Original Research

How Pat Metheny came to Carolina in Mpumalanga, South Africa: using music in transdisciplinary water research

Johann Tempelhoff
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 9, No 2 | a211 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v9i2.211 | © 2013 Johann Tempelhoff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2016 | Published: 31 December 2013

About the author(s)

Johann Tempelhoff, Research Niche for the Cultural Dynamics of Water (CuDyWat), School of Basic Sciences, North -West University (Vaal), Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

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Listening to music can help researchers to comprehend and gain insight into complex problems in transdisciplinary research. This article explains how members of a research group at North-West University in South Africa conducted research on a crisis in the urban settlement of Carolina in Mpumalanga Province when acid mine drainage (AMD) from local coal mining operations was found in the municipal water supply. In grappling with complex issues such as the failure of communication with local stakeholders, the group resorted to using the music of Pat Metheny’s music to come to abetter understanding of the crisis.  Keywords:Carolina, acid mine drainage (AMD), Pat Metheny, transdisciplinarity, coal mining.
Disciplines: History, water studies, music studies, transdisciplinarymethodology.


Carolina; acid mine drainage (AMD); Pat Metheny; transdisciplinarity; coal mining


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