2019 BFE Student Prize

Submissions are invited for the BFE Student Prize that is awarded annually for the best student paper presented at the BFE annual conference. All students who are presenting papers at the BFE conference at The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen (11-14 April 2019) are strongly encouraged to submit their papers for consideration. Only papers from students who are BFE members are eligible. This initiative is designed to support and recognise the work of student members of our scholarly community. The papers will be reviewed by a BFE student prize panel.

Please note that your paper should not be significantly revised prior to submission. The text should be as for your 20-minute presentation and should not be more than 3000 words. Please do not submit a longer version of your paper as submissions that are clearly over length will be disregarded. If it is important for audio or audiovisual materials to be considered with the text of your paper, please include web links to these materials (on YouTube, Vimeo etc.), along with any necessary passwords to access links if they are private. Powerpoint or other presentation slides should not be included, though important images from slides can be incorporated into the body of the paper.

Papers should be sent as a PDF, Word or RTF attachment to the Chair of the BFE, Simon McKerrell: chairatbfe.org.uk

The deadline for submissions is midnight Tuesday 23 April 2019 and the result will be announced by the end of May.

We look forward to receiving your paper!

BFE Student Prize Winner 2018:

The BFE Student Prize for 2018 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Newcastle 12-15 April 2018). We are delighted to award the prize to Katie Young (Royal Holloway, University of London) whose paper is described below. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted a paper this year, and encourage students to submit papers for next year’s conference at the University of Aberdeen in 2019.


Katie Young – ‘“If You Know Arabic, Indian Songs Are Easy For You”: Hindi Film Songs and the mawlid in Tamale, Northern Ghana.’

This very well researched ethnographic paper provided fascinating insights into memory and pedagogy in Hindi film reception in cinema halls post 1957 by African Muslim audiences in Tamale, Northern Ghana. Young examines how modes of listening learned in Qur’anic schools have affected active response to Hindi film in terms of audition and recitation.  The memorisation of both Arabic religious texts and Hindi songs are revealed to have meanings not associated directly with context but rather with the act of sounding and re-sounding these texts. Young’s original primary research undertaken in 2016 and 2017 on the adaptation of Hindi song melodies in Tamale’s Islamic schools demonstrates how mawlid praises in Arabic have been set to well known Hindi film songs, a practice her interviewees describe as natural due to the similarities of the two non-native languages and the timbral and decorative vocal styles of both the call to prayer and Hindi film song performance.

Young makes a powerful contribution to a range of fields including the study of Islam, linguistics, music learning, (post)colonialism, and South-South cultural flows. Most importantly, through this paper Katie Young suggests an innovative approach to ‘listening’, that combines pedagogy with pleasure and religious doctrine with popular culture, in ways that challenge longstanding boundaries within our research fields. The original and imaginative paper brings together a thorough historical account with lively first-hand descriptions, also supported by very illustrative audio-visual extracts.

It is a valuable contribution to the discipline, and a pleasure to read.


Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz (Chair, 2018 BFE Student Prize Panel)

Dr Sue Miller

Dr Ioannis Tsioulakis


Former winners of the BFE Student Prize:

2007    Eoghan Neff
2008    Ioannis Tsioulakis
2009    Sue Miller
2010    Stefanie Conn
2011    Emma Brinkhurst
2012    Joe Browning
2013    Thomas Western
2014    Jennifer McCallum 
2015    Cassandre Balosso-Bardin
            Deirdre Morgan
2016    Esbjörn Wettermark
2017    Hamidreza Salehyar
2018    Katie Young