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Personal profile


Dr John Whiteoak is a former dance, cabaret and service band musician and Professor (Research) in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. His academic background is in musicology, jazz studies, popular music studies and Australian history and he has published on numerous aspects of music and dance in colonial and twentieth-century Australia, including the first history of improvisation in Australia, Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia, 1836-1970 (Currency Press, 1999).  He was also co-conceiver and co-General Editor of (and the major contributor to) the 735 page Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia (2003). His central research and writing focus since 2003 has been his Tango Touch publication project, 'Latin and Continental Influences on Music and Dance Before Australian Multiculturalism'. This project has, so far, produced numerous conference papers and 24 publications, including the 2019 monograph, Take Me to Spain: Australian Imaginings of Spain Thorough Music and Dance, as a history of the many ways that people living in Australia from early colonial times to the flamenco- craze era of the late 1950s and 1960s have been 'taken' or 'transported' in imagination to an exoticized 'Spain' through music and dance.  A current monograph project is Rag-Time Australia: Music, Dance, Revolution, Race and War before Australia's Jazz-Age, following on from several recent articles published on this topic.  All publications and projects are described at <www.au, Dancesmdr.com>.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities