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

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.





BFE/RMA Research Students’ Conference: Music Inside and Out
University of Huddersfield, 4-6 January 2018
Submissions are invited for the 2018 BFE/RMA Research Students’ Conference, to be held 4-6 January at the Department of Music and Music Technology at the University of Huddersfield. The event welcomes UK and international postgraduates to present their research in an inclusive, friendly, and supportive atmosphere. Professor Kevin Dawe (University of Kent) and Dr Katherine Hambridge (University of Durham) will be the keynote speakers. Further details are available in the call for papers attached below.