Dr Shelley Brunt

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Dr Shelley Brunt

Position: Senior Lecturer
College / Portfolio: Design and Social Context
School / Department: DSC|School - Media & Communication
Phone: +61399253789
Email: shelley.brunt@rmit.edu.au
Campus: City Campus

Shelley is the Program Manager for the BA (Music Industry) degree.


As a popular music ethnomusicologist, Shelley focuses on ethnographic approaches to examining music cultures in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Many of her academic publications can be found in RMIT's Research Repository, including the book Made in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand: Studies in Popular Music (with G.Stahl Routledge, 2018). At present, she is writing the book Popular Music and Parenting (with L.Giuffre Routledge, forthcoming 2022) about the shared experiences of listening, media engagement, and music performance participation between caregivers and young children. She speaks about this topic regularly in her podcast "Music Mothers and Others" cohosted with Liz Giuffre (University of Technology Sydney) and broadcast on Sydney's 2SERfm and musicmothersandothers.com. Her show was a finalist in the 2021 CBAA Community Radio Awards in the category 'Excellence in Innovative Programming and Content', which recognises innovative programming or content initiatives that gives a platform to music, ideas, or concepts not normally addressed by traditional media outlets and connects deeply with its audience.

One of Shelley's principal research interests is Japan’s popular music world. She continues to work on a long-running project that examines identity, community and nationalism in the annual NHK Red and White Song Contest (Kouhaku uta gassen) – a live television program that can be loosely described as “Japan’s Eurovision Song Contest”. Shelley has conducted fieldwork backstage at the event in Tokyo on numerous occasions since 2000, including 2013-14 and 2019-2020 as a two-time recipient of the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship and other competitive research grants. A recent publication on the contest can be found in the book Made in Japan: Studies in Japanese Popular Music (Routledge, 2015) and, later, in her forthcoming Bloomsbury 33 1/3 monograph Kouhaku Utagassen: The Red and White Song Contest (2023). Shelley is an experienced public speaker on Japanese popular music topics for English language media commentary. In addition to song contests, she examines holographic televised song performances as well as ‘posthumous duets’ (where a living singer is paired with a deceased singer generated by digital means). She has presented talks in Japan at Tokyo University of the Arts, Kyoto Seika University, Hosei University Research Centre for Intercultural Studies in Tokyo, and Kansai University in Osaka, among others. More locally, she has presented a seminars for The Japan Foundation, Sydney. Her research about Japanese popular music has been quoted in international media outlets and she was profiled on NHK Japanese TV in a special programme about the 60th edition of the Red and White Song Contest.

Shelley's creative musical practice is varied. She is a retired cellist and chorister, and performed as a guitarist, keyboardist and singer in bands in 1990s–2000s, and later as a gamelan and taiko performer in the 2010s.
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