Is rap the new research language?

Written by Simon Mulvaney, third year B(Interdisciplinary Studies)

Dr Mary Kilcline Cody is an historian of Southeast Asia and an inaugural Tuckwell Fellow. In her office in the College of Asia and the Pacific, there’s classical music and a tea-set and you’ll be startled by a large cockatoo and two parrots clawing for food at the window. Mary is an historian who writes poetry, a linguist and a former bureaucrat who likes music and painting, and an academic innovator who developed the equally eclectic Vice Chancellor’s Creating Knowledge (CK) course.

So what’s special about Creating Knowledge?  Well, something amazing happens when you bring students and researchers together. So far, CK students have produced some really innovative work.  Some have researched and published their assignments, created and performed an overture, painted a landscape, designed and producing a management manual, created teaching materials for secondary school students, written poems, a graphic novel, and so much more.

Past student Victoria Pilbeam was even part of a group to  “perform a rap in class to the tune of Ridin’ Dirty. Then we got together and made a Youtube video of it. We felt really supported by our lecturer/tutor and classmates to just put ourselves out there and do it.”

It’s all about seeing things from new perspectives and then backing yourself to have a go.  Mary says: “I want to create an environment where students gain the confidence to pursue what interests them.” That’s the basis for creative, innovative research.

Creating Knowledge (VCUG2001) is a Vice Chancellor’s course and runs every second semester.

Photo credit: Victoria Pilbeam