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Lilburn Research Fellow will study braille collective musicians

Press Release – Department Of Internal Affairs
The Alexander Turnbull Library and the Lilburn Trust are delighted to announce that Daniel Beban has been awarded the prestigious Lilburn Research Fellowship for 2019.

Mr Beban will formally take up the Fellowship in January 2019, and will use it to further a study of the Braille Collective musicians in Wellington, who made up groups such as the Six Volts and the Primitive Art Group in the mid-1980s.

Mr Beban studied ethnomusicology and composition at Victoria University of Wellington, with improvised and experimental music being the focus of much of his subsequent research, writing and radio broadcasting work.

Mr Beban says that he feels honoured to be awarded the 2019 Lilburn Research Fellowship. “This is a fantastic opportunity to produce a book about the Braille Collective and New Zealand improvised music from the late ‘70s onwards. It’s an important story in the history of New Zealand music, and as most of the musicians involved in this community have operated outside of institutions, it is a piece of history that has been largely overlooked. It is a great privilege that I am able to devote a substantial period of time to helping tell their story,” he says.

The Braille Collective embraced a self-publishing and DIY approach, releasing music on their own record label and creating much of their own promotional artwork. Its members have gone on to contribute significantly to New Zealand’s wider music scene and internationally.

The Alexander Turnbull Library’s Music Curator, Dr Michael Brown, says that the Lilburn Research Fellowship was established as a biennial award in 2012 to encourage scholarly research about New Zealand music.

“This is the only fellowship available in New Zealand that specifically supports New Zealand music research, and it means that Daniel will receive a $70,000 grant, an office at the National Library and access to our collections. It’s one of the most significant fellowships awarded by the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa (NLNZ),” he says.

“One of the exciting aspects of Daniel’s research is that he will be delving deeply into the fantastic collections of the Archive of New Zealand Music”, Dr Brown says. “These include numerous live recordings of Braille Collective groups, and related material in the collections of composers Jonathan Besser and the late Jack Body.”

It is especially pleasing to be able to announce the recipient during May, New Zealand Music Month, Dr Brown says. “The Alexander Turnbull Library’s world-class collections help preserve New Zealand’s significant original music heritage, such as magnetic tapes and other original recordings, musical scores, photographs, and posters. The legacy of the Library’s generous donors is underlined by research such as Daniel’s.”

The Alexander Turnbull Library is always pleased to consider items for donation to the collection, and gifts or bequests. Gifts of money to the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust or to the Friends of the Turnbull Library help to support the Turnbull Library’s collections and their research use.

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