Intercultural musicking

Our exploration of the theory and practice of intercultural musicking ranges from close-up investigations of intercultural music-making in Manchester and other fixed locations (including Georgia and Greece) to studies of transnational networks and developments in cultural tourism.

Particular interests include the potential of music as a tool for intercultural awareness and collaboration, collective resilience and personal transformation, and the role of world-music ensembles in higher education.

The department's gamelan and klezmer ensembles serve as living laboratories while also providing a platform for applied and community outreach work.

Research in this core research area includes:

  • Caroline Bithell's work focusing on the contemporary phenomenon of world music choirs and ensembles, intercultural singing encounters in Georgia and networks of 'foreign' Georgian choirs;
  • Chloe Alaghband-Zadeh's research on music in the south Asian diaspora, which includes applied work with British Asian communities in Loughborough and Manchester, using participatory methods to explore questions of memory and migration;
  • Activities developed through our connections with musicians from Manchester's diverse ethnic communities, which have resulted in initiatives such as Amid the Mirk Over the Irk, a show produced by Richard Fay, which brought together local Irish musicians and our own klezmer alumni.

The group’s next event is a free one-day online event, 'Intercultural Musicking: Ensemble Performance, (Inter)Cultural Encounters, and Personal/Professional Transformations' to be held on Thursday, 15 April 2021, 2.00–6.00 pm, exploring the world of intercultural musicking with researcher-practitioners Caroline Bithell, Robert Szymanek, Richard Fay and Dan Mawson, together with student members of the University’s gamelan and klezmer ensembles.

Staff in this core research area

Chloe Alaghband-Zadeh

Music and memory in British Asian communities.

Caroline Bithell

World music choirs; transcultural music-making and singing holidays; international network of Georgian choirs; musical tourism in Georgia; klezmer in Manchester.

Richard Fay

World music ensembles; music-making as a tool for intercultural awareness and communication; applied work on music and intercultural education in post-conflict contexts; klezmer, Balkan and Irish music in Manchester.

Robert Szymanek

Gamelan in the UK; developing a new model for the world music ensemble in the academy.