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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

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 (

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 (

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:

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!

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: