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On the 19th February 2021, the BFE Committee held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the registration categories for the upcoming annual conference hosted by Bath Spa University (8–11 April 2021). Given the BFE’s previous statements around equality, diversity and inclusion and the changes in the economics of the conference due to the shift to the online platform, we have decided to implement a series of fee waivers for students, low-income scholars and scholars who identify as BIPOC.

A new free registration category has been added to the conference website for ‘students, low income* and BIPOC’. This is open to BFE members and non-members. Please register here: https://whova.com/portal/registration/baths_202102/

*Proof of student ID may be required. Early career scholars who are unwaged or fractional (un-tenured, part-time, seasonal, and without full time post-doc) and earning less than £20k (or equivalent overseas) should opt for the ‘Low-Income’ category.

We recognise that this statement has emerged following the opening of registration, for which the Committee apologises. If you think you fall into this category and you have already paid for registration, please do get in contact with us and we can arrange a refund for your registration fee. Please email the BFE Membership Administrator, Raquel Campos, at membershipatbfe.org.uk.

Call for New BFE Committee Members

Deadline for Nominations: Friday 19th March 2021

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology seeks nominations for election for 4 positions on the BFE Committee. The terms of some current members of the BFE Committee members are coming an end; some Committee members will be standing down while others intend to stand for re-election.

It is vital for the future of the BFE that we have a strong Committee so please do consider nominating yourself. We are looking for committed committee members who will make an important contribution to the day-to-day running and future development of the BFE. In line with our equality ambitions as a subject association, we welcome nominations that will help the Committee reflect the diversity of our membership and discipline.

General responsibilities of Committee members include:

  • attending 2-3 BFE Committee meetings each year
  • engaging proactively in BFE business
  • contributing creatively to BFE strategies and initiatives
  • engaging in regular email communication with the Committee
  • writing short reports on BFE activities for the annual Chair’s Report
  • participating, when necessary, in working groups on specific BFE tasks

The specific roles for committee members in this election round are:

1. Conference Liaison Co-Officer

The Conference Liaison Co-Officers  are jointly responsible for:

  • organizing the BFE’s annual and one-day conferences, study days and other events in conjunction with local conference arrangement committees
  • representing the BFE at the January BFE–RMA Research Students’ Conference (each January), at meetings of the RMA Flagship Conferences Subcommittee (2 or 3 per year), and through regular correspondence with the RMA and other subject associations (e.g., SEM, Analytical Approaches to World Music, Société Française d’Ethnomusicologie)
  • providing oral reports on conference activities at BFE committee meetings

2. Membership Liaison Officer

This role includes:

  • Developing productive relations between the BFE membership and the Committee, and bringing forward issues from members for consideration by BFE executive committee.
  • Working on membership and marketing initiatives in conjunction with the BFE General Administrator (Dr Morgan Davies) and the Membership Administrator (Dr Raquel Campos)

3. Student Liaison Officer

This role includes:

  • Maintaining and developing communications channels between the BFE student membership and the committee
  • Reporting to the BFE Committee on student member activities and achievements
  • Developing new content for the BFE Podcast Project and other related initiatives

4. Treasurer

This role includes:

  • Being responsible for all aspects of managing the finances of the BFE, working closely with the BFE administrative team
  • Preparing a financial report at the end of each year. Previous experience of accounting is desirable

 

If you wish to stand for election you must be nominated and seconded by two BFE members. Please send a proposal of no more than a single side of A4, which will be forwarded to the BFE membership by email and our list serve prior to voting. Include:

  • Your name and a contact address
  • Your current employment
  • The names of the BFE members who have nominated and seconded your candidacy (it is not necessary for the nominators to email the Chair separately about the nomination)
  • Length of time you have been a BFE member
  • The specific role – from the 4 roles listed above – for which you would like to be nominated
  • A statement outlining your suitability for service on the BFE Committee, highlighting relevant skills and experience

Nominations must be sent by email to Simon McKerrell (chairatbfe.org.uk (chairatbfe.org.uk)) and copied to Morgan Davies (adminatbfe.org.uk) by the end of Friday 19th March 2021.

In order to vote you need to be a current member of BFE, so please renew your membership for 2021 if you have not done so already. Online voting will take place soon after the deadline for nominations and the results will be announced at the next AGM. This is scheduled to take place at 11am on Saturday 10th April, as part of the online proceedings for this year’s Annual Conference, hosted by Bath Spa. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

 

Simon McKerrell, BFE Chair

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new BFE Podcast Project, which aims at distributing exciting audio publications on specific topics suggested by our Podcast Team. Contributions selected by the BFE Podcast Team will be published once a month as part of a Regular Podcast Series and can be streamed on computers, tablets or smartphones via our SoundCloud player. Please note that in order for your podcast to be published, you will need to be a member of BFE.

Our first Regular Podcast Series topic is 'Story of a Song'. We encourage you to tell us your story of a song, whether that’s based on personal experience or part of your ethnomusicological research. Do take us on an exciting, emotional and adventurous musical journey. Let us follow the story of your song!

Submit a podcast here

With all best wishes,

Lea Hagmann (BFE Outreach Officer) and Matt Dicken (BFE Student Liaison Officer)

Email enquries: podcastsatbfe.org.uk

We are thrilled to announce that three fieldwork grants have been awarded for the 2021 BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme. Hearty congratulations are due to Meg Hyland, Rim Jasmin Irscheid and and Natalie Mason, our 2021 award recipients. The winners introduce their exciting research projects below, and we look forward to hearing more about their work when they return from the field.

Meg Hyland (University of Edinburgh)

Between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, thousands of women worked each year as itinerant herring gutters in Britain and Ireland. Travelling from sometimes remote islands and coming from diverse linguistic backgrounds, they congregated in major fishing ports and worked side-by-side gutting, salting and packing the herring into barrels. My research looks at the role music played in their working lives, including work songs as well as songs sung during the dances they hosted on the weekends in their temporary lodgings. While my previous research has established that Gaelic-speaking women sang semi-improvised dance songs (puirt-à-beul) while gutting, I am next looking to research the musical cultures of women from Shetland who worked in the industry. I plan to travel to the Shetland Museum and Archives to research their oral history material, which includes dozens of interviews of people connected to the industry. I will be particularly interested to determine to what extent women in Shetland sang sacred versus secular songs while working, and what level of interaction they had with women from Gaelic-speaking backgrounds, since the multi-cultural nature of the industry often led to musical cross-fertilization.

Rim Jasmin Irscheid (King’s College London)

My project is concerned with representations of hybridity, difference and movement in collaborative music projects across Lebanon, Jordan and the Arab diaspora in Germany. I aim to find out how first and second generation Arab migrants network, produce and showcase experimental music arising from collaborations within and across these three countries. During field work in Beirut, Amman, Mannheim and Berlin, I will spend time in places of great sociability between artists of different backgrounds, in particular recording studios, green rooms, festival sites and rehearsal spaces. I will look not only into the collaborative compositional process among musicians, but the social and political environment of their sound experiments. I also plan to examine images and video material used in the marketing of these projects with regard to cultural representations of Arab musicianship in German media texts. My focus lies specifically on the rhetoric of cultural institutions and experimenting artists that vehemently oppose affiliations with the European ‘world music’ market and instead, offer musical self-representations that distort or even disguise imagined markers of Arab identity and citizenship altogether.

Natalie Mason (University of Birmingham)

My PhD focuses on the international musicking of children and families in community and education settings in the West Midlands. Following a decade of community music work in the UK and South Africa, my research is informed by participant-led practice. I aim to expand an interdisciplinary understanding of the role children play in the creation and continuation of diverse musical cultures whilst extending practical and academic connections between ethnomusicology, community music and music education. In response to the current pandemic situation, I have updated and transformed my methodology. Informed by recent scholarship on participatory fieldwork methods and hybrid ethnography, I am drawing on new technological approaches to support the child-centred narrative within my dissertation, whilst remaining adaptable to remote or in-person activity. My research will allow me to document and develop pedagogical approaches for international musicking, in collaboration with children and families, whilst deepening an understanding of fieldwork methodologies across online and offline spaces. I hope to contribute to ethnomusicological scholarship on children’s musicking, participatory practice and audio-visual technology in the hybrid field.

 

Registration is now open for this year's online Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, 8-11 April 2021, being hosted by the School of Music and Performing Arts at Bath Spa University, on the theme of Music, Culture and Nature.

Please make sure your BFE Membership is current to take advantage of the lower conference rates for members. 

The draft programme is available here.

You can register for the conference here.

You are urged to register within the next month to acquaint yourself with the conference platform well ahead of the event. Once you have registered you will be able to set up a profile on the conference platform which will help you get the most out of the conference in terms of networking and chat rooms during the event.

Details about performances and other events within the conference will be added in the coming weeks, both on the BFE 2021 Annual Conference website and on the conference platform. You will receive notifications of these once you are registered.

If you have any queries please contact  BFE2021atbathspa.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing many of you there!

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) seeks to form an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group to advise the BFE Committee on improving all aspects of the BFE’s governance, sustaining interaction with the membership, and maintaining safe spaces for scholarly engagement on topics of interest to ethnomusicologists.

Call for EDI Lead

We first seek self-nominations for an EDI Lead to chair the Working Group. To be appointed for an initial two-year term, the EDI Lead will receive an honorarium of £1,000 per annum, with a review of the role after the two-year term.

In consultation with and with support from the BFE Committee, the EDI Lead sets the agenda of the Working Group. Tasks include but are not limited to:

  1. Recommending ways the BFE Committee can implement the ‘EDI and Anti-racist action’ plan distributed to the BFE membership on 27th October 2020
  2. Advising the BFE Committee on a policy for reporting equality concerns raised by members and creating an anonymized and safe reporting mechanism
  3. Proposing guidelines for MA and PhD supervisors on equitable and safe mentorship
  4. Organising workshops for music scholars underrepresented in UK academia on grant capture and professional development
  5. Liaising with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music Studies (EDIMS) on events of interest to the BFE membership
  6. Other work fostering a more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment for ethnomusicology in the United Kingdom

The EDI Lead also will produce quarterly reports for the BFE Committee on the activities of the Working Group, identifying policies and practices implemented, as well as suggesting future improvements to BFE policy and governance.

The BFE is committed to ensuring that the Working Group remains a safe space for dialogue and engagement, and we seek an EDI Lead with a keen interest in shaping conversations concerning EDI work within ethnomusicology. In particular, the BFE Committee encourages self-nominations from late-stage PhD students and early career scholars based in the United Kingdom who have training or self-cultivated expertise in identifying structural barriers to equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as formulating anti-racist policy. Candidates who have experience advising and guiding a small team are especially encouraged.

To apply for the EDI Lead role, please send a two-page CV and a 500-word statement detailing (1) how your expertise intersects with the role description and (2) your vision for the work of the Working Group over the next two years. Please send all materials by 28th February to Dr Raquel Campos (membershipatbfe.org.uk).

Call for Working Group Members

We also seek self-nominations from ethnomusicologists interested in serving on the Working Group. Members of the Working Group will be expected to work collaboratively with the EDI Lead, craft safe spaces for effective conversations on EDI work, and have a demonstrated commitment to anti-racist approaches to education and scholarship.

To apply for a place on the Working Group, please prepare a 250-word statement detailing how you would like to contribute to EDI and anti-racist work within the BFE and send it by 28th February to Dr Raquel Campos (membershipatbfe.org.uk).

The family of ethnomusicologist Peter Cooke, who passed away on 28th December 2020, have very kindly shared an online link for BFE members to virtually attend Peter's funeral:

https://www.wesleymedia.co.uk/webcast-view

Login: 68810

Password: rytrtweu

The funeral will take place on Monday 25th January at 11.30am UK time, and will last for 30 mins - although it may be possible to play back a recording of the event for a few days after as well. The order of service, which features a beautiful selection of images from across Peter's life and career, can be viewed by clicking here. Our thoughts are with Peter's family at this time, and we will be publishing a tribute to this much beloved member of the UK ethnomusicological community on the BFE website shortly.
 
The 2021 BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme is now open! Any student enrolled on a PhD programme at a university in the UK who is conducting ethnomusicological research can submit an application. We look forward to hearing about your projects!
 
Applications must be submitted online, via the BFE website, by the end of Monday 14th December 2019: you can find out more details about the competition and how to apply on the BFE Fieldwork Grants page.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that two fieldwork grants have been awarded for the 2020 BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme. Hearty congratulations are due to Yara Salahiddeen and Dunya Habash, who are the 2020 grant recipients. The winners introduce their innovative research projects below, and we look forward to hearing more about their work when they return from the field.

Yara Salahiddeen (Magdalen College Oxford) - Cultural Politics of Tarab: Music and Social Change during Egypt’s Nahda

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a vibrant cultural and intellectual movement developed across the Arab world known as the Nahda, often translated as the renaissance. My project examines the musical Nahda that transformed the soundscape of Egypt from the 1860s to the 1920s, and its connections with the period’s intense socio-political transformations. I investigate the affective and political impact of various musical forms on modern subjectivities of the time, as well as on wider discourses around the role of culture. Crucial to this soundscape was the social and musical phenomenon of tarab, which is often described as musical ecstasy but notoriously evades clear definition. I hope to clarify the aesthetic system and societal role of tarab during this period in particular. I am especially interested in the cultural semiotics that formed its practice, and how these were encoded and decoded through the sung taqtuqa and compound form of wasla.

 

Dunya Habash (St. Edmund's College Cambridge) - Syrian musicians and their 'emplacement' into Turkish society

My ethnographic research with Syrian musicians in Turkey examines the effects of ‘integration’ on music-making and more generally on Syrian cultural practices and imaginaries post-displacement. I am exploring how Syrian musicians, those who fled Syria after 2011 and settled in Turkey, place themselves and how they use music to belong to an ideational community in exile. When individuals are forced to leave their homes instead of consciously choosing to enter the diaspora, an accompanying inquiry is whether there are new constraints—be they political, economic, or social—that affect the way agents embed themselves in a new society and reconstruct their lives and identities? Rather than focusing on the ways in which Syrian music is transforming in displacement, I plan an innovative cross-disciplinary investigation of how Syrian musicians as agents embed themselves in their new homelands where changes in performance practice, physical space, and cultural norms must be accounted for. I hypothesize that the Syrian cultural imaginary is shifting as a result of ‘emplacement’ into Turkish society, and that this shift can be illustrated through musical practices. Investigating and analysing how Syrian musicians in Turkey—and displacement more generally—emplace themselves and how they use music to belong to an ideational community can give fresh insights into the relationship between structural forces and inner subjectivities.

We invite you to a virtual launch of Ioannis Tsioulakis' exciting new book 'Musicians in Crisis: Working and Playing in the Greek Popular Music Industry'. This online book launch will take place on Saturday 7th November at 6pm GMT, as part of the BFE One-day Online Conference Ethnomusicology and Music Enterprise in Catastrophic Times.
 
The event will be presented by the Chair of the BFE, Dr Simon McKerrell, in conversation with the author and with questions from the online audience. This event is free and everyone is welcome, but prior registration is advised - to register, click here. We look forward to seeing you there!

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