For my BCM313 narrative interview, I decided to chat with my mentor and work colleague from AUD’$, Matthew Craig. Born and raised in Melbourne, Matt and his brother Junor started AUD’$ in 2016 and it’s since become Australia’s number one hip-hop connect. I joined their small team at the start of 2020 as a way to exercise and improve my skills, build a journalistic portfolio and help with the globalisation of Australian hip-hop and R&B.
In the subject of ‘The Future of Work’, we’ve studied our own and others’ values in the workplace and how they portray these through their storytelling. Our interview discussed Matt’s career, the challenges he’s faced and how these experiences have shaped and strengthened the most important values to him, which he lists as “community, culture and growth.”
For anyone who’s had a conversation with Matt, it wouldn’t be hard to guess considering every decision embodies these values both personally and professionally. Even during my presentation, peers utilised the practice of outsider witnessing to guess his top three values within the first couple of minutes (Carey & Russell, 2003). Using Michael White’s map of outsider-witness, I reflected back on when I first met Matt and realised that the way I had identified these values in him was through the category of embodying responses which refers to the expressions that resonate with the outsider witnesser and become an identified part of their own values (Carey & Russell, 2003).
In BCM313, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Kate’s interviewing style that we were lucky enough to see in action while she interviewed UOW’s Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson (BCM313 Week 7 Workshop, 2021). Her therapeutic style of interviewing is something I adopted in my interview with Matt and will continue to experiment with for future interviews I conduct through my work alongside him. The emphasis on active listening and the absent but implicit enriched the conversation and allowed me to dig deeper than the stories I had already heard from Matt, creating a more thoughtful and rewarding experience for both the talent and myself (Freedman, 2012).
From the interview I conducted with Matthew Craig, I gained a better understanding of Matt and the AUD’$ values and how these were formed from his determined work ethic and influenced by the hip-hop culture he’s been a part of for most of his life. Delivering the presentation allowed me to articulate the AUD’$ future, the relationship between myself and Matt and the shared love we have for the work we do.
Bowles, K & Davidson, P 2021, ‘BCM313 Week 7 Workshop’, University of Wollongong, accessed 31 October 2021, available at SOLS.
Re-membering: The commonly used therapeutic practice that provides “opportunities for people to re-engage with experiences of their life which would otherwise remain neglected.” (Russell & Carey, 2000).
For the past year and a half I have been working with AUD’$, a Hip-hop music publication based in Melbourne, Australia. Reflecting back on when I first started, it was a massive change to the journalistic work that I was used to producing. At the time, I was starting my second year studying a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Communications & Media, so I felt as though I had this pre-conceived, stagnant and somewhat outdated and vague understanding of journalism.
Working with the small team at AUD’$, I began to develop a better understanding of my writing and the nuanced future and flexibility of journalism in the Australian music industry. While this isn’t the main change I’ll be detailing in this narrative reflection, I think it’s important to note that this was the first time I noticed the difference between what I was told working in journalism was like to what it actually entailed.
Prior to spending nine weeks stuck inside my house for lockdown, I was able to visit the AUD’$ team at our studio and office space in Melbourne. On my first day physically working alongside them, we started with a morning debrief where we outline our individual and group objectives for the day/week, say something we’re grateful for or that we recently learnt, and check on everyone’s mental health and personal life. Before this, all of the journalistic work I had done was online and, although we compromised with Zoom meetings, texts and calls, there lacked that physically energy you get when face to face. Starting my morning of work like this really aligned with my constant to-do lists and monthly planners, but also made time and space to talk about important topics like mental health which is something I forget to check on when working independently. Experiencing that change from isolated and independent online work to more interpersonal and physical work is the main change that I’d like to connect to narrative self-development in relation to my professional values.
Michael White’s theory of the ‘absent but implicit’ refers to the meaning we take from experiences, through the comparison and contrast of previous experiences (Carey, 2000). This approach to narrative storytelling allows individuals to reflect on the stories we retell to uncover its deeper and unspoken personal value and meaning. Instead of focusing on the problems, failures or pain of an experience, individuals are able to enter a gateway to the realm of experience where “people’s most cherished hopes, aspirations, and commitments live and breathe,” (Freedman, 2020).
Through this lens of narrative storytelling thinking, I can understand that I value the flexibility that working by distance provides me, however, physically interacting with co-workers and clients is an invaluable experience that cannot be replicated online. Another value that I think I highlighted in my story is the importance of community and family building in a workplace. AUD’$ is a relatively small team so it’s easier to build this rapport, but it’s still something I value highly. Allocating time to interact as friends instead of co-workers and providing a platform to discuss our personal well-being created a welcoming, motivating and comfortable environment for me to work in, and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.
Reflecting back, I can now acknowledge a time when I demonstrated the importance of these values to me in a professional setting. About two months ago, I received a job offer from one of the biggest companies within my field. The reason I chose to decline the role was because I value the experiences I’ve had at AUD’$ and despite the pros to accepting this job, it didn’t align with my professional values.
The process of self-reflection through Michael White’s work has enabled me to understand the importance of storytelling in learning the discussed and implied values of ourselves and others. In regards to my future of work, having an enriched understanding of my professional values has provided me with a clearer roadmap to my career and has proved vital in achieving a deepened sense of professional identity and a balance between a healthy mental well-being and a rewarding and fulfilling career (Carey, 2002).
In 2019, Hip-hop in Australia was entering a new era as the perception of ‘Aussie Hip-hop’ began to be more widely challenged by the success of new styles, trends and faces in the scene.
Chillinit and Nerve solidified Grime’s influence on the scene, Drill began to take dominance with ONEFOUR and Hp Boyz leading the way, and The Kid Laroi released his debut label single ‘Let Her Go’, setting him on an unprecedented trajectory for international success.
Owner of Melbourne’s Marshall Street Studios, Bennett Ferguson, attributes the success of local Hip-hop in 2019 to the work from artists in the last decade, who gained national recognition and challenged unflattering stereotypes of the genre.
“2019 was when a lot of things started to break out and do big numbers but I think that’s a culmination of what happened in the ten years before it. That’s just when time meets opportunity and the right group dropped the right track,” Ferguson said.
There was no telling the height local Hip-hop was beginning to reach, but on January 25th 2020, its projection was stunted by the announcement of Australia’s first four cases of COVID-19.
By the end of March, community transmission increased significantly and the Australian government shut their borders to non-residents, closed non-essential services and introduced lockdown restrictions. Melbourne in particular, was hit the hardest by the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions being reinstated throughout the months of winter, the start of the new year, and now, during June of 2021, their lockdown has been extended for a further seven days.
Dr Catherine Strong and Dr Fabian Cannizzo from RMIT University investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry in their research paper, ‘Understanding Challenges To The Victorian Music Industry During COVID-19’. According to the study, “the impact of this on musicians, venue owners and operators, road crews and production companies, and associated professionals and personnel from managers to PR to labels and beyond, was immediate and devastating.”
44 per cent of respondents lost all their music-related work in the pandemic, with those in full-time employment dropping from 34 per cent to seven per cent.
57 per cent of respondents were worried about paying for basics like food and rent
More than 80 per cent of respondents thought their involvement in the music industry would be different post COVID-19, with almost three in five considering leaving the industry all together
Craig believes the governmental support to creative arts in Australia has always been treated second-rate to sport.
“NSW starting putting on their own lineups competing with private enterprises who are already doing the same thing. So not only was it no shows but now you can return to shows with restrictions and compete with the government who are putting on shows,” Craig said.
WhatsLively is a live music culture and discovery entity dedicated to bringing more eyes on live music in Australia. Co-founder Trishanth Chandrahasan agrees that the support from the government has been underwhelming.
“JobKeeper has kept people afloat but that’s all its really doing, it’s not helping artists. I mean they get some form of it but they’re relying on shows to make money,” Chandrahasan said.
Despite the challenges faced from COVID, there have been a handful of silver linings in regards to the future of the Australian music industry. The innovation of artists has aided Hip-hop in Australia to continue globalising and evolving in diversity and popularity.
From the normalisation of local line-ups and online accessibility, to a greater respect for time and work/life balance, Chandrahasan believes the pandemic has also helped revolutionise live music.
“I think it’s going to play a large role in changing the way we buy tickets, the way we enter and also what happens during a gig. I think the ticket is going to hold more importance, before it was just your pass to get into a venue but I think now it’s going to be more linked to your identity so it’s going to have a bigger link to who you are.”
For my BCM325 Digital Artefact, we were required to frame our topic with consideration to the future in the next 5, 10, 25 or 50 years. I wanted to create something of value for me following my graduation at the end of 2021. As I’ve already begun working in the Australian music industry, I decided to craft a five-year career plan that considered the short and long-term implications and the changing landscape of the Australian music industry.
I used Twitter to promote my articles and Canva to format the two YouTube videos that were embedded in Episode 1 and 2. The multi-media element added to both these episodes didn’t regurgitate the information in my blog but instead added an alternative angle to the topic. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to include a video for the third episode, but here’s a brief overview of the three WordPress blog posts:
Blog Post 1 used the SMART method of career planning to map out my future at AUD’$ as a music journalist.
Blog Post 2 ideated what role my clothing brand Moriboys will play in my career and investigated the relationship between streetwear fashion and Hip-hop.
Blog Post 3 examined the future technologies and trends in the Australian music industry.
For the background research, I studied some of the work of my peers within the field including Ben Madden and Parry Tritsiniotis. These are two creatives in the industry whose work has demonstrated a strong public utility and who I think, are key players in elevating the Australian music industry through their journalistic work. In addition to examining my peers and their approaches, I also found three of the subject materials to be particularly useful for my project.
After the Singularity: A Talk with Ray Kurzweil (2002)
In Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, he describes a new era of society that is a “merger between human intelligence and machine intelligence that is going to create something bigger than itself.” Although my DA doesn’t directly focus on this thought, there is a quote in his reflection of Singularity where he states, “We’re kind of like the pattern that water makes in a stream; you put a rock in there and you’ll see a little pattern. The water is changing every few milliseconds; if you come a second later, it’s completely different water molecules, but the pattern persists. Patterns are what have resonance. Ideas are patterns, technology is patterns. Even our basic existence as people is nothing but a pattern. Pattern recognition is the heart of human intelligence. Ninety-nine percent of our intelligence is our ability to recognise patterns.”
The notion of pattern recognition was incredibly useful to my DA that focused on Australian Hip-hop and career plans. By understanding the patterns of Hip-hop’s development in other countries, I was able to make educated predictions on the future of the scene. Similarly, it led me to research the SMART method of goal planning that followed a structured pattern in accomplishing my ideal career.
The Ecstasy of Communication – Jean Baudrillard (1987)
Jean Baudrillard’s The Ecstasy of Communicationargues that society’s gaze is changing into an ecstasy of promiscuity, from the world of the object to the start of the hyper-reality, described as “the space of simulation.” Though my DA focuses on the medium-range future, I also detailed plans for both the short and long term. This paper, in particular, allowed me to reflect on the content that I produce for my career and how I should be aiming to create an immersive experience with my work. By doing so, my short-range future will benefit from consistent and quality content, my medium-range goals will hopefully be achieved quicker and the long-range future will feature a hyper-realistic niche of Hip-hop in Australia with a more active and international fanbase.
Making People Responsible – Wendell Bell (1997)
Wendell Bell’s Making People Responsible challenged the opinion I gained from After the Singularity and gave an important perspective on futurists’ roles and responsibilities. Although my DA is a career plan, it also attempted to predict the future of Hip-hop in Australia and its growing appeal to global audiences. Bell states, “futurists not only study images of the future held by various people in an effort to understand and explain their behaviour, they also investigate the process of image-making itself, encourage people to rigorously explore alternative images of the future, and construct images of the future themselves. In so doing, futurists aim to help people become more competent, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organisational and societal roles.”
This resonated strongly and provided me with a stronger public utility as I began the DA to better understand my career trajectory in order to make more educated predictions on the future of the industry. By embodying Bell’s perception of a futurist, I hope to, for lack of a better phrase, ‘stay ahead of the competition’ and play a key role in the globalisation of Australian Hip-hop music.
Reflecting on my production timeline, I was able to accurately follow the actions accordingly. If I had the chance to re-do this DA, I would have created a more comprehensive production timeline with details on additional content that I should have made. This could’ve included Instagram, Reddit and Twitter posts related to my DA that would’ve increased my engagement and provided me with a stronger public utility.
The public utility of my DA is unfortunately one of its biggest weaknesses. Reflecting on my work, I limited myself to my WordPress, YouTube and Twitter audience that mainly consists of other UOW students. While they are included in my target audience, I recognise that I was somewhat unable to create a strong public utility for a larger audience. The primary utility that my DA holds is to myself, future employers and fans of Hip-hop in Australia, typically aged between 15-25 years old. While my engagement was less than ideal, I did find that my DA delivered on its public utility to myself and future employers as it provided me with a convincing career plan to follow in the final months of university and post-graduation. I recently applied to a PR/Management company in Sydney and managed to secure an interview as well. Though I’m waiting to hear back, my DA provided me with confidence and clarity heading into my application.
Despite the lack of engagement, the peer feedback loop from my pitch and beta helped me ideate new approaches to my DA. In particular, Rachel, who also focused her DA on her clothing brand, recommended some marketing articles that while were directly useful to Moriboys, also became applicable to the public persona side of my career as a music journalist. It was also suggested by another user to utilise Twitter more which is something I did for my third episode.
BCM325 has been extremely beneficial to my life after graduation as it has given me confidence in my aspirations and abilities, and my career plan is something I will frequently revise throughout my life. I will be entering my field with a concise career plan, a renewed perception of the future and an understanding of my responsibility as a futurist and the potential technologies and trends that will play a future in the Australian music industry.
For the first episode of my career planning series, I utilised the SMART method of goal setting to map out the medium future of my career in the Australian music industry. In particular, I focused on my role at AUD’$ and the progress I wish to make in the next five years.
Though never directly mentioned, many scholars credit Peter Drucker’s The Practice of Management (1954) as instrumental to the development of the SMART acronym. In a study during the 1960s, Dr. Edwin Locke examined the relationship between motivation and goal setting and determined that specific and challenging goals are more motivational than vague and easy ones (Lawlor, 2012).
In Wendell Bell’s Making People Responsible (1998), he divides the our perception of the future in three categories including the possible, probable and preferable. Bell states “Futurists not only study images of the future held by various people in an effort to understand and explain their behaviour, they also investigate the process of image making itself, encourage people to rigorously explore alternative images of the future, and construct images of the future themselves. In so doing, futurists aim to help people become more competent, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organisational and societal roles” (Bell, 1998).
As BCM325 encourages us to be active futurists, this is the way I approached my career plan with elements of possible, probable and preferred futures. Beginning with the possible, there’s a possibility to move to Melbourne to immerse deeper in the scene which would assist me in building a stronger network. Additionally, venturing into PR and events managing is probably the biggest possibility. Although this is something that I am interested in, I would first like to establish myself as a journalist to leverage myself into these roles. That being said, if this doesn’t come to fruition in my medium range future, it is probable that it will occur in the long term.
Next, I included probable elements of my future in the career plan such as maintaining a strong relationship with AUD’$ and being able to interview artists in a longer form that what traditional Australian music media is accustomed to. These probable elements will lay the foundational work for the possibilities in my long range future in playing a key role to the Australian Hip-hop music industry.
Lastly, the preferred outcome of this career plan future would be to exceed the goals in a short period of time and begin examining more long-term, challenging goals. In Baudrilard’s Ecstasy of Communication, he argues “the shift from the world of the object, of the mirror and the scene, to the laboratory of miniaturisation has transformed the pleasure of the gaze into an ecstasy of promiscuity. For Baudrilard, the obscenity of the all-too-visible signals the end of the secret and its representation and the beginning of the era of hyper-reality, the absolute space of simulation. This ultimate call to a disappearing reality permeates popular perceptions of the power of technology and technological images” (Baudrilard, 2012).
With this in mind, I’d work towards crafting content in the short-term that will create new opportunities for myself and build an audience in the medium ranged future. I’d then be able to start creating a long range future for myself and the Australian Hip-hop media where the bridge between artists’ talent and coverage is narrowed with more diverse and quality content. By doing so, we’ll be able to create a hyper-realistic niche of Hip-hop in Australia where fans can become more immersed in my own content as well as the artist. Keeping a balance of intimate and loosely structured interviews with high level production value and accessibility looks to be my next best move in achieving this goal in the medium ranged future.
Although setting these goals for myself gave me a more refined vision of my potential future, it also raised some important questions into its practicality. While striving towards my end goal, these types of questions are beneficial in forcing me to continually push myself and update my SMART plan. In my BCM325 pitch, I outlined a different blog sequence than what I carried out so next week will instead look at my clothing brand, Moriboys, and the role I hope to see this brand have within Hip-hop in Australia, and my own future career.
“People are coming to realise that they must take responsibility for the future, both for their own individual futures and collectively, for the shared future of all humankind” (Bell, 1997).
In my final year of university, I feel a responsibility to begin planning my future career path. Though I have started in the field I am passionate about, I feel a strong responsibility to continue this in a more well-researched manner to help the Australian Hip-hop scene reach an international level.
My BCM325 digital artefact will consist of a five-year career plan that will also investigate the future of music journalism and Hip-hop in Australia. Through analysing the history of Hip-hop and researching academic sources regarding career planning, I will be able to make future predictions and shape my career plan around this.
My digital artefact consists of the journalism work I do for AUD’$, an Australian Hip-Hop website. This includes writing feature pieces, interviews with artists and reviews of newly released projects as well as the curating of music videos for their YouTube playlist.
Build a strong journalism portfolio relating to the Australian Hip-hop scene.
Expand network with relevant artists, journalists, videographers, managers, publicists, etc.
Curate music videos every two-three days and produce an article every two weeks or so.
New Aim: Based on Feedback Loops
Continue consistently curating content and building a network and journalism portfolio.
Begin to monetize digital artefact through new article offer.
Pay more attention to analytics to increase engagement.
Discussions in my tutorials have made me realise that some of my engagement with artists is ‘bot’ like, with generic emojis or comments on their posts. Moving forward, I want to start being more of a real voice within this network. I have already begun following a lot more relevant people to try and widen my reach and as you can see, I’ve set myself some analytic goals for the rest of the year.
A lot of the successes and progress that is made with my digital artefact often happens behind the scenes with emails, DM’s and early access to music and videos. While these interactions aren’t publicly accessible, they are building blocks to future articles and endeavours that will soon be shared. For October, I already have at least three articles prepared so I’m planning to finish my digital artefact with plenty of exclusive content and exciting news. This will also allow me to start implementing the information I’ve received from my feedback loops