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Vol. 12 No. 1 (2023): Music Making and Music Research in the Asia-Pacific Region in Times of COVID-19

Intercultural Music Engagement over Electronic Bridges: Online Ethnography and Actions Research during COVID-19 Lockdown

  • Trisnasari Fraser
  • Jane W. Davidson
  • Alexander Hew Dale Crooke


This contribution details methodological adaptations of face-to-face ethnographic and participatory research approaches for the digital realm and examines emergent ethical concerns. It developed while a research team in Melbourne considered the implications of COVID-19 lockdown for their research on social connection through intercultural music engagement. Pursuing the proliferation of online music activity aimed at maintaining social bonds during the physical distancing of the first months of the pandemic, the team turned to digital platforms as the field of research. Projects included observation of audience engagement with YouTube music broadcasts during COVID-19 lockdown and a participatory action research project exploring asynchronous multitracking performance. The pandemic underlined the world’s increasing interconnectedness, where social ties can span the local to the global. Through an appraisal of the research and consideration of existing discourse about online research approaches and decolonizing methodology, the article also examines the implications of global interconnectedness for interdisciplinary inquiry and the study of different cultural identities and their music and dance practice.