BFE Student Prize
The BFE Student Prize is awarded annually for the best student paper presented at the BFE Annual Conference. The initiative is designed to recognise the work of student members of our scholarly community. The Call for Submissions from the 2024 Annual Conference will be released in early 2024. To be eligible for the prize, you must present a paper at the conference and be a 2024 member of the BFE.
Following the BFE Annual Conference at The University of Edinburgh, April 2023, 16 papers were submitted for the BFE Student Prize. As the prize panel had the difficult task of assessing a particularly strong collection of papers this year, they made the unusual decision to nominate two honourable mentions this year. Many thanks to the panel, Heather Sparling (Cape Breton University, Chair), Elina Seye (University of Helsinki) and Joe Browning (City University, London).
The BFE Student Prize 2023 is awarded to Ivan Mouraviev for his outstanding paper, “Bass, Space, Place: The Mediation of London Dubstep Culture in an Online Discord Community.” This insightful and fascinating paper considers how a virtual music community can be understood as being organized around a “nostalgia genre” and how both online and offline spaces connected with that genre are reproduced in the virtual community. More broadly, the author aims to “stimulate discussion about how sonic cultures are preserved and remembered, and how the internet mediates musical genre and place” by addressing a community organized both virtually and in real life around dubstep, a form of electronic dance music (EDM) emergent in south London in the late 1990s. The argument is developed through a nuanced and mature synthesis of ethnography and theory, rooted in both current literature and fieldwork, both of which are integrated thoughtfully throughout the paper.
An Honourable mention is made to Pantea Armanfar for the paper, “The voice of laleh-va: a plant instrument in ab-bandan forming the mutual cultural heritage of wetlands and humans.” This very strong and beautifully written paper is about the relationship between a particular reed-like plant (laleh) found in Iran, its importance to the creation and maintenance of ab-bandans (human-made wetlands for water management and agriculture), its relationship to humans, and its voice in the laleh-va instrument (a woodwind instrument made of laleh). This conceptually ambitious paper offers a lovely integration of historical research and contemporary practices while addressing a number of contemporary concerns within ethnomusicology.
An Honourable Mention is also made to María del Mar Ocaña Guzmán for her paper, “‘Jewels’” within the Sound Archive: Unfolding the Metaphor’s Materialities.” This theoretically sophisticated paper maps an extensive network of metaphors surrounding the collection, curation and evaluation of archival recordings, revealing how they are understood and valued by archivists, scholars, musicians and others. The author treats the archive as an ethnographic field of study and opens up new ways of understanding the archive, a key institution for musicians engaging with historical music traditions as well as for ethnomusicologists.