Helen has been studying for most of her life, mainly in the realms of words and music and in particular the realm of medieval song. A special interest has been medieval songs in the woman's voice.
B. A. (Hons.) (La Trobe), B. Mus. (Melbourne), M. A. (Hons.) (Music, Monash), PhD (Melbourne).
Helen's academic life began at La Trobe University where she graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with a double major in English in 1981. Next came a Bachelor of Music, majoring in performance (singing) at the University of Melbourne in 1990.
In 2001 Helen graduated as a Master of Arts in music (Hons). This included coursework in medieval musicology and a minor thesis which explored a genre of thirteenth-century French women's song: ' "An halte tour": Age, Time and Gender in the Anonymous Chansons de Toile'.
Helen graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy in 2006. Her thesis investigated the effect of genre and gender on the functioning of desire in twelfth and thirteenth-century northern French secular song. It is now published as a book: Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvere Song.
Prizes, scholarships and funding
|1987||Awarded the Clarice Malyon Middleton Memorial Singing Scholarship.|
|1997||Joint winner of the Victorian Chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia's 1997 Musicology Prize for a conference paper entitled: "Bakhtin's Concept of Carnival and the Woman's Voice in Trouvere Song".|
|2001||Joint runner-up for the inaugural Postgraduate Essay Prize of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies for ANZAMEMS.|
|2002||Awarded University of Melbourne Postgraduate Equity Scholarship.|
|2003||Winner of George Yule Postgraduate Essay Prize, 2003.|
Since her PhD Helen has received funding for a number of projects from the Network of Early European Research and other bodies. These include funding to respond to invitations to speak at conferences, in Australia and overseas, funding to present a program of medieval women's songs, based on her PhD research, at the Adelaide Fringe Festival with medieval music ensemble Troveresse, and funding to organize a conference in November of 2009 entitled "The Medievalism of Nostalgia". See conference website for details. Helen was invited and funded to give papers at two conferences in 2011: 'Manufacturing Emotions' at the University of Sydney in September and 'International medievalism and popular culture at the University of Western Australia in December
Helen is now a research fellow in the School of Culture and Communication (English and Drama Studies). Her research interests at present centre on "medievalism", sometimes called the afterlife of the Middle Ages. Her main project is one which links the production, study and reception of medieval music with the current thirst for "medieval" fantasy fiction and film. She continues to be interested in bringing together her research interests in medieval studies and medievalism with her work as a medieval musician.
In November 2012 Helen convened a symposium: Amor y odio: the Jews in Spain and beyond in tandem with the release of Troveresse's new CD: La vida es un pasahe. This was made possible by funding from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of the Emotions.
Most recently Helen has been appointed Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of the Emotions. This appointment is for a project taking off in 2013: 'Singing Death', which explores through academic research and musical expression, some of the attempts of humanity to give a face and a voice to death. This will culminate in a symposium/performance around the middle of the year.
Music and the Medievalism of Nostalgia: fantasies of medieval music in the English-speaking world, 1945 to 2010. Preliminary contract with Cambria Press, series editor Nickolas Haydock.
Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvere Song
Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, series: Gallica, ed. Sarah Kay, July 2008.
Editor's Introduction: 'Nostalgia and Medievalism: Conversations, contradictions, impasses', postmedieval: journal of medieval cultural studies, 2.2 (2011).
' "Yearning for the Sweet Beckoning Sound": Music and Longing in Medievalist Fantasy Fiction', postmedieval: journal of medieval cultural studies, 2.2 (2011).
'Music for myth and fantasy in two Arthurian films', Screening Early Europe: Premodern Projections. 2009, special issue Screening the Past, ed. Louise D'Arcens.
'Past, Present, Future Perfect: Paradigms of History in Medievalism Studies', Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 25.2 (2008): 58-79.
'Desire and Generic Differentiation in Trouvere Song', Parergon,Vol. 22.1 (January 2005): 17-46.
'Voices, "Realities" and Narrative Style in the Anonymous Chansons de Toile'
Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. New Series Vol. 18, No 2 (January 2001).
Edited special issues
The Medievalism of Nostalgia, lead editor with Louise D'Arcens and Andrew Lynch, postmedieval: journal of medieval cultural studies, 2.2 (Summer 2011).
Geri L. Smith, The Medieval French Pastourelle Tradition for Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, forthcoming 2010.
Work in progress
Book on current research project: 'Music and the Medievalism of Nostalgia: fantasies of medieval music, 1945 to 2010'.
Essay for collection, ed. Andrew Lynch and Louise D'Arcens, Cambria Press: 'The fate of reality in medievalist fantasy fiction: Harry Potter and the Christian Right'