Holy wells to waterholes : belonging through song

2017-02-22T02:37:56Z (GMT) by Howard, Marcia Louise
In this thesis I use evocative, performative autoethnography and critical theory, to explore issues of belonging to place, through the medium of song writing. I use the reflexive and questioning nature of autoethnography to interrogate the historic social effects of colonisation and what it is that connects me to place in relation to my Irish immigrant ancestors and their subsequent relationships with the local Gunditjmara people whose land they were now occupying. My songs tell the story of my geographical location combining folklore from our area, memory and connectedness that has unearthed stories for me from an historical Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspective. As a songwriter I enter the liminal space of the song in order to put myself in the emplaced world of the song. I forge an imaginative engagement with place; just as Indigenous song creators and singers have always done in the Australian landscape. I discover how a shared history of oppression between local Indigenous people and my own Irish ancestors has affected my life and the choices I've made as an artist. My experiences have all influenced and informed my relationship to place, my identity and sense of belonging. I am writing about the complexity of the human experience in place by documenting my personal ancestral family stories. This is my politics of location and the ground I am coming from.