Welcome from Simon McKerrell, 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

Deadline for Nominations: Friday 16 March 2018


Dear BFE members,

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology seeks nominations for election for 5 positions on the BFE Committee. The terms of some current members of the BFE Committee members are coming an end; some Committee members will be standing down while others intend to stand for re-election.

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 roles for committee members in this election round are:

  1. Conference Liaison Co-Officer

The Conference Liaison Co-Officers (Dr Stephen Wilford will remain in post as one of these) are jointly responsible for:

  • organizing the BFE’s Annual and One-Day conferences, study days and other events in conjunction with local conference arrangement committees.
  • representing the BFE at the January BFE–RMA Research Students’ Conference (each January), at meetings of the RMA Flagship Conferences Subcommittee (2 or 3 per year), and through regular correspondence with the RMA and other subject associations (e.g., Analytical Approaches to World Music, Société Française d’Ethnomusicologie).
  • providing oral reports on conference activities at BFE committee meetings

2) Membership Liaison Officer

This role includes:

  • Developing strong relations between the membership and the Committee.
  • Working on membership and marketing initiatives in conjunction with Taylor & Francis, the BFE Administrator (Dr Morgan Davies) and the Membership Administrator (Dr Ruard Absaroka).

3) Treasurer

This role includes:

  • Being responsible for all aspects of managing the finances of the BFE, working closely with the BFE Administrator.
  • Preparing a financial report at the end of each year. Previous experience of accounting is desirable.

4) Website Administrator

This role includes:

  • Being responsible for all aspects of the running of the BFE website and email accounts. Previous web experience and IT knowledge (Drupal, CiviCRM etc.) is desirable.

5) Prizes Officer

This role includes:

  • Being responsible for coordinating the announcements and panels for the various BFE awards and prizes (e.g. Book Prize, Fieldwork Grants, Student Prize, Conference Bursaries).

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. 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 5 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 Barley Norton (BFE Chair) chairatbfe.org.uk (chairatbfe.org.uk) by the end of Friday 16 March 2018.

In order to vote you need to be a current member so please renew your membership for 2018 if you have not done so already. Online voting will take place soon after the deadline for nominations and results will be announced at the AGM at the annual conference at Newcastle University on Saturday 14 April. I look forward to seeing many of you in Newcastle.


Barley Norton, BFE Chair



The BFE is a nominating body for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 and it is important for us to nominate ethnomusicologists to be panel members for REF 2021. The BFE Committee wants to ensure an open and transparent process regarding our subject association’s nomination of panel members, which meets our equality and diversity ambitions as a subject association. REF 2021’s invitation to nominate candidates states, "The funding bodies are seeking nominations of candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, institution types and geographical region. We particularly welcome nominations of candidates from groups previously under-represented on assessment panels, including women, people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, and disabled people”.

We would like to invite any member of the BFE to nominate themselves, or another member (with their prior agreement), to email the BFE Chair by Tuesday 21st November 2017 (chairatbfe.org.uk). When emailing the Chair please provide a short expression of interest, briefly outlining suitability for the role. The BFE Committee will then consider all nominated individuals in preparing our list of nominations to submit to HEFCE before the deadline of 20th December 2017.



British Forum for Ethnomusicology One-Day Conference
‘Listening to Difference’: Music and Multiculturalism
21st October 2017
Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge

*** Registration Open ***

The University of Cambridge is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the British Forum for Ethnomusicology’s One-Day conference to be held at the Faculty of Music on the 21st October 2017. Entitled “‘Listening to Difference’: Music and Multiculturalism”, the conference will focus on the relationship between music and the politics, ideologies and social realities of multiculturalism. Music is closely intertwined with representations of difference, intercultural exchange and institutional strategies aimed at promoting liberal multiculturalism. It unveils the complex nature of social relations in multicultural societies at the level of day-to-day experience, as different cultural groups come into contact. Moving beyond the anti-multiculturalism discourses that have prevailed in the public and political domains, the conference examines how different social, ethnic and religious communities experience living together in multicultural societies.

We are delighted to announce that Prof. Tina K. Ramnarine will be our keynote speaker. She will present a paper entitled: ‘Celebratory Musical Multiculturalism’.

The draft programme is attached to this announcement and can also be downloaded from the conference website: https://bfeoneday2017.wordpress.com/programme-2/. Here you will also find details regarding accommodation and transport.

To register for the conference, please use the online booking system through Billeto:

Delegate fees are as follows (including lunch and refreshments):
•       Non-members: £25 + £1.53 booking fee
•       BFE members: £20 + £1.32 booking fee
•       Non-members reduced rate (students, unwaged and part-time employment): £15 + £1.11 booking fee
•       BFE members reduced rate: £12 + £0.98 booking fee

Please note that registration will close on the 14th October.

If you require any more information or have difficulties in booking a ticket, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers at: bfeoneday2017atgmail.com.

We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge!

On behalf of the conference committee,
Dr. Matthew Machin-Autenrieth
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow



The British Forum for Ethnomusicology invites submissions for the BFE Book Prize to recognize outstanding scholarship in ethnomusicology written in English. Both monographs and edited volumes published in 2016 or 2017 will be eligible for the 2018 prize. (Co)authors and (co)editors must all be BFE members at the time of submission, while contributors to edited collections are welcome to join: https://bfe.org.uk/join-bfe

No book may be entered more than once for this prize. This prestigious award will be presented at the BFE annual conference at the University of Newcastle from 12-15 April 2018 and carries a prize of £100. The winner of the prize will also be invited to be on the panel for the next book prize.

To enter, please send THREE copies of the nominated book, together with a brief biography of the author(s)/editor(s) and contact email address by post to the Chair below. If the book is published as an ebook, or is only published as an ebook, then this will be eligible for submission and three hard copies will not be required. For ebook submissions, the Chair of the Prize Committee must be provided with full details of electronic access before the deadline (along with the brief biography of author(s)/editor(s) and contact email address), so that all the three members of the prize committee can access the ebook. If the committee experiences problems with accessing ebooks then the submission may be disqualified.

Deadline: Friday 10 November 2017 at the latest. Hard copies of books must be received before this deadline. In the case of ebooks full access details must emailed to the Chair before the deadline.

For books scheduled to be published in November or December 2017, a pdf of the entire book manuscript can be submitted by the 10 November deadline to the Committee Chair by email, followed by submission of three printed copies of the book (or ebook access) asap after publication. Regrettably, the prize committee will not be able to return the hard copies of books submitted for the prize.

Contact Details for BFE Book Prize Submissions:

Dr Frederick Moehn

Committee Chair, BFE Book Prize

Music Department King’s College London

2C, South East Block

Strand, London


United Kingdom




The BFE Student Prize for 2017 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Sheffield (20-23 April 2017). We are delighted to award the prize to Hamidreza Salehyar of University of Toronto, and to give honourable mention to Lyndsey Hoh of Oxford University: their papers are described below. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted a paper this year, and encourage students to submit papers for next year’s conference at the University of Newcastle in 2018. Please see our BFE Student Prize Awards page for more information.


Beyond Resistance and Subordination: The Paradox of Popular Music in Shi’ite Rituals in Post-Revolutionary Iran - Hamidreza Salehyar

This well-written and convincingly-argued analysis of Shi’a Muharram mourning rituals examines the controversial spaces where popular music influences religious life. Using clear language to convey complex ideas, the author articulates a dialectical, rather than binary approach to religion, politic ideologies  and popular culture. It is a valuable contribution to the discipline as a troubling of scholarly hierarchies of the religious and the popular, and will be a useful resource to anyone studying contemporary Islam.


Brass Instruments in Benin and Experiences of the Historical - Lyndsey Hoh

This sophisticated and compelling paper examines the multiple cultural meanings of brass instruments in post-colonial Africa. Based on a phenomenological approach and extensive ethnographic evidence from interviews, the author makes the case that these instruments hold unique value in Benin. Arguing that brass instruments constitute “entangled objects” (Thomas 1991) and “imperial degree” (Stoler 2013), the paper is an innovative and original contribution to organology.