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Dr Jim Chapman

Senior Lecturer

School of Creative Arts

Career Summary


A jazz guitarist, singer, percussionist and composer originally from Brisbane, via Brasil and New York in the 1980's. He completed a Bachelor of Music at QUT and moved to South Africa in 1994, where he played in big bands including the Eastern Cape Big Band and the Rhodes University Big band, performed at the Grahamstown Festival, the biggest arts festival in the southern hemisphere, and played in experimental groups the “Outer Limits” and with renowned saxophonist Rick Van Heerden and percussionist Geoffrey Tracey in “Blind Impulse”. He also played South African (Safro) Jazz and world music groups and taught music including Southern African ethnomusicology at the Rhodes University Department of Music. He wrote and recorded a six part radio documentary series in 1999 for ABC radio National entitled "When the West Met the South, the music of South African history" and contributed music scores to documentary films.

From 1998 he taught world music, music technology and cross cultural music at QUT and he completed his PhD in African Cross-Cultural composition in 2007. He released a CD of his compositions based on his African experiences entitled "Afro No-Clash" in 2008 which received airplay on Radio National.

He founded and directed the world music group “Kabombo Kombo” in Brisbane in 2003 who performed at the Valley Music Festival, The Brisbane Powerhouse and the Judith Wright Centre for Performing Arts in their 4 year life. This ensemble played traditional and contemporary African music as well as original compositions by Jim. He also sang in the Acapella group “The OK Chorale” for several years and was cofounder and co-director of “The Espanados” another Acapella group who performed at festivals and at the 2006 Multicultural Music Festival at Brisbane City Hall. He played percussion in the four-piece Irish fusion group “The Delodians” who performed regularly around Brisbane and regions including at the Woodford Folk Festival. He also played regularly in the jazz and contemporary duo “What Black Cat” until leaving Brisbane in 2009 and is currently a senior lecturer in music at the University of Newcastle.

Research Expertise
• Research, Production and Writing and Recording for a 6 part series for Radio Eye on Radio National ABC Australia entitled: When the West Met the South: the music of South African history (1995-2000)
• Research project on the outcomes of blended and on-line learning in music orchestration- publication (2000-2003)
• Research in Southern Africa and Australia on traditional music styles and techniques in Southern Africa, and the creative practice of intercultural composition. This project formed the basis for my PhD, which involved both creative and analytical components (2002-2007)
• Research and development of online assessment processes for music performance (2010-2013).

Teaching Expertise
Taught university courses in psychology, communication, management and music. Most recently have taught core and elective courses in bachelor of music at Queensland University of Technology, Rhodes University (South Africa) and University of Newcastle (Australia). Oversaw curriculum development of approx 50 courses in music at University of Newcastle.

Administrative Expertise
Deputy Head of School (teaching and Learning) School of Creative Arts, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle 2009-2012. Discipline convenor- Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), School of Creative Arts 2013

Areas of research include African Music, World Music, Syncretic, Inter-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Music, Computer Based education in Music, Music Pedagogy, Rhythm Theory and Neuropsychology.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Queensland
  • Diploma in Psychology, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Music, Queensland University of Technology


  • African music
  • Computer Mediated Learning
  • Jazz and Popular Music
  • Music Education
  • Music and Intercultural Syncretism
  • Musical rhythm theory
  • World Music

Fields of Research

190399Journalism and Professional Writing not elsewhere classified50
190499Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
2/03/2014 - Senior LecturerUniversity of Newcastle
School of Creative Arts

Academic appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/01/2008 - 1/03/2009Learning Development CoordinatorQueensland University of Technology
Information Technology Services


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (2 outputs)

2015Chapman JN, 'The "Amazing Marking Machine" A Process for Efficient, Authentic Assessment', Assessment in Music Education: From Policy to Practice, Springer, London 100-120 (2015)
2012Chapman JN, 'Music education for a world of stylistic plurality and blending', Sound Musicianship: Understanding the Crafts of Music, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 228-240 (2012) [B1]

Conference (6 outputs)

2009Chapman JN, 'Polyrhythm in the middle: rethinking the hierarchy of rhythm', OOO, Newcastle (2009) [E3]
2007Chapman J, 'A framework to relate cultural, ethical and aesthetic issues to the structural analysis of African/Western cross-cultural composition', Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Musicological Society Conference, - (2007) [E1]
2006Chapman J, 'The Creative Practice Of Composition In A Cross-Cultural Musical Setting', Music down under IV : celebrating emerging music researchers : student symposium : collected papers, vol. 1, Brisbane (2006) [E1]
2005Chapman J, ''Without a Song You are Nothing', Songwriter's Perspectives on Indigenising Tertiary Music and Sound Curriculum', Cultural Diversity in Music Education: Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century, Brisbane (2005) [E1]
2005Chapman J, 'The Creative Practice of Composition in a Cross-Cultural Musical Setting', -, Brisbane (2005) [E1]
2004Chapman J, 'Learning And Teaching Music Online: The Case Of Orchestration', -, Brisbane (2004) [E1]
Show 3 more conferences

Creative Work (4 outputs)

2013Chapman J, "Opposites Attract", Conservatorium Concert Hall, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2013) [J2]
2013Walker SKA, Chapman J, Dickinson T, Zangari G, Jim Chapman "Opposites Attract", performed by Sally Walker and Tara Dickinson (flutes) with Jim Chapman and Giuseppe Zangari (guitars) and display of photographs by Sarah-Jane Campbell (Australia) and Olle Holm (Sweden)., Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2013) [J2]
Co-authorsSally Walker
2012Walker SKA, Chapman J, "Kothbiro" (Ayub Ogada arr. Afro Moses and Sally Walker, performed by Sally Walker, Afro Moses), "Sweet Lullaby" (Sanchez arr. Afro Moses performed by Sally Walker/Afro Moses) , "Ndithanda le Dawo" (Jim Chapman) performed by Community players led by Sally Walker and "Flute Ancestry" (Elena Kats-Chernin/Sally Walker) performed by Sally Walker and 4 students at the Newcastle Conservatorium Community, Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, Newcastle NSW (2012)
Co-authorsSally Walker
2007Chapman J, Afro No-Clash: Composing syncretic African/Western music: eleven compositions and the frameworks for their systematic analysis, Presented to the Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (2007) [J1]
Show 1 more creative work

Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014Teaching Multiple Genres of Voice: An Investigation of Current Practice in Australian Tertiary Music Education
Music, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2013To Investigate the Range of Approaches used by Contemporary Guitarists in their Practice and Preparation for Professional Performance
Music, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2011The Traditional Music of East Timor
Music, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2009Towards an Aesthetic of Groove
Music, Faculty of Education and Arts

Past Supervision

YearResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015The Museum Qua The Evolution of a Knowledge Institution in an Era of Pervasively Networked Information Infrastructure
Fine Arts, Faculty of Education and Arts

Dr Jim Chapman


Senior Lecturer
School of Creative Arts
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details
Phone02 4921 8926
Fax02 4921 8958


LocationTeaching Studio 1, 2nd level Concert Hall, Conservatorium cnr Auckland and Gibson st. Newcastle 2300
Cnr Laman and Auckland Street
Newcastle, NSW 2300