Beyond Memory and Reconciliation: Music, Conflict and Social Manipulation in Post-Conflict Contexts

Saturday 03 November, 2018 – Keele University

Keele University (https://www.keele.ac.uk) is proud to host the 2018 British Forum for Ethnomusicology one-day conference. This year’s conference will focus on processes of post-conflict mechanisms of remembrance, nostalgia, and cultural survival in post-memory/reconciliation contexts. In some cases governments, NGOs and popular culture have joined forces to create spaces to discuss the aftermath of social conflict, but what happens when complacency sets in? How are cultures revived and drawn together (or apart)? How is guilt negotiated? Music can be a powerful tool in the negotiation of difference and the discussion of the roots of conflicts. It can also be used to manipulate individuals into taking sides in a conflict, believing the conflict is resolved, enhancing nationalist behaviour, or even triggering more conflict.

This one-day conference seeks to bring together voices and positions from various theoretical and ethnographic perspectives and moments of diverse conflict-ridden histories and geographies in an attempt to understand how the national, and the social, have been and are being understood, rebuilt and reasserted through creative musical outcomes in post-conflict contexts.

This conference builds on the 2017 BFE one-day conference in Cambridge, “Listening to Difference: Music and Multiculturalism”, where issues of conviviality, migration and social difference were addressed.

A bit of history

In 1975 Keele University hosted the first annual conference of the International Folk Music Council (IFMC), the precursor of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and the ICTM-UK Chapter, now the BFE. Since then, the BFE’s annual and one-day conferences have toured UK universities, but none of them have returned to the West Midlands. In 2015, forty years after the first IFMC conference at Keele, this university opened its first ethnomusicology position, and with this it revived and promoted our discipline in the region.

Please see the call for papers section for details of how to submit an abstract. 


  • Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz (Keele University)
  • Dr Stephen Wilford (City, University of London)
  • Dr Byron Dueck (The Open University)