Welcome from Barley Norton, Chair of the BFE

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) aims to advance the study of musical life in its full richness and diversity.

We provide a forum for engaging in debate and sharing the findings of research through our many conferences and study days and through the publication of our journal Ethnomusicology Forum, in association with Routledge.

We offer awards to recognize outstanding scholarship, including the BFE Book Prize and grants and prizes for student members.

If you would like to keep in touch with BFE news, activities and events please join our email list and follow our social media site

Membership is open to anyone interested in the study of music and dance from all parts of the world. If you are interested in becoming a BFE member please click here for information about the benefits of membership.

Thanks for visiting our website and please contact us if you would like to know more. 


Thursday evening reception at the 2017 BFE Annual Conference in Sheffield (photo by Kate Walker)


British Forum for Ethnomusicology News

The preliminary programme for the 2017 Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology is now online, and can be accessed at the following link to the conference website:


Our annual conference will be hosted this year by the University of Sheffield, and takes place from 20-23 April 2017. Registration is now open, and Early Bird registration rates are available until 10 March, after which all the prices will increase by 10%, so be sure to register in good time. Please also make sure your BFE Membership is current to take advantage of the lower conference rates for members.



British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Annual Conference

University of Sheffield, 20-23 April 2017

Registration is now open for the 2017 Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology: please visit the University of Sheffield’s Online Store (http://onlineshop.shef.ac.uk/conferences-events/faculty-of-arts-and-huma...). Early Bird registration rates are only available until 10 March, after which all the prices will increase by 10%, so be sure to register in good time. Please also make sure your BFE Membership (https://bfe.org.uk/join-bfe) is current to take advantage of the lower conference rates for members.

We would like to invite you especially to take part in the Conference Dinner (http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/music/research/conferences/bfe-2017/dinner-party) on the Saturday evening. The venue is Inox Dine on the top floor of the University of Sheffield’s prize-winning Students’ Union, with fine views over the city and a menu that has won rave reviews on TripAdvisor and elsewhere. The traditional BFE party and jam session will follow immediately in the same venue. The event offers delegates an opportunity to meet together in a dedicated venue with lots of room for circulating and socialising, in preference to Sheffield’s city centre restaurants which can be very full on a Saturday night. The dinner is available for the extremely reasonable cost of £30 for waged attendees and £20 for student and unwaged attendees, bookable at registration through the Online Store, and you are welcome to reserve additional places for spouses or other companions.

Another highlight of the conference is the Friday evening concert by tabla master Yogesh Samshi, whose playing the Washington Post has called “as intricate as a Bach fugue and as ecstatic as a rave-club crescendo.” Tickets are being offered to conference delegates at the reduced price of £10, or £6 for students, again through the Online Store.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Keynote Speaker will be Professor Michael Bakan of Florida State University. As the author of a much-acclaimed monograph on a very modern form of traditional music (Music of Death and New Creation: Experiences in the World of Balinese Gamelan Beleganjur, Chicago, 2000), a composer of new music using traditional instruments and resources, and author of the widely-used textbook World Music: Traditions and Transformations, Professor Bakan is ideally qualified to offer insights on our conference’s special “talking point”, Tradition Today. The title of his Keynote Speech is “The Moral of the Story: Making Ethnomusicology Matter in the 21st Century”.

The conference will be held in the University of Sheffield’s new Diamond building, a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility immediately adjacent to the Music Department. While there is no mandatory conference theme, the BFE conference is immediately preceded by a one-day conference at Sheffield (19 April 2017) that culminates a large-scale research project on Digital Folk (https://www.digitalfolk.org/digital-folk-conference/). We envisage that some delegates will wish to attend both events and that one strand of discussion at the BFE conference will expand the focus of the one-day conference by connecting it with broader explorations of “Tradition Today”. At the same time, we welcome presentations of new research in any area of ethnomusicology.

Registration for the Digital Folk Conference (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digital-folk-conference-tickets-30949469697) is now open—and free!

For further details see the BFE 2017 Annual Conference Website:


If you have any queries please contact BFE2017atsheffield.ac.uk



The BFE is proud to announce its Call For Papers for the 2017 BFE One-Day Conference, 'Listening To Difference: Music and Multiculturalism', which will be held on Saturday 21st October 2017 at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge. We invite proposals of individual papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes questions) or panels of three related papers (90 minutes in total including questions). Abstracts should be sent to bfeoneday2017atgmail.com by 5pm on Monday 8th May. Full details of the CFP are now available in the 'Conferences' section of the BFE website, and can be found here.



Following the recent call for applications to the BFE Fieldwork Grant scheme to support doctoral researchers in ethnomusicology, we are delighted to announce that three fieldwork grants have been awarded for 2017. It was a hotly contested scheme this year, with a very high standard of applications, but huge congratulations to Sophia Frankford, Pablo Infante-Amate and Katie Young, who are the 2017 grant recipients. Read about Sophia, Pablo and Katie’s research projects here and we look forward to hearing more from them when they return from the field.

Barley Norton

Chair, British Forum for Ethnomusicology



BFE Fieldwork Grants

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) is pleased to announce the opening of the 2017 Fieldwork Grant scheme.

Purpose of the Grants

The BFE Fieldwork Grants are intended to support doctoral candidates conducting ethnomusicological field research in the UK and abroad through making a contribution towards the costs of travel and subsistence. Up to 3 grants collectively totalling up to £1500 will be awarded for the 2017 scheme.


The BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme is open to all students enrolled on a PhD programme at a university in the UK who are conducting ethnomusicological research. Please note that applicants must have renewed their student membership for 2017 in order to be eligible to apply. If you have not renewed your membership yet then please do so on the bfe website. Only one application per person is permitted and fieldwork must start during 2017.


The criteria of evaluation are: the quality, originality and significance of the research and its potential contribution to ethnomusicological knowledge, theory and debate; the feasibility and importance of the fieldwork for achieving the stated research aims and outcomes; the need of the applicant, i.e. the likelihood of the applicant being unable to obtain fieldwork funding from other sources. There is no preference for particular geographical areas or topics.

Application Procedure

Applications must be made online through the BFE website. To make an application, go to BFE Fieldwork Grants Scheme page on the BFE website. There you will find a link to the BFE Fieldwork Grant Application Form where you will need to upload the following materials:

  1. A letter addressing the grant criteria. The letter should also provide a clear indication of: the fieldwork schedule; the expected costs; the amount of funding requested from the BFE scheme; and other sources of research funding received and/or applied for. The letter must not exceed 2 pages in length.
  2. A short CV, not exceeding 1 page in length.
  3. A short reference letter, not exceeding 1 page in length, in support of the application from the applicant’s PhD supervisor. Supervisors may wish to send their reference letter by email directly to the Chair at chairatbfe.org.uk before the deadline (i.e.  end of Friday 18 November).

Please note that in order to access the online BFE Fieldwork Grant Application Form you must have renewed your membership for 2017 and be logged-in to your account on the BFE website. If you have any difficulties with the online submission please email Morgan Davies at adminatbfe.org.uk

Application Deadline and Decision Notification

Applications must be submitted by email by the end of Friday 18 November 2016. Applications will be evaluated by a BFE panel and applicants will be informed of the outcome of the awards by Monday 12 December 2016. The decision of the panel is final, and the BFE regrets that it is unable to provide feedback on applications and decisions made by the panel.

Payment of Grants for Successful Applications

Successful applicants must liaise with the BFE Treasurer (bfetreasureratgmail.com) before grants are disbursed. Payment will be made via bank transfer.

Post-Award Reports

Successful applicants are requested to submit a short fieldwork report – up to 500 words in length, accompanied by other media materials if appropriate – within 3 months after the completion of the fieldwork. Fieldwork reports are likely to be made public on the BFE website, social media etc. Grant awardees may also be requested to do a short presentation about their fieldwork at BFE meetings such as the AGM. Any publications resulting from the fieldwork should acknowledge receipt of a BFE Fieldwork Grant.  


Barley Norton

Chair, BFE