One day conference at City, University of London – 23rd May 2017

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a one day conference at City, University of London on Tuesday 23rd May 2017. Building upon the themes of the project, the conference will be entitled ‘Music, Technology and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa’.

The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars and practitioners (performers, composers, filmmakers, etc.) with an interest in the relationship between technologies and music in the contemporary MENA region. We are adopting a broad definition of ‘technology’ which includes instruments, studio/production technologies, digital and Internet technologies.

We would like to offer our thanks to the Department of Music at City, University of London for hosting the event, and to the Institute of Musical Research (IMR) for providing funding via their Early Career Fellowship scheme. Thanks to the IMR we are able to offer some small travel and accommodation bursaries to students and early career researchers. The deadline for proposals is Monday 16th January 2017, and full details (including the Call for Papers) can be found on the IMR’s website:

http://www.the-imr.uk/dr-stephen-wilford

Any questions about the conference can be directed to Dr Stephen Wilford. We hope to see you at City in May!

Welcome

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Music and Digital Culture in the Middle East and North Africa is a new research project based in the Department of Music at City, University in London. In the summer of 2016 we were awarded funding from the university’s Research Pump Priming Fund to conduct research into the role of digital culture in the musical practices of composers, performers and listeners within the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We are particularly interested in the role of the Internet in shaping these musical practices, and considering how this might challenge established ideas of public and private space within MENA societies.

Much of the recent research and writing on the relationship between the Internet and music in the MENA region has focused upon the idea of music as protest, particularly within specific contexts (such as the so-called ‘Arab Spring’). While this work is undoubtedly important, we feel that there also needs to be research conducted into more ‘everyday’ musical practices. We are therefore interested in looking at the broader patterns of musical production, circulation and consumption within the MENA region and throughout MENA diasporic networks. At the same time, we also hope to develop in-depth ethnographic research with the intention of engaging with composers, musicians, producers and listeners.

We would love to hear from anyone with similar interests, either as a scholar or musical practitioner. We will be updating this blog and our Twitter account regularly, and will shortly be announcing details of an event that we are running in London in May 2017.