Editorial – Fostering Creativity and Collaboration

Alison Talmage

May Bee Choo Clulee
Assistant Editor


Tēnā koutou katoa. Welcome to this 2020 issue of NZJMT.


What a year! It is an understatement to say that 2020 has challenged us all in both our personal and professional lives. For me, this has highlighted more than ever my appreciation of collaboration and collegiality. While this is foregrounded in an extended article in response to the pandemic, these values also underpin the journal. Publishing is always a team effort, and (like the lockdown) requires planning, patience, resilience, and creativity.


I agree. The many worldwide events of the last 12 months have challenged and stretched entire communities, and our music therapy community has not been immune. The tragedies that led to the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement resulted in collective soul-searching across the wider music therapy community. It is the start of a long, but necessary journey to acknowledge and dismantle issues of discrimination, systemic injustice, and racism. When lockdown drove the country to a standstill, the impact was deeply felt across education, health, and social services: the areas in which music therapists work. What has been most heartening to both experience and witness, is the creativity, collaboration and resilience that has developed across the board within our profession, as we individually and collectively grappled with all that COVID-19 brought. Some of these stories are shared within the pages of this year’s journal.


The “Community Voices” section of this issue of the journal has special significance. The collaborative article, “Music Therapy in a Time of Pandemic”, has foregrounded the sociocultural context of music therapy practice and the need for flexible, responsive, ecological approaches. However, all articles in this issue emphasise the context of professional practice. This writing resonates with the international literature, but I wonder what it also says about our values and eclecticism in bicultural, multicultural, 21st
century Aotearoa New Zealand?


A great question! We have had many conversations as an editorial team about how the journal needs to not only represent the current length and breadth of New Zealand music therapy practice, but also reflect the values of our bicultural identity as a nation and the various communities represented. Our vision parallels that of a therapeutic space – a safe and nurturing venue to share ideas. I believe we are a work in progress, but we are slowly moving towards this vision. To this end we have organised a series of journal development days, inviting key stakeholders to the table.


We have also bravely explored different creative formats, such as this dialogical editorial, placed our “Community Voices” articles front and centre, and published our first large-scale collaborative article (other than articles by close colleagues or co-researchers).


That parallel between music therapy spaces and writing spaces is multilayered. While we think about overt communication and surface activities, we wonder about what might be missing or missed; consciously or unconsciously enacted; dismissed, discriminatory or undisclosed. As music therapists, we think about how and why one moment leads to another, but fewer music therapists find time, energy, or confidence to write about the art and science of music therapy. I am excited that this issue includes voices new to the NZJMT, as well as experienced writers… [Cont. in full journal.]


(References are included in the full pdf of the journal.)

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