News

BFE members, if you have news to share, please see post news link under menu members section.
Older news are in news archive.

We are thrilled to announce that Rachel Harris (SOAS) has been awarded the 2022 BFE Book Prize for her 2020 book Soundscapes of Uygur Islam. This book represents a multi-sited ethnography of ‘densely layered, heterophonic and often mediated’ soundscapes with reference to Sufi Muslims who live both within and outside of the highly contested Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of northwest China. Courageous, timely and keenly observed, the author draws history, politics and religion into a richly textured ethnomusicological study about shifting gendered soundscapes of agency, subjectivity, representation and power. The prize panel found this monograph to be "a beautifully written and deeply persuasive book".

A Special Commendation goes to Juan Diego Díaz (UC Davis) for his 2021 book Africanness in Action: Essentialism and Musical Imaginations of Africa in Brazil. The book focuses on ‘tropes of Africanness’ in self-identification and musical expression in the northeastern state of Bahia in Brazil. Many congratulations to Rachel and Juan Diego! To find out more about both authors and their award-winning work, visit the BFE Book Prize page.

Following the BFE Annual Conference at the Open University in April 2022, 16 papers were submitted for the BFE Student Prize. The committee tasked with reviewing the papers consisted of Cassandre Balosso-Bardin (University of Lincoln), Andrew Green (University of Warsaw) and Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London). Such a committee always faces a formidable challenge in having to identify the most insightful and significant contribution, and we found all 16 papers interesting and engaging to read. Indeed, all 16 expanded our discipline, although in multiple and diverse ways. Some closely addressed conference themes, some reported on recent fieldwork – including approaches that were ground-breaking – some were more theoretical, and some offered deep dives into specific music cultures. Overall, then, the 16 papers gave the committee the chance to explore the directions that emerging scholars are taking, and how each points to the future of ethnomusicology.

The BFE Student Prize 2022 is awarded to Caetano Maschio Santos (University of Oxford), for his superb paper, “Damn Corona: the (necro)political aesthetics of migration and the Haitian exodus from Brazil during the Covid-19 pandemic.” As much of the world sees a rise in xenophobia and racial/ethnic prejudice, and as reflections begin on how people and politicians responded to the global crisis, Santos’s powerful paper is timely, insightful, and impactful. He takes a deep dive into the Haitian community and its musicians in Brazil, tracing the community’s subaltern status, but listening to their viral songs. Richly detailed and sharply written, it references a considerable and diverse literature to set up each of its parts. Songs invert silence and sound – silence marking fear of the unknown and the cross-cultural intensity of presence and effect, but sound demonstrating both recognition and engagement.

An Honourable Mention is made to Rowan Hawitt (University of Edinburgh), for her thoughtful and insightful paper, “Walking as a more-than-human methodology for ethnomusicologists.” Rowan’s evocative and engaging paper is well-crafted, and, framed by recent scholarship, explores the relationships between music, place, and the environment. At its core are two contrasting vignettes that explore critical participation in the relationships people have with the world around them, each featuring a walk with a singer. The first evokes deep time through geology while the other observes birds and poses questions about mass extinction. As she walks with singers, Rowan critiques her own privilege, pointing out that while her fieldwork offers a step forward for ethnomusicology, the project still involves issues of inequality.

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology is very happy to announce that starting in 2022 it will offer up to 30 BFE-supported memberships annually to scholars facing significant economic or political hardship. This includes ethnomusicologists for whom membership fees cost a substantial part of their income, researchers unable to make international payments owing to local constraints, and scholars displaced by war or other catastrophe.

Supported membership will allow these scholars access to the benefits of membership, including the ability to present at BFE conferences, eligibility for our prizes and awards, and access to the BFE journal, Ethnomusicology Forum.

The application process is simple. Email the BFE Membership Administrator (membershipatbfe.org.uk) with your full name, email address, country of residence, and a short application outlining your circumstances (maximum 300 words). In some cases, we may request additional documentation. These instructions can also be found on the BFE’s Join/Renew page. Feel free to mail the Membership Administrator for further guidance.

We are delighted to announce the winner and commendation for the 2022 BFE Early Career Prize. This prize is awarded biennially for a distinguished article written by a BFE member who is in the early stages of their career. The recipient of the prize will be invited to deliver a keynote lecture on behalf of the BFE at the annual BFE-RMA Research Students’ Conference.

The first prize is awarded to Dr Tamara Turner (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin) for her 2020 article “Affective Temporalities of Presence and Absence: Musical Haunting and Embodied Political Histories in an Algerian Religious Community,” Culture, Theory and Critique, 61(2–3), 169-86. Turner asks: what does it mean to be musically haunted, reflecting on the interdependency of music, affect and politics in the context of dīwān rituals in Algeria, where participants are haunted by melodies that summon spirits and unspeakable memories of the slave trade and colonial violence. The prize committee agreed that this was a truly outstanding article within a strong field, one that is positioned at the leading edge of ethnomusicology today. The article is beautifully written, encompassing evocative ethnography and clear discussion of its theoretical positioning.

A commendation goes to Dr Juan Diego Díaz (University of California, Davis) for his 2020 article, “The Musical Experience of Diasporas: The Return of a Ghanaian Tabom Master Drummer to Bahia,” Latin American Music Review, 41(2), 131-166. This article reflects on the construction of transatlantic diasporic identities and the ways in which idealized connections are underpinned by deeply felt experiences of musical performance. The committee enjoyed the way that Díaz used a specific case study to elucidate broader ideas, encompassing reflections on groove, spiritual guidance, geopolitics, and personal journeys.

Prize Committee:

Rachel Harris
Lonán Ó Briain
Richard Widdess

We offer hearty congratulations to BFE member Liselotte Sels, whose new mongraph on Turkish folk music has just been published! The book, entitled 'Turkish Folk Music between Ghent and Turkey: Context, Performance, Function', explores musical, contextual and functional aspects of Turkish folk music in contemporary Turkey and the Turkish diaspora in the Belgian city of Ghent. Liselotte's work makes new contributions to scholarship in this area by including the transcription and analysis of performance styles, the evaluation of Turkish Radio and Television discourses and practices, and the exploration of understudied research contexts of Ghent and Emirdağ.

The book is now available to order online from the Equinox Publishing website, and there is a discount of 25% when using the code 'MUSIC' at checkout.

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 11 March 2022

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology seeks a part-time Membership Administrator. 

This role may suit someone who has administrative experience within academia and familiarity with the discipline of ethnomusicology. The successful applicant will work in conjunction with BFE Committee members and the current Membership Administrator to become familiar with the role.

The successful candidate will be confident with a range of IT applications and have excellent interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work well independently and as part of a team. Experience in website management, administration, and/or customer service will be considered a plus.

Membership administration tasks include (but are not limited to):

  • maintaining the membership lists on the BFE website, including monitoring and recording receipt of membership subscriptions (in collaboration with the Treasurer)
  • communicating with the publisher of the society’s journal (Ethnomusicology Forum), including sending dispatch queries and updated lists of members
  • communicating with BFE members, including scheduling membership renewal reminders and preparing email templates
  • providing general support and advice to BFE members (e.g., answering queries about membership or the online renewal form)
  • managing membership data and subscription campaigns via CiviCRM software (we will provide on-the-job training in using the software; tasks will be undertaken in collaboration with the Webmaster)
  • assisting in the administration of grants and membership concessions in collaboration with the Administrator, the Treasurer, and the BFE Committee
  • attending BFE Committee meetings, working on general membership administration, and developing membership-related initiatives (in conjunction with the Webmaster, Treasurer, Administrator and BFE Committee)
  • assisting in the development of new sections of the BFE website in collaboration with the Webmaster, Treasurer, Administrator and the BFE Committee.

The successful applicant will commence work on 25 March or earlier if possible. The total amount of assistance to be contracted will initially average 3 hours per week, and the starting rate of pay is £14.70. This is a flexible arrangement on the understanding that some periods of the year will be more intensive than others (e.g., workload typically decreases during the summer). While most tasks are routine, there may be occasional urgent tasks requiring a rapid response.

Under the terms of a self-employed contract, persons providing these services are not entitled to sick pay, holiday pay or any form of employment protection, and will be responsible for paying their own tax and National Insurance.

Applicants are welcome to contact the current Membership Administrator (membershipatbfe.org.uk) with questions about the job, training, and so on. Applicants should email an expression of interest and a short CV (not more than 2 pages in length) to BFE Chair Byron Dueck (chairatbfe.org.uk) by 11 March 2022.

Interviews will take place as soon as possible following this deadline.

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology seeks to hire an Editorial Assistant for its journal Ethnomusicology Forum. The Editorial Assistant is a crucial member of the EF editorial team who works alongside the journal Co-Editors and the Taylor & Francis production team.

The primarily responsibilities of the Editorial Assistant involve facilitating the peer review process using the Taylor & Francis manuscript submission system and ensuring final manuscripts are checked for house style. The Editorial Assistant also communicates with manuscript authors, maintains a schedule of deadlines, copyedits final submissions, and assists with other editorial responsibilities as needed. The typical workload is the equivalent of three to four hours of work per week throughout the year, although this can fluctuate. There is some degree of flexibility about the timing of work, but the Editorial Assistant must help the Co-Editors meet copy and production deadlines.

The Editorial Assistant will be appointed for an initial two-year term with the possibility of extension. The fee for this work will be £2,500 per year.

We therefore seek Editorial Assistant applications from individuals active in the discipline of ethnomusicology who have some editorial experience and a commitment to the development of ethnomusicology in the United Kingdom. To apply for the post, please prepare a two-page CV and a cover letter detailing suitability for the post. Send both to Alexander Cannon by 1st March 2022.

For more information about the role of Editorial Assistant, please contact Alexander Cannon (A.M.Cannonatbham.ac.uk) or the current Editorial Assistant, Emma Brinkhurst (emma.brinkhurstatbfe.org.uk).

Frances Wilkins, senior lecturer in ethnomusicology at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for her project, Seinn Coisrigte anns a' Ghàidhealtachd an Iar agus 'sna h-Eileanan Siar - Sacred Singing in the West Highlands and Western Isles.

The fellowship is for 24 months from January 2022-December 2023 and will enable the completion of a ground-breaking ethnographic study and the curating of a public-facing exhibition and website exploring sacred song traditions across Northern Scotland.

Scotland is home to an incredible wealth and variety of sacred song traditions with unique and multi-dimensional histories. In North-West Scotland, Gaelic psalmody is recognised as a highly stylised and unique vocal tradition, and is just one of numerous other practices making a profound contribution to the religious and cultural life of those living in the region. Frances Wilkins has been researching the subject since 2019 with the help of a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant, and receiving this fellowship from the British Academy will enable her to focus on the completion and publication of the research, alongside significant public engagement activities related to the project. We wish Frances all the very best for this exciting new phase of her research!

We are delighted to announce our 2022 award recipients from the BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme. Warm congratulations to this year’s winners, Budhaditya Bhattacharyya, Rose Campion, and Laura Spence. Each of the submitted proposals had impressive strengths, but the difficult task of choosing just three applicants was made on the basis of their well-conceived and clear presentation of the research and proposed fieldwork. We look forward to reading their fieldwork reports on completion. The recipients describe their research projects below. Many thanks to our 2022 Fieldwork Grants Scheme prize panel: Noel Lobley, Jennifer Post and Amanda Villepastour (Chair).

Budhaditya Bhattacharyya (Durham University)

Following the passing of the British Nationality Act, 1948—which gave all Commonwealth citizens free entry into Britain—there was a major spike in immigration from South Asia through the 1970s and 80s, a large part being from the Bengal delta region. In order to help develop a better musical understanding of the political underpinnings of 20th-century multicultural Britain, my multilingual project primarily involving Sylheti, Bengali and English, foregrounds diasporic memory to listen to previously unheard histories of how these women and men mobilised their musical capital to exert citizenship and identity in 20th-century Britain, took refuge in musical practices to sustain personal and familial intimacies; and thereby paved the way for younger generations to express their ‘British-Bengaliness’, through a neo-localised musical consciousness.

Rose Campion (Keble College Oxford)

My project explores the creative and social processes of intercultural music programmes with forced migrants in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.  The guiding question is how state-funded music-making programmes can empower participant agency both in and beyond the performance space. Beginning in 2015, German civil society initiated arts programmes alongside those in housing, healthcare, and education to promote the social and cultural integration of forced migrants. While many organisations tout music’s value as a “universal language” that “crosses borders”, they rarely acknowledge that music can also reinforce existing constructions of difference.

 

 

Laura Spence (RHUL)

Despite the extensive range of anthropological studies on food production and consumption, there is comparatively little ethnomusicological research that examines the relationship between music and food within a socio-cultural context. ‘Musical Niches and the Foodways of Chilean Wine,’ strives to explore musical niches created by the foodways of wine production and consumption in Chile, within three interconnected contexts: 1. Annual local Vendimias (wine harvest) festivals held in Chile’s wine growing regions; 2. Wine tours and tastings held within the grounds of vineyards; and 3. Privately-run wine tasting events organised by vendors and/or wine enthusiasts. These fieldwork sites represent a surprisingly multifaceted cooptation of musical cultures; including the use of sound in the fermentation process itself.

 

We thrilled to officially announce the launch of the BFE Podcast Project, which aims at distributing exciting audio publications on ethnomusicological topics. Music affects us all: be that because we are active musicians, because we love listening to music or just because it accompanies us through our daily lives. The BFE believes that research on music of the world by researchers from all cultures should be shared with a broad audience - across social, ethnic and geographic boundaries, for each and everyone.

There are three podcast formats: 

All of them are presented as (A) sequenced programmes, B) interviews, or C) on location features. Examples for these podcast types can be found here: Podcast Guidelines.

Our podcasts can be streamed on computers, tablets or smartphones via our SoundCloud player.

If you are interested in submitting a podcast, please follow the link to submit a podcast here: this page will provide you with the necessary information including our guidelines on how to create and publish your podcast. Our Podcast Team will be happy to help you at any times: send your queries to podcastsatbfe.org.uk.

At the up-coming BFE Autumn Conference, there will be a BFE Podcast Panel presented, which is followed by a mini-workshop on how to produce BFE podcasts.

We look forward to hearing, and sharing, your stories!
 

Pages