BFE Student Prize


BFE Student Prize

The BFE Student Prize is awarded annually for the best student paper presented at the BFE annual conference. All students who present papers at an Annual BFE Conference are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration. Only papers from students who are BFE members at the time of submission are eligible. Although the prize is a modest sum, this initiative is designed to support and recognise the work of student members of our scholarly community.
 The papers are reviewed by a BFE subcommittee, and current submission guidelines can be found at the foot of this page.

Please note that your paper should not be significantly revised prior to submission. The text should be as for your 20 minute presentation. Please do not submit a longer version of your paper as submissions that are clearly over length will be disregarded. For full details of the 'Guidelines for submission’ please see the ‘Files' link to a word document at the bottom of this page. 


BFE Student Prize Winner 2016:


The BFE Student Prize for 2016 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Kent at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham (14-17 April 2016). We are delighted to award the prize to Esbjörn Wettermark (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 Sheffield in 2017.

“Gutting the Listener”: The Vietnamese Shawm and Emotional Expression in Tuong Opera

This insightful and original paper focuses on the Vietnamese shawm kèn and particularly the cultural significance of its timbre as “the sound of death”. Combining evocative accounts of fieldwork experiences with close musical analysis and with critical reflection on a wide range of readings from both subject-specific and theoretically relevant sources, the paper makes a real contribution to organology by analysing a case in which “the sound of an instrument may live a life removed from its source”. It is a valuable resource not only for researchers of Vietnamese music and theatre but for anyone interested in the cultural life of musical instruments and the relatively neglected subject of instrumental timbre.


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
Joint prize winner:

Cassandre Balosso-Bardin (SOAS)



From Paris to London – Learning Ethnomusicology on Both Sides of the Channel

This paper is a thoughtful and well-written investigation of bi-cultural music education in both the UK and France. Acknowledging that the perspective is not one of music education, the author vividly compares many key differences in Ethnomusicology and music learning methods, practices and syllabi at four different institutions, basing much of the argument on detailed self-reflexive experience and observation.

The conference delivery of this bespoke paper itself was excellent, and it seems difficult to imagine a paper more nicely calibrated to the 2015 joint conference and its theme of border crossing. It is well–researched and stands in real dialogue with other writing on ethnomusicology programmes (such as Krüger and Solis). The paper provoked much discussion about academic practices in the UK and in France. It is a very good resource for researchers interested in academic institutional practices.

Revival/Continuation: Paradigms of Transmission and Boundaries of Knowledge in the Norwegian Munnharpe Smithing Tradition

This very well and clearly-written paper compares the transmission paradigms of both the munnharpe playing tradition and the munnharpe smithing tradition, while attempting to understand the ‘enigmatic Norwegian playing style’ with particular reference to traditions of the region of Setesdal in Southwestern Norway.

The paper makes a solid argument about the importance of not only recordings but instrument makers – and archival film recordings of instrument makers – in the contemporary transmission of styles.
It identifies very interesting links between instruments, instrument builders, musicians, recordings, transmission and future generation. The paper is a good resource for researchers interested in Norwegian music.

Joint prize winner:

Deirdre Morgan (SOAS)