Huddled around a table, in the intimate setting of Room C143 at the Tait Building, four students from four different universities spearheaded the first meeting of the Society for Music Analysis (SMA) Postgraduate Writing Club. It was hosted on 1st December, 2012 by Dr Shay Loya on behalf of the Centre for Music Studies at City University London. The organizer was Kirstie Hewlett, a postgraduate student from the University of Southampton, and the idea behind her initiative was simple enough: to form an analysis-centred study group, comprised of postgraduate students from around the country, which will gather periodically to discuss at length extracts from dissertations or complete papers . This first meeting was specifically designed as a ‘dry run’ for the RMA conference this January. And so Becky Thumpston (Keele University), Olga Sologub (University of Manchester) and Jun Zubillaga-Pow (Kings College London), presented one after the other papers that were still in-progress though at an advanced, nearly finished stage. This gave each one of them an opportunity to focus on the delivery. A frank exchange of views about the more memorable as well as problematic aspects of each paper followed. Talking points ranged from pitching the paper to the target audience to the relationship between theory and analysis. (To save time and allow more discussion, Hewlett graciously withdrew her paper.)
One of the admirable qualities of this group is their self-sufficiency. They have corresponded about their research independently of supervision, and have invested their own time and money on a Saturday morning to discuss it in depth. It was an initiative worthy of the Centre for Music Studies’ support.