Call for proposals: BFE and RMA Research Students’ Conference

The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) and Royal Musical Association (RMA) Research Students’ Conference will be hosted by the University of Aberdeen, on 9th to 11th January 2025. This will be an 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 will be some limited online provision for those participants for whom it would be difficult to attend in person.

Presentations, workshops and events
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, the conference will feature a number of events catering to a diverse range of disciplines, including but not limited to: training workshops for postgraduate students wishing to pursue careers within and outwith academia, roundtable discussions, poster exhibitions, a workshop and film-showing with Lucy Durán (SOAS), a performance masterclass rooted in Scottish traditional music, composition talks and events, as well as opportunities to learn more about the past and present of Aberdeen’s rich musical life.

The winners of the Jerome Roche Prize, the BFE Early Career Prize, and the Tippett Medal will be giving keynote addresses at the conference.

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 and Audio-Poster Presentations, proposals are also invited from students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes (e.g. MA, MSt, MMus) as well as research degrees.

All proposals must be submitted to by Friday 13th September 2024.

  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 and Audio-Poster Presentations
    Proposals are invited from students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes (e.g. MA, MMus) as well as research degrees for a poster or audio-poster on their original research. Audio-posters should comprise of maximum 10 minutes of audio (this could be original audio production, composition or field recording done by the researcher, a piece of music representative of the researchers’ work, or a short mixtape of tracks) along with a 300-word explanation. 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. The local organising committee will assist with the display of posters and, as far as possible, with technical support for audio-posters.

  4. Compositions
    Student composers are invited to submit scores for any combination of clarinet, cello, and percussion to be workshopped and performed by Red Note Ensemble. This is an exciting opportunity to hear your work performed by Scotland’s leading contemporary music ensemble and to receive valuable feedback from them about your composition.  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 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. 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 in good time ahead of the conference.  Further details to follow in due course.

  5. Electroacoustic Composition
    Proposals should be submitted 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.). If the proposed work is incomplete, include a link to a sample of the work or similar work to allow the selection committee to assess its merits.

Travel Bursaries
A limited number of bursaries will be available to contribute to 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. Please indicate when submitting your proposal if you would like to be considered for a travel bursary and briefly outline your expected costs to attend the conference.

RMARC Student Paper Prize
Speakers at the 2025 BFE-RMA Research Students’ Conference will be invited to submit their papers to the Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle (RMARC) student-paper prize. Participation will be open to all speakers (in-person or online). The winner will receive a £100 book token from Cambridge University Press, as well as mentorship from the editors of RMARC to develop and expand their submission for publication in RMARC.

For any queries, please contact

Co-chairs (University of Aberdeen): Efrat Berestizhevsky, Jonathan Hicks, Kristain Rasmussen

Local organising committee (University of Aberdeen): Christina Ballico, John De Simone, Dylan Dutot Mayne, Paul Gray, Junqiong Guan, Aaron McGregor, Alistair Rennie, Ignasi Solé Piñas, Edda Starck, Elizabeth Walsh, Frances Wilkins

Programme committee: Michelle Assay (RMA Flagship Conferences Coordinator), Mollie Carlyle (RMA Senior Student Representative), Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (BFE Conferences Liaison Officer), Luigi Monteanni (BFE Student Liaison), Nicholas Ong (RMA Ordinary Member)

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