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10 Jun 2019
The BFE Student Prize for 2019 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen (11-14 April 2019). The decision this year was extremely difficult given the high quality of the papers submitted and the diversity of approaches. We are delighted to award the prize to Vicky Tadros (SOAS, University of London) whose paper is described below. Given the difficult decision-making process, this year the selection committee would like to give commendations to the following authors (papers listed below): Lorenzo Chiarofonte; Hamidreza Salehyar; and Mark Aranha, Cara Stacey, Bronwen Clacherty and Kristy Stone. We would like to thank everyone who submitted a paper this year and encourage students to submit papers for next year’s conference at Bath Spa University in 2020.
Vicky Tadros: ‘Negotiating the Private: Car Listening Culture and Emirati Values’
This ethnographically-rich and well researched paper examines musical listening practices in the autonomous space of the car, focusing on extensive fieldwork conducted in the United Arab Emirates. Noting its high symbolic value in Emirati culture, Tadros argues that the car also functions as a central space for listening behaviours in the UAE. She contends that unlike in alternative private spheres, the car is a flexible space in which Emiratis can express contemporary values while at the same time adhering to the traditional expectations experienced in public and home settings. The car, in effect, becomes a third space in which individuals can negotiate conflicting ethical ideals around religion, modernity and sexuality. For example, Tadros draws on interviews with LGBTQ Emiratis who view the car as a ‘safe’ space in which they can express, through music, their own sexuality, which would otherwise be hidden from view in other contexts. But rather than viewing the car solely as an individualistic space, Tadros also explores the impact of state-sanctioned religious ethics that filter into the car and influence listening behaviours. In particular, she focuses on how Emiratis experience the sonic infiltration of the adhan into the private space of the car. Given the adhan’s position outside the domain of music, its sonic presence in the car creates an ‘ethical crossroads’ for listeners. They are forced to make personal ethical choices on how they respond to the public sounding of the adhan in the private space – to adhere to religious ethics of listening by turning down the radio or to choose musical content above religious norms. As Tadros notes, this poses the question: Madonna or Mohammed?
Tadros’ paper is well written and meticulously researched. She beautifully interweaves theory and ethnographic material into her analysis. The paper makes important contributions to sound studies, ethnomusicological research on the Middle East and the study of sound and listening in the Islamic world. In exploring the neglected space of the car, Tadros shows how listening behaviours can complicate assumed theoretical binaries between the public and the private. The paper is lively and engaging, and was a pleasure to read. It is a valuable contribution to the field.
Lorenzo Chiarofonte: ‘To Ko Gyi Kyaw: Music Structures, Interaction Processes, and Performance Context of a Burmese nat-chin’
Hamidreza Salehyar: ‘Nationalist Islamism, Transnational Shi’ism, and Rituals of Martyrdom in Iran’
Mark Aranha, Cara Stacey, Bronwen Clacherty, & Kristy Stone: ‘Ife and Bilal: An Intercultural, Practice-Based Intervention’
Dr Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (chair), Dr Rachel Harris, Dr Steve Wilford
Ethnomusicologist and BFE committee member Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz (Music and Music Technology, Keele) has co-edited a volume entitled Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture and Politics, which was released this May by Routledge. Congratulations Fiorella!
This interdisciplinary volume showcases recent ethnographic research on middle- and upper-class citizenship in contemporary Latin America. It explores how the region’s middle and upper classes constitute themselves as citizens through politics and culture, and questions how these processes interact with the construction of difference and commonality, division and unity. Subsequently, this collection highlights how elite citizenships are constructed in dialogue with other identities, how these co-constructions reproduce or challenge inequality, and whether they have the potential to bring about change.
Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes will appeal to scholars, advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in fields such as Latin American Studies, Citizenship Studies, Political Science, Ethnomusicology and Cultural Studies; and to a general readership interested in Latin American politics and society.
For more information and to purchase Fiorella’s co-edited volume, click on this link to the Routledge website.
Call for BFE Membership Administrator
Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Friday 7th June 2019
The British Forum for Ethnomusicology is seeking a part-time Membership Administrator.
This role may suit someone who has administrative experience within academia and familiarity with the discipline of ethnomusicology (these are desirable but not essential). The successful applicant will work in conjunction with the current membership administrator (BFE Treasurer Ruard Absaroka) to become familiarized with the role.
The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate some prior understanding of what the job responsibilities will entail and how these could be developed. The candidate will also be confident with a range of IT applications and will be able to demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.
Membership administration tasks include (but are not limited to):
• maintaining the membership lists on the BFE website (in collaboration with the Web Administrator, Treasurer and Administrator), including monitoring and recording correct receipt of membership subs and periodically sending an updated list of current members to the publisher.
• communication: scheduling membership renewal reminders; providing occasional general support and advice on request for BFE members; helping manage other email correspondence between the committee and membership
• working on general membership administration and developing membership-related initiatives (in conjunction with the Treasurer, Administrator and BFE Committee)
The successful applicant will be expected to commence work in this role on 1st September 2019. The total amount of assistance to be contracted will initially average 2 hours per week, and the rate of pay is £14.00 per hour (c. £1,456 p.a.). This is a flexible arrangement on the understanding that some periods of the year and weeks will be more intensive than others. While most tasks are routine, there may be occasional urgent tasks where a rapid response is required. Following on-the-job training the role will eventually expand to approximately double this time commitment and remuneration.
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.
All enquiries should be directed to the BFE Administrator Morgan Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applicants should email an expression of interest and a short CV (not more than 2 pages in length) to BFE Chair Simon McKerrell (email@example.com) by Friday 7th June 2019.
Informal interviews will take place during the week commencing Monday 1st July 2019.
Simon McKerrell, BFE Chair
7 May 2019
The British Forum for Ethnomusicology seeks nominations for election for a new position on the BFE Committee. This role is intended to consolidate and develop the BFE’s current outreach activities.
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 role for a committee member in this election round is:
This role includes:
- Working with the Committee and the membership to develop and deliver sustainable outreach initiatives.
- Liaising with relevant subject associations and other academic organisations to advocate for the BFE and to develop fruitful partnerships.
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. This proposal must 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 two roles listed above - you would like to be nominated for;
- a statement outlining why you think you are suitable for being a member of the BFE Committee, highlighting relevant skills, experience, or previous time served on the Committee.
Nominations must be sent by email to Simon McKerrell (BFE Chair) chairbfe.org.uk (chairbfe.org.uk) by the end of Friday 7th June 2019.
In order to vote you need to be a current member so please renew your membership for 2019 if you have not done so already. Online voting will take place soon after the deadline for nominations and results will be announced shortly afterwards. We look forward to hearing from you!
Simon McKerrell, BFE Chair
We offer hearty congratulations to 2019 BFE Annual Conference Liaison Frances Wilkins, who was recently awarded a Research Incentive Grant from the Carnegie Trust for a 12 month project. The project commenced in September 2019 and focuses on researching sacred singing in the West Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. The research will primarily involve fieldwork in the region, in particular on the islands of Lewis, Harris, Skye, Raasay, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra and in Lochalsh. The aim is to record and analyse current practices, placing them historically and contemporaneously within the respective faith communities and understanding them in their social and cultural contexts.
Congratulations Frances! We look forward to finding out more about this rich and fascinating topic.
BFE Member Evanthia Patsiaoura has been awarded a two-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). In addition, Evanthia has been awarded a grant by the same institution for an eight-month research internship with the University of Manchester. Both grants are awarded for her multi-sited research project, entitled 'Musicking in the Spirit: worship, community and the making of locality among Nigerian Pentecostals in the diaspora'. We offer huge congratulations to Evanthia for her success!
This project employs multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork across Nigerian Pentecostal communities in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and social media platforms to understand ways in which local musicking informs the global circulation of popular religious movements. The research focuses on practices, experiences and perceptions of religious music-making to address broader issues of translocality, evangelism, identity and home-making in contemporary diasporas. Evanthia's research project is part of the FAPESP-funded Thematic Project 'Local musicking: new pathways for ethnomusicology', with Suzel Ana Reily as PI and Flávia Camargo Toni and Rose Satiko Hikiji as Co-PIs. A link to the Thematic Project description can be found on the FAPESP website.
22 Feb 2019
We are delighted to announce that a total of four fieldwork grants have been awarded for the 2019 BFE Fieldwork Grant Awards scheme. We offer huge congratulations to Graihagh Cordwell, Alice Rose, Chrysi Kyratsou and Jaana Serres, who are the 2019 grant recipients. The winners introduce their exciting and diverse research projects below, and we look forward to hearing more about their work when they return from the field.
Graihagh Cordwell (St John's College Oxford)
My project focuses on the role of musical activities of Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a camp established in 2012 as an emergency response to those fleeing the Syrian civil war, but now home to over 80,000 Syrian refugees. Notwithstanding difficult in-camp conditions, musical activities abound, ranging from private music making in the home to the digital download of music on mobile devices, and myriad music projects implemented by humanitarian organisations. My research will examine the multiple uses and functions of these musical practices and their significance for refugees in Zaatari. I also explore the place of humanitarianism and music in the camp, the advantages and implications of music projects implemented by humanitarian actors, and how those actors might provide effective and sensitive in-camp musical opportunities. More broadly, I aim to understand what music can reveal about the Syrian refugee experience and the protracted socio-cultural effects of the Syrian conflict.
Alice Rose (St Hilda's College Oxford)
My project focuses on the relationship between digital technologies and the production and consumption of Japanese Idol Pop, or JPop. My fieldwork will take me to the Kansai region of Japan, where I will research the online and offline practises of fans of two specific Japanese bands: NMB48 (the Namba-based sister group of the internationally famous AKB48) and Sekai No Owari, a more ‘alternative’ contemporary idol group. From online chatrooms and subscription mailing services to wotagei (ritualised chanting and dancing) and mimetic amateur performances, JPop fans exist in a hyper-technological consumer society, and yet place immense value on experiencing this music locally, tangibly and co-presently. Through this project, I hope to explore the overlap between the offline & the online, the material & the digital, and the local & the global.
Chrysi Kyratsou (Queen's University Belfast)
My project explores the musicking that takes places in refugee reception centres in Athens, Greece. Refugee reception centres are liminal places: placed on the ground of the potentially host society, yet their residents excluded from it. They are places contested, highly informed not only by the politics implemented, but by their residents’ cultures that are brought to coexist in precariousness, and the opposing poles of stability (due to the protracted stay) and mobility.
I’m interested in understanding the meanings embedded in certain musical practices, as well as the various encounters that may take place within this context. Focusing on musicking I look at the ways refugees’ aesthetic agencies are informed by their shifting backgrounds in which they live, and how they shape their sociality. I wish to provide insights in the refugees’ interactions and shaping relationships around various forms of musicking with refugees of different cultural background, or between them and people from the host society (present and active in reception centres, as volunteers, teachers, etc.), as they are waiting for their possible relocation. I’m particularly interested in figuring out the potential for multiple inclusions that participation in musicking may entail.
Jaana Serres (St Anne's College Oxford)
My research looks at the Nigerian music boom that has created a new wave of positive identification with Nigeria, and the African continent generally, in the past decade. The Nigerian music industry has benefitted from the development of digital technology and the expression of corporate interest by telecom companies, retail brands, and investment funds, thus making it an exemplary manifestation of a new pan-Africanism founded on private investment, or ‘Africapitalism’. Music entrepreneurship is flourishing in Lagos, embedded in a neoliberal discourse that postulates the branded self as a force that can performatively transform its circumstances and contribute to changing Africa’s place-in-the-world. My research will examine the interplay of individual, corporate, and collective aspirations in this attempt to overcome victimising narratives via commercial artistic practices. It will hopefully expand the discussion of the commodification of African culture from the issue of authenticity and reification to questions of agency, hope, and performativity.
18 Feb 2019
If you are a student or unwaged scholar who has been accepted to present a paper at the BFE's 2019 Annual Conference at the University of Aberdeen, and a member of the BFE, you are eligible for one of a limited number of bursaries to help defray the costs of attending, comprising a subsidy of up to £100. If you wish to apply, please send the following information to mm2085cam.ac.uk by 8th March.
- Title of conference paper as accepted
- Degree programme, institution, and year of study (where appropriate)
- Details of existing funding (eg. scholarships)
- Place travelling from
- Projected costs for travel, accommodation, and registration, with brief details
We will be allocating bursaries on needs basis, depending on location, projected costs etc.
BFE Conference Liaison Co-Officer
12 Feb 2019
The Royal Musical Association invites expressions of interest from UK universities and conservatoires in hosting the following future conferences:
BFE/RMA Research Students' Conference January 2022
For further details and application form please see
Updated hosting forms could be found here:
RMA Annual Conference September 2022
For further details please see
Updated hosting forms could be found here:
The Association values its conference partnerships with host universities and conservatoires across the country and wishes to work closely with each institution to ensure these ventures are mutually beneficial. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any point, should you require further information. Please feel free to circulate this notice to all who may be interested.
THE DEADLINE FOR PRELIMINARY SUBMISSIONS IS WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH 2019.
We look forward to receiving your expressions of interest.
With all good wishes, and many thanks,
Conferences Coordinator for the Royal Musical Association