My research is grounded in my practice as a musician and educator.

I research how music-making and other participatory arts contribute to social action and transformation. My interests are in peace and reconciliation work, trauma recovery, intercultural relations and social cohesion, and how to make these projects work in complex and contested terrain.

I’ve conducted fieldwork in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, with young musicians from Afghanistan, with First Peoples in remote north-western Australia, and among recently-arrived migrants and refugees in urban Australia. I’ve got considerable methodological flexibility, drawing on participatory and arts-based approaches where appropriate, and developing bespoke tools to capture complex and incremental change. I’ve received accolades for my research, including an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government in 2016 to investigate music and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and Griffith University’s Award for Academic Excellence for my Ph.D dissertation in 2018.

As a research consultant and postdoctoral research fellow I conduct contract research into the social impact of arts programs, in particular in projects working towards peacebuilding, reconciliation, cultural development, and social change. This is a growing area of my research portfolio.

I frequently present my research internationally, including as a keynote speaker and visiting academic fellow. My work is published in international journals, anthologies and Oxford Handbooks in fields spanning community music, music education, children’s geographies, and applied ethnomusicology. My full publications list is available on my profile page (find it HERE).


Howell, G. (2018). Harmony. Music and Arts in Action. Special Issue: Keywords for Music in Peacebuilding, 6(2), 45-58. DOWNLOAD

Howell, G. (2013). Finding my place: Examining concepts of community music as a visiting artist in rural East Timor.International Journal of Community Music, 6(1), 65-78.

Howell, G. & Dunphy, K. (2012). Toka Boot/The Big Jam: Making music in rural East Timor. International Journal of Community Music, 5(1), 27-44.
DOI: 10.1386/ijcm.5.1.27_1

Howell, G. (2011). ‘Do they know they’re composing?’: Music making and understanding among newly arrived refugee and immigrant children. International Journal of Community Music, 4(1), 47-58.
DOI: 10.1386/ijcm.4.1.47_1

Howell, G. (2009). From imitation to invention: Issues and strategies for the ESL music classroom. Musicworks: Journal of the Australia Council of Orff Schulwerk, 14(1), 61-65. DOWNLOAD


Howell, G. (2018). Community music interventions in post-conflict contexts. In B. Bartleet and L.Higgins (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Community Music. Oxford University Press: New York.

Howell, G. (2018). Mapping community music development in Timor-Leste. In B. L. Bartleet, M. Cain, D. Tolmie, A. Power, & M. Shiobara (Eds.), Community music in Oceania: Many voices, one horizon (pp. 13-34). Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai’i Press.

Howell, G., Higgins, L., & Bartleet, B. L. (2017). Community music practice: Intervention through facilitation. In R. Mantie & G. D. Smith (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure (pp. 601-618). New York: Oxford University Press.

Howell, G. (2017). Getting in the way? Limitations of technology in community music. In A. Ruthmann & R. Mantie (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (pp. 449-463). New York: Oxford University Press.

Burnard, P., Boyack, J., & Howell, G. (2017). Children composing: Creating communities of practice. In P. Burnard & R. Murphy (Eds.), Teaching Music Creatively (2nd ed., pp. 39-59). Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.

Howell, G. (2015). Postwar life-space and music in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In C. Freeman, P. Tranter, & T. Skelton (Eds.), Risk, protection, provision, and policy. Geographies of Children and Young People (Vol. 12, pp. 45-66). Singapore: Springer.

Howell, G. (2015). Music interventions: Shaping music participation in the aftermath of conflict. In Schonmann, S. (ed). The wisdom of the many: Key issues in arts education, International Yearbook for Research in Arts Education, pp. 87-92. Volume 3, 2015. Waxmann Publishers, Munich, Germany.