Dr Steven Dillon

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Personal details


Assessment in the arts, Community music making and resilience, Cultural health of communities, Digital media e-portfolio, Evaluation of the quality and impact of arts experience, Generative Media Systems, Music Education, Music and health, Music and meaning, Music technology


Performing Arts and Creative Writing, Curriculum and Pedagogy

Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


  • PHD (Music Education) (La Trobe University)

Professional memberships and associations

I am active on the editorial boards of music journals, have directed conferences and been an invited scholar and keynote for conferences in the field of music and community well being and education.
Director of Conferences and symposia

Fellowships, scholarships or prizes awarded
Invited scholar at:

  • Griffith University Gold Coast Campus Music Education 2008

  • University of Madrid 2006 & 2008.

  • Sweden: Lund University Malmo Academy of Music 2008.

  • UK: Manchester Metropolitan University, Southampton University 2008.

  • Netherlands: Rotterdam Conservatorium, Zwolle Conservatorium 2008.

  • Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Education 2009.

  • University of Auckland 2009.

  • Nominated by the Creative Industries faculty for the Vice Chancellors’ award for research.

Referee review panels:

  • 2010 International Journal of Music Education (Practice).

  • 2010 Journal of Social Inclusion.

  • 2010 Psychological Reports Ammons Scientific

  • 2009-10 OzChi conference

  • 2009-10: Oxford Handbook of Music Education.

  • 2007-10 Cambridge Scholars Publishing meaningful music Making for life series.

  • 2007-10: International Journal of Community Music.

  • 2007-10: Psychology of Music.

  • 2007-10: Journal of Music Technology and Education.

  • 2005-10: Revista Electronica Complutense de Investigación en Educación Musical (University of Madrid, Spain).

  • 2005-10: Music Education Research and Innovation.  

Membership, participation and/or leadership in professional bodies and societies

  • 2009-10 President of the Musicological Society of Australia Queensland Chapter. 

  • 2008-2010 Member of the Music and Health Network.

  • 2008-2010 Co Chair Research of Sweet Freedom social justice record label: http://www.sweetfreedom.com.au/ recently a recipient of the Music Council of Australia Community Music award and in the United Nations International Council for Caring Communities Compendium “Music as a Natural Resource: Music in Education Project” http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un-dpadm/unpan042585.pdf/ .

  • 2006-2010 Member of the Music Council of Australia

  • 2006-2008 Member of the International Society for Music Education Web Management committee.

  • 2004-2010 Founding director of save to D.I.S.C. Research network http://www.savetodisc.net/

  • 2005-2009 Tertiary Education Union representative on Faculty of Creative Industries Promotion Committee.

  • 2005 Cited 17 times in the National Review of Music Education.

  • 2002-2010 Member of International Society for Music Education

  • 1999-2010 Member of the Australasian Music Education Research Association.

  • 1996-2010Member of Australian Society for Music Education.


I have been a teacher for 35 years beginning as an ‘open-space’ teacher in South Australia in primary school music programs. I employ a transformative approach to teaching and learning informed by constructionist (Papert, 1980, 1994, 1996) and constructivist (Perkins, 1986, 1994) approach to learning based upon John Dewey’s ‘Art As Experience’ (1989). I have always considered music learning to be an experiential activity. I have also been a practicing musician and publisher alongside my teaching practice and consider this role as artist educator to be integral to the embodied understanding of how we teach in the arts and how we grow as expressive artists (Bresler, 2004). As a primary and secondary teacher I have worked to develop programs around these approaches based upon Harvard Project Zero- Arts Propel (Davidson, 1992; Gardner, 1993) ‘domain projects’ and process portfolios for assessment. Upon moving to teach in tertiary contexts I have sought to explore, research through action oriented methods (Cherry, 1999; Hull & Reid, 2002) and develop my practice so that I can apply these approaches effectively within this environment.
I began tertiary teaching as a sessional postgraduate lecturer in music curriculum and music technology at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. From 1999-2002 I taught music curriculum as a continuing staff member at Griffith University. In 2002 I began at QUT as a senior lecturer and teacher of music education and songwriting performance. Since that time I have developed a strong profile in applied analytical and empirical musicology which has been incorporated across my teaching of production studies in Music and Sound and the music studies areas of University wide electives: Sex, drugs rock n roll and Music and Spirituality. As current chair of the Queensland chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia I have worked to bring the level of scholarship to international standards using ‘Blended learning’ employing Web 2.0 approaches and developing an approach to urban musicology. These studies have proven to be consistently popular and as they utilise portfolio assessment and the opportunity for creative practice based assessment have become more accessible for international students and those with different learning styles.
Over the past 5 years I concentrated upon postgraduate supervision with cohorts of MMus students completing creative practice projects. I have increased my supervision of MA and PhD students to supervise 10 students as a principle and co-supervisor in a cohort of Sound Communities Research and practice. The Four postgraduate students have received scholarships and two have been awarded the Gordon Spearitt student musicology prize.
Undergraduate subjects designed and taught

  • Designed and taught Secondary Music Curriculum 1-3 (QUT- 2002-present). 

  • Designed and taught Arts pedagogy for primary generalists ( QUT- 2002-2008) 

  • Designed and taught urban musicology: Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll (QUT2002- present)

  • Designed and taught Music and Spirituality (QUT2002-2009).

  • Designed and taught Music Production- Singer Songwriter (QUT2002-2008)

  • I served as coordinator for all music undergraduate degrees from 2004-2007.

  • Taught Music Technology (QUT 2002-2003)

  • Taught Jazz and Pop Musicianship (QUT 2002- 2003)

  • Designed and taught Secondary Music curriculum studies 1-3 (Griffith University 1999-2001)

  • Designed and taught Primary music curriculum general primary Griffith University 1999-2001)

Postgraduate subjects designed and taught
I served as assistant coordinator for music postgraduate studies at QUT from 2004-2007. I established the savetoDISC (Documenting Innovation in Sound Communities) Research Network in 2004. This project attracted a wide range of community music, education and students interested in music, education and health and well-being. savetoDISC has graduated 17 honours and postgraduate students. I am currently the principal supervisor for 1 fulltime PhD students. One PhD has completed.  I supervised 3 part time Master of Arts students two have recently completed and the other is on track to submit June 2011. I Co Supervise 2 PhD students complete with one under examination.
 Coursework postgraduate coordination

  • Master of Music Project 1-4 (QUT 2002-2008)

  • Graduate Diploma of Music projects. (QUT 2002-2008)

  • Graduate Certificate of Music projects. (QUT 2002-2008)

  • Research methodology and Mirroring seminar. (QUT 2002-2008)

Postgraduate completions

  • 8X Master of Music graduated

  • 2X MA Research (Associate)

  • 3X MA Research Principal (1 completed 1 Under examination)

  • 2 X PhD Principal (2010 Under examination)

  • 3 X PhD Associate (2010 Under examination)

  • 1X BCI Honours.

  • 6 X Graduate Diploma of Music

Thesis examination

  • 1x PhD (Monash). 

  • 1X PhD (University of Western Australia) 

  • 4 x Masters of Arts Research thesis (QUT, Deakin, University of Melbourne, UWA),

  • 1x Master of Interaction Design (RMIT)

  • 1X MCA University of Tasmania 

  • 3X MCI Music production. QUT Internal examiner. 

Leadership in Teaching & Learning:

  • Faculty Embedding Indigenous perspectives in curriculum committee (See publications).

  • Presentation at Indigenous Knowledge Conference Common Ground. 2 refereed journal/book chapters.

  • 2008 Awarded a $10,000 QUT T&L grant: eZine and iRadio (See Book Chapter Blended learning)

  • 2008 Designed Music Education Curriculum units for new degree Dip Ed.

  • 2006-8 Seconded 0.5 to set up CI Faculty units and courses at Caboolture regional campus.

  • 2004 Established save to DISC as Post Graduate cohort.



Selected publications

QUT ePrints

For more publications by Steven, explore their research in QUT ePrints (our digital repository).

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