traditions i..
Displaying the most recent news article by Reuben Brown.
Honours, Awards and Fellowships
William McIlrath Memorial Scholarship
ARC DP1096897 Postgraduate scholarship
Postdoctoral Fellow (Ethnomusicology)
Fine Arts And Music
Member, Ictm Study Group On Music And Dance Of Oceania
International Council for Traditional Music
University of Sydney
University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
Diploma of Modern Languages (German)
University of Melbourne