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

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!

Registration for the 2020 BFE One-day Conference is now open! This year's One-day Conference is scheduled to take place online via Zoom on Saturday 7th November, and will be hosted by the University of Lincoln. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

The committee for the upcoming BFE-RMA Research Students’ Conference to be held at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge (12–14 January 2021), have decided to extend the deadline for call for proposals given the continued uncertainty around the pandemic. The new deadline will be the 12th October 2020. Please see the attached call for proposals for guidelines on submissions. If you have any questions, please contact:

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 BFE One-day Conference will take place online on Saturday 7th November 2020, and will be hosted by the University of Lincoln. The deadline for paper and panel proposals is 5pm UK time on 14th August 2020, and the Call for Papers can be found here: