On Saturday November 29th, the Music Department at City University London hosted the 2014 one-day conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, on the theme of ‘Ethnomusicology and the City’. The event was convened by Stephen Cottrell and Laudan Nooshin, and was attended by about 80 people from the UK and abroad.
The first morning session comprised papers on Berlin, Mexico City and Paris, presented by Philip Alexander (SOAS), Andrew Green (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Griffith Rollerson (University College Cork). This was followed (after the coffee break) by two papers on Smyrna and Birmingham, both covering issues related to Greek and Greek-Cypriot culture and memory of place, and presented by Eleni Kallimopoulou (University of Macedonia, Greece) and Michalis Poupazis (University College Cork).
The afternoon began with three presentations of a more applied nature: the first mapping Brazilian diasporic music in Madrid (Gabril Hoskin, Queen’s University Belfast); the second discussing research on online communities and distribution of music using Soundcloud (Byron Dueck, Open University, Daniel Allington, Open University and Anna Jordanous, University of Kent); and the third discussing the recording of Limerick’s soundscapes (Tony Langlois, University of Limerick and Aileen Dillane, University of Limerick). This was followed by a joint session on diasporic music of Tamils and Algerians in London (Steve Wilford, City University London and Jasmine Hornabrook, Goldsmiths College, University of London).
The day concluded with a roundtable session with guest speakers Richard Elliott (University of Sussex), John Drever (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and Byron Dueck (Open University), summarising the day’s events and exploring what ethnomusicology can bring to the study of music in the city.
All in all, the conference was a great way for us as students to see first-hand what sort of research, theories and discussion are happening currently within the ethnomusicology community, to meet the doers and shakers within it, and begin to forge ties and bonds with those of similar interests.