Revisiting the Field in Ethnomusicology: Where; Who; How

British Forum for Ethnomusicology Autumn Conference

3-4 November 2023 (Online)



Call For Proposals

Is the concept of the field still relevant to ethnomusicology, and if so, in what ways? Where are our research fields located and who are their constitutors? What kinds of practices do we engage in to encounter, understand and document our fields? And how do we write the field in ways that are meaningful both to us and our diverse audiences? Through such questions, this conference encourages us to rethink what we mean by the field as it is encountered through the processes of doing and writing research.

By situating the focus on the construction of the field, this conference invites participants to think both about and beyond fieldwork. To consider how the field is constituted in 21st-century ethnomusicology, participants may wish to revisit old practices and tools and/or reflect on how recent disruptions and transformations (the pandemic, new technologies, environmental and humanitarian crises, political turbulence, funding shortages, academic precarity) have impacted field research and the writing of the field.

The programme committee welcomes proposals from any discipline that respond to one or more of the following points of discussion.

Locating the field: where is it? Do we still need to define it?

  • Physical and digital fields
  • Single- and multi-sited fields
  • Ethics of locating the field

Composing the field: who constitutes the field?

  • Positionalities of research participants and researchers
  • Living and non-living subjects as actors in the field
  • Ethics and power in the constitution of the field

Practising the field: how do we conduct field research?

  • Revisiting established methods: (participant) observation; interviews; documentation
  • New tools for conducting research
  • Field confessions: learning through uncomfortable moments

Writing the field: how are ethnomusicological texts constructed?

  • Writing as method
  • Redrafting as composing and/or performing
  • Audio-visual mediation and its relation to the written text
  • Language, ethics, audiences  

We invite proposals for individual papers (20 mins + 10 mins questions), for panels of 3 related papers (90 mins in total including questions), as well as roundtables of 4–5 shorter papers (10 mins each + 20 mins questions).

We also welcome proposals for other forms of presentation and research dissemination (these should be compatible with online delivery). Interested participants are welcome to get in touch with the organising committee ( to discuss potential formats by Friday 21 July 2023.

Abstracts for individual papers should be no more than 300 words. For panels and roundtables, please send paper abstracts of no more than 300 words each, together with a panel/roundtable description of no more than 100 words.

All abstracts should be submitted by Monday 4 September 2023. The form for submitting proposal abstracts can be found at BFE Autumn 2023 Abstract Submission Form. Please note that all presenters must be 2023 members of the BFE (i.e., members at the time of the conference).

Abstracts will be peer reviewed and selected on the basis of how well and how closely they engage with the conference themes. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by mid-September.   

Conference Code of Conduct:

BFE conferences are run in accordance with the BFE/RMA Conference Code of Conduct. By taking part in a BFE conference, you agree to be bound by this code.

Conference Organising Committee:

Dr Evanthia Patsiaoura (Chair)

Dr Cassandre Balosso-Bardin

Professor Byron Dueck

Dr Stina Homer

Dr Matthew Machin-Autenrieth

Call for papers deadline: 
4 Sep 2023
Conference dates: 
3 Nov 2023 to 4 Nov 2023
BFE (online)