Monthly Archives: April 2016

City Staff and Students Feature Prominently at the British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference

Posted by Sam MacKay, Music PhD Student

Current and former City lecturers and students featured strongly in the recent annual conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, held 14-17 April at the University of Kent. The 4 day event is the pre-eminent meeting for ethnomusicologists based in the UK and is among the most significant events in the field globally. This year’s conference took place at the Historic Dockyards in Chatham and brought together over 100 international scholars under the theme of “New Currents in Ethnomusicology”.

Presentations from City-based researchers included Dr Laudan Nooshin (Reader in Ethnomusicology) on music and cyberspace in Iran and Sam Mackay (PhD student) on music and the symbolic economy in Marseille. Dr Nooshin was also awarded the prestigious BFE Book Prize for her recent monograph Iranian Classical Music. The Discourses and Practice of Creativity.

In another success for the City research community, PhD student Stephen Wilford was elected as the BFE’s new Conference Liaison Co-officer. The role includes organising the BFE’s conferences, study days and other events and contributing proactively to the organisation’s strategies and initiatives.

The conference also featured presentations from numerous former City students including Barley Norton (current BFE Chair), Hwee San Tan, Andy Pace and Richard Lightman.

City Alumnus Andy Pace Presenting

City Alumnus Andy Pace Presenting


Current Music PhD Student, Sam MacKay

Current Music PhD Student, Sam MacKay


Laudan Nooshin Receiving her Award

Laudan Nooshin Receiving her Award

Laudan Nooshin Wins Book Prize

Dr Laudan Nooshin, Reader in the Department of Music, has been awarded the 2016 British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) Book Prize for her monograph, Iranian Classical Music: The Discourse and Practice of Creativity (Ashgate, 2015). This prestigious prize is awarded every two years in recognition of outstanding scholarship in the field of ethnomusicology – the study of music in cultural contexts.

Iranian Classical Music is a study of musical creativity. It explores the ways in which musicians and others in Iran talk about creativity and the processes by which new music comes into being. As well as seeking to understand the relationship between discourse and practice, this is the first book to examine how ideas about tradition, authenticity, innovation and modernity form part of wider social discourses on musical creativity in Iranian music, most notably in relation to debates on national and cultural identity.

Dr Laudan Nooshin

Dr Nooshin (above right) said: “I’m honoured and delighted to receive this award. The research for the book started almost 30 years ago so it has been a very long journey – and this is such a nice way for my part of the journey to end. The book will hopefully continue its own journey as it is read by others! Of course, I have many people to thank, including the amazing musicians without whom the book wouldn’t have been possible, the publishing team at Ashgate, my wonderful colleagues, peers and senior scholars for their support and encouragement, and above all my family.”

Dr Amanda Villepastour from Cardiff University (above left) also received a commendation for her book The Yorùbá God of Drumming: Transatlantic Perspectives on the Wood that Talks.

The BFE prize committee said Dr Nooshin’s book was a unanimous choice for the award, which carries a £100 prize. The BFE said: “Iranian Classical Music is the product of a long journey from PhD to recent research, revisited in the light of post-colonial theory, and interrogates many aspects of theory through the lens of the study of musicians and their practices. It aims to understand musical creativity as meaningful social practice, to find an approach through Iranian creative practice that overcomes the composition/improvisation dualism and undoes the logic of alterity.

“As well as the detailed engagement and analysis of Iranian music, this monograph is located within a theoretical discourse that includes issues relevant to all ethnomusicological research, including a critique of binaries (ethno/musicology, West/East, folk/art, us/them, individual/collective), connections between musical and linguistic cognitive processes, music/linguistic grammars, the motor/body creative impetus, and defining terminology when moving between languages. “The structure of the book is clear and logical and the notational examples are fully supported with an included CD. The writing style is very clear, dealing with complex issues and explaining them, showing great awareness of issues of language and communication with a wide readership.”

Iranian Classical Music book cover

Dr Nooshin recently published two book chapters relating to her ongoing research on Iranian popular music and culture. The chapters are: Jazz and its Social Meanings in Iran: From Cultural Colonialism to the Universal, in the book Jazz Worlds/World Jazz; and Discourses of Religiosity in Post-1998 Iranian Popular Music, in Islam and Popular Culture.

New Publications by Laudan Nooshin

Two book chapters relating to Laudan Nooshin’s ongoing research on Iranian popular music and culture have just been published:

‘Jazz and its Social Meanings in Iran: From Cultural Colonialism to the Universal’, in Philip V. Bohlman, Goffredo Plastino and Travis Jackson (eds.), Jazz Worlds/World Jazz. Chicago University Press. 2016.

‘Discourses of Religiosity in Post-1998 Iranian Popular Music’, in Karin van Nieuwkerk, Mark LeVine and Martin Stokes (eds.), Islam and Popular Culture. Texas University Press. 2016.


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