News archive

Liselotte Sels is currently working on her PhD in Arts at the University College Ghent, in collaboration with Ghent University. Her research focuses on the manifestations of Turkish folk music in the diasporic context of the city of Ghent (Belgium). The project is not only about the analysis of the musical expressions and their meanings and functions but will also facilitate diverse kinds of new music in collaboration with other relevant composers (to “deconstruct Turkish Folk music”). Read more here. Recently, Sels has gone to Turkey for further fieldwork which aimed at mapping the manifestations (repertoire and performance modes), meanings and functions of Turkish folk music in different regions and contexts relevant to the manifestations in Ghent.  

The Memory of the World Programme was launched by UNESCO in 1992 to ‘guard against collective amnesia by through the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination.‘ The Memory of the World Register covers all types of material and support, including stone, celluloid, parchment, audio recordings and more. More details about the Register are here. Richard Ranft, Head of Sound and Vision with a team of colleagues, submitted a detailed proposal nominating the Library’s Historic Ethnographic Recordings to the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Committee last year. The Historic Ethnographic Recordings collection contains many rare early recordings made by linguists and musicologists from around the world capturing the music and speech of different cultures. 

You can hear one of the recordings here. Another example of a recording on wax cylinder featuring an English Folk Dance is here

In May 2011, Kevin Dawe was appointed to (Full) Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Leeds (The first position of its kind at Leeds.) He has worked at Leeds for nine years and in that time helped to establish the only specialist degree programme in popular and world musics. Since then there has been a steady cohort of PhD students, among several other developments. Kevin's publications include the monographs, The New Guitarscape (Ashgate, 2010) and Music and Musicians in Crete (Scarecrow 2007), the edited collection, Island Musics (Berg, 2004), and the co-edited collections, The Mediterranean in Music (Scarecrow, 2005) and Guitar Cultures (Berg, 2001). He is currently carrying out research on the guitar in Turkey funded by the British Academy, writing a book on the ecomusicology of guitar making, and progressing two edited collections in related areas. Congratulations! 

Beginning in 2012, the journal The World of Music will be hosted by the Department of Musicology of the Georg August-University Goettingen and edited by Birgit Abels (Goettingen) and Barbara Alge (Rostock) in Germany. More information and a call for papers for the free issue appearing in winter 2012 will soon be circulated.

In April 2012, Birgit Abels was appointed full professor of Cultural Musicology / Ethnomusicology at the Georg-August University in Göttingen (Germany). In her research, she focuses on the performing arts of the Pacific and the Southeast Asian iIslands and North India. Read more about it on her homepage or the departmental page of the university. 


Frances Wilkins, who is Visiting Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Scottish Music at the University of Aberdeen, has recently been awarded a small Research Grant in the Arts and Humanities from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The grant will be used for initial research into the fiddle music of James Bay, Ontario, and its links to the musical traditions of the Orkney Islands. She will be visiting the Orkney Islands and Canada in late 2011 to conduct field and archive-based research. Updates on her research will be published on her website


A Biographical Memoir of Dr Laurence Ernest Rowland Picken (1909 - 2007), ethnomusicologist and Honorary Member of BFE, has been published in Proceedings of the British Academy 166, 227 – 255. Published by the British Academy, December 2010.

Dr Thomas Hilder has recently been awarded a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London for his thesis Sámi Soundscapes: Music and the Politics of Indigeneity in Arctic Europe, under the supervision of Prof. Tina K. Ramnarine. His doctoral research investigates the interplay of contemporary popular musical performance of the Sámi of Northern Scandinavia, and the politics of indigeneity, and is based on eighteen months of multi-sited ethnographic research in Norway. Drawing on debates within the fields of anthropology, geography, political theory and postcolonial studies, his thesis focuses in particular on music’s role in reviving Sámi identity, language and culture, commenting on processes of nation building, cultural dispossession and environmental devastation, and working towards building a transnational Sámi community and cosmopolitan global indigenous network. Thomas is now conducting research on music in queer activism in Berlin as a guest researcher at the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin.


Soundscapes of Rostock, An Ethnomusicological Exploration of City Sound' was a research project led by Dr Barbara Alge and Dr Frances Wilkins during the winter semester 2010-2011 at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (HMT) Rostock and in collaboration with students and staff at the HMT and the University of Technology, Business and Design Wismar. Based on soundscape theories developed by Raymond Murray Schafer, the aim of the project was to capture and record sounds, musical and environmental, which in some way identified the different districts of Rostock - anything from political rallies and street musicians in the city centre to electric doors, Christmas market, and industrial sounds. This was carried out over five months between October 2010 and February 2011 and has resulted in a substantial and important collection of audio and video recordings, photographs, fieldnotes, and transcriptions. The website includes detailed information on the project, including project 
news, soundmap, and texts about theoretical approaches, methodology, and reflections on fieldwork. Visit website.

Razia Sultanova, Research fellow at the University of Cambrige has been awarded a grant by the British Council to continue her research in Afghanistan. The grant is specifically aimed to 
produce a book entitled 'Popular Culture in Afghanistan' which Razia is co-writing with Professor Shafiqa Yarqin from the University of Kabul. 

Many congratulations!