Nathan Thomson


Lecturer and Head of the Global Music Department


Lecturer and Head of the Global Music Department

Doctor of Music (distinction)

MMus (Master of Global Music), Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki

AdvCert, Performance and Communication Skills, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London

DipMus (performance) Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University, Australia

Forskning och publikationer

Doctoral Project:

Thomson, N.R. (2021). RESONANCE: (Re)forming an Artistic Identity through Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration [Doctoral thesis, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki].


This artistic research examines how the third space emerging from intercultural dialogue and transcultural collaboration can be a catalyst for new musical discoveries, intercultural humility and the (re)forming of artistic identities. The body of this project is centred around three doctoral concerts, a CD/LP recording, and a documentary film, which took place between 2016 and 2021. In addition, I draw on the embodied experience of a five-year period I spent living and collaborating with musicians and dancers in Tanzania and Zambia prior to the doctoral project. 

As a double bass player and composer, I place myself in a series of different musical and multi-arts contexts, engaging in dialogue with musicians, dancers and visual artists from Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Finland, France, Madagascar, Poland, Sápmi, Tanzania, the UK and Zambia. Various solo, duo and ensemble settings act as case studies to examine how this process takes place, the artistic outcomes, and the effects of intercultural dialogue, collaboration and co-creation on my own artistic identity. The instruments and forms of artistic expression used by my collaborators include the Brazilian berimbau, Chinese guzheng, dance, live electronics, experimental instrument making, Finnish Saarijärvi kantele, Sámi joik, vocals, percussion, live visuals, image manipulation, animation and film. In these artistic explorations, I draw on new knowledge gained from the collaborations, as well as from my five-year period of intercultural immersion in Tanzania and Zambia. 

As key concepts in this research, I investigate artistic identity, hybridity, intercultural collaboration, co-creation, third space theory and resonance, the latter being viewed both as a physical phenomenon and an approach to thinking about the ways in which we connect with the world around us. This research contributes to new knowledge and understandings in these areas through the interweaving of artistic processes, audio, video, photographs, artistic outcomes and text. Findings emerge in terms of new musical discoveries found in the dynamic third space surfacing from transcultural collaboration; the interconnected nature of my work and its reliance on meaningful dialogue and exchange with others; and the crucial role of resonance in forming a personal artistic identity. Further research outcomes include new techniques and the expansion of the sonic palette of the double bass, enabled by developing custom-made attachments, preparations and electronic manipulation. The complete scope of this doctoral project includes four artistic components, a documentary film and an artistic research thesis comprising two peer-reviewed articles and an integrative chapter, all housed within the main multi-media exposition, Resonance: (Re)forming an Artistic Identity through Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration.

Key words: artistic identity, intercultural humility, hybridity, intercultural collaboration, transcultural, third space, third space bass, resonance.