‘Identities’: BFE and RMA Research Students’ Conference 2024

Call for Proposals

Cardiff University, School of Music

Conference dates: 10–12 January 2024

Call for Proposals deadline: 29 September 2023

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) and Royal Musical Association (RMA) Research Students’ Conference will be hosted by Cardiff University’s School of Music, on 10–12 January 2024. This will be a fully in-person event to allow networking and social interaction to take place, and to foster connections across a variety of music sub-disciplines. However, there may be some limited online provision for those participants for whom it would be difficult, logistically and/or financially, to attend in person.


The conference theme is ‘Identities’, inspired by Wales’s strong sense of place and national identity. However, our theme also encompasses identities in its broadest form, spanning the personal and local to wider geographical and cultural contexts. Therefore, the concept of identity is yours to explore, and we warmly welcome performance, composition and paper proposals that reflect on the concept of identities from a wide range of different perspectives. The theme is intended only as a stimulus: there is no requirement to make research fit into the theme, and all submissions will be treated equally on their merit whether they address it or not.

Performance-related sessions will take place in the Concert Hall where there are two Hamburg Steinway Model D pianos available, and a harpsichord on request. The conference ensemble will be Trio Anima (flute, viola and harp), which will play submitted compositions in a workshop and present an evening concert.

Presentations and workshops

The Research Students’ Conference is an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable experience presenting their work, whether compositions, both acoustic and electroacoustic, or research-led performances or papers, in a friendly and welcoming environment amongst peers and established academics. It caters for all areas of music research, including (although not limited to) historical musicology, ethnomusicology, popular music, music theory and analysis, electroacoustic music, composition and performance.

Alongside presentations and composers’ workshops, the conference will also feature various training workshops for postgraduate students wishing to pursue careers within and outside of academia, and opportunities to view the music manuscript collection housed in Cardiff University’s Special Collections and to visit Tŷ Cerdd (Music Centre Wales), which is based in Cardiff Bay’s Wales Millennium Centre. There will also be a Gamelan workshop led by Peter Smith (the School of Music has its own magnificent Bronze Javanese Gamelan), and an improvisation workshop led by the Hooting Cow Collective – an international group of composers and performers who explore improvisation and experimental scoring.

The keynote lectures will be delivered by Dr Saeid Kordmafi (SOAS University of London) and Dr Gabrielle Messeder (City, University of London), the winner of the RMA Jerome Roche Award.

Call for proposals

Proposals are welcome from postgraduate research students (e.g. PhD, MPhil, MRes) in any area of Music, including musicology, ethnomusicology, popular music, music psychology, composition, audiovisual media, performance, and/or other creative practices, and research that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. For Poster Presentations, proposals are invited from students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes (e.g. MA, MMus) as well as research degrees.

All proposals must be submitted to the Proposal Portal by 29 September 2023.

1. Academic Papers and Lecture-Recitals

Papers should be of no more than 20 minutes’ duration. Lecture-recitals should last no longer than 30 minutes. The proposal should include a title and abstract of no more than 250 words.

2. Themed Panel Sessions

Proposals for themed panel sessions of 90 minutes are invited, to include at least 30 minutes of discussion. There is no restriction on the number of contributors, but panel organisers will be expected to ensure that the overall length of the session does not exceed the allotted time, and that space is left for discussion. The proposal should include a title and abstract of no more than 250 words for each speaker, and an indication of the length of each contribution. An additional 200-word rationale is required that makes clear the purpose of the panel, its theme, and the ways in which the individual contributions relate to each other. Please also indicate whether an independent chair will be required.

3. Poster presentations

Proposals are invited from students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes (e.g. MA, MMus) as well as research degrees for a poster on their original research. The proposal should include a title and abstract of no more than 250 words.

Please note that it will be the delegates’ responsibility to print their own posters.

4. Compositions

Student composers are invited to submit scores for flute, viola and harp. This is an exciting opportunity to hear your work workshopped by a professional ensemble, Trio Anima, and to receive valuable feedback from them and the workshop leader, Dr Robert Fokkens. The score may be a piece or a movement from a larger work or a section of a movement up to 5 minutes in duration when performed.

Proposals should be submitted to the Proposal Portal with a commentary of no more than 250 words outlining the poetic and technical aspects of the work. The score should be submitted in PDF format to rsc2024@cardiff.ac.uk by 15 September 2023 (please ensure that the title of the work matches that given on the proposal form).

Please note that composers whose work are selected will be responsible for producing performing materials at their own expense. All parts and, if required, a revised version of the score, must be submitted to rsc2024@cardiff.ac.uk by 4 December 2023.

5. Electroacoustic Composition

Electroacoustic compositions (no more than 10 minutes) are invited for performance over a stereo diffusion system. Electroacoustic pieces including acoustic instruments are possible if you arrange for your own performers and instruments. Pieces will be workshopped by Dr Jerry Zhuo and performed live in the Concert Hall during an electroacoustic composition session at the conference.

Proposals should be submitted to the Proposal Portal with a commentary of no more than 250 words outlining the poetic and technical aspects of the work and should also include a link to the composition file (Dropbox, Google Drive etc.).

Travel bursaries

A limited number of bursaries are available, each worth up to £150, to cover travel costs to and from the conference. Travel bursaries will be awarded to students on the basis of financial need, and only to those who have also been selected to present at the conference. To apply for a bursary, please complete the relevant section in the Proposal Portal form. A Committee will meet to assess applications following the Call for Proposals deadline.

Programme Committee

Michelle Assay (RMA)

Fenella Briggs (Co-Chair, Cardiff University)

Kerry Bunkhall (Cardiff University)

Mollie Carlyle (RMA)

Dunya Habash (BFE)

Stina Homer (BFE)

Nicholas Jones (Co-Chair, Cardiff University)

Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (BFE)

Joshua Rogers (Cardiff University)

Kiko Shao (Cardiff University)

Laura Shipsey (Cardiff University)

Amanda Villepastour (Cardiff University)

Chao Xie (Cardiff University)

Niki Zohdi (RMA)

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