Over the past few months, Dr Laudan Nooshin (Head of Department) has presented a number of keynote presentations and conference papers, including at the International Council for Traditional Music conference in Limerick, Ireland, in July and the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September. Laudan also presented an invited keynote paper at the conference ‘Tracking the Creative Process in Music’ at the University of Huddersfield in September. Her paper was entitled ‘The Elephant and the Blind Men: Myth-Making, Tracking and Musical Creativity’.
More recently, on October 21st, Laudan presented a joint paper with Professor Amanda Bayley from Bath Spa University, at the annual One-Day conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, on the conference theme ‘”Listening to Difference”: Music and Multiculturalism’.
Their paper was entitled ‘Whose Difference? Whose “Multiculturalism?”’ and was a critique of some of the current discourses around music and multiculturalism. In particular, the paper argued that such discourses are founded on a view of culture as relatively stable and bounded, rather than as a fluid and ongoing process, and that culture should be understood as a verb – as something that people do – rather than a noun. Just as Christopher Small argued for the notion of ‘musicking’, we perhaps need to talk about ‘culturing’. The paper explored the power relations at play in such discourses and asked whether language of ‘multiculturalism’ reinforces or transcends difference. Since all cultures are ‘multi’, the prefix is arguably redundant. The paper asked who stands to gain and who to lose from the idea of distinct cultures as the starting point for a supposedly relatively new thing called ‘multiculturalism’.