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Department of Music

Dr Catherine Ingram

BMus Hons (University of Melbourne, Australia), PhD (University of Melbourne, Australia), Graduate Diploma of Education (La Trobe University, Australia)


Catherine Ingram
Department of Music

Newton International Fellow

Dr Catherine Ingram
Email address:
020 7898 4786
21/22 Russell Square
Office No:


I commenced my two-year Newton International Fellowship at SOAS in January 2013, working on the project “Kam Song: Towards an Indigenous Musical Theory.” I completed my PhD (Ethnomusicology/Chinese Studies, 2010) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where I am also an Honorary Fellow. I first began researching Kam minority musical culture in 2004 and have since conducted over twenty-four months’ musical ethnographic research into UNESCO-recognized Kam ‘big song’ and other Kam singing traditions, as well as giving numerous performances of Kam song together with Kam friends and teachers. I am a former Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Research Fellow (Australia/China) and International Institute of Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow (The Netherlands). I have published not only on Kam minority music but also on its relationship to discourses concerning gender, the environment, research ethics, digital fieldwork, anthropological studies of ‘tradition’ and notions of intangible cultural heritage. My research has attracted considerable interest within China, and has featured in various print media and several documentaries (2006 and 2011). I am in the process of working with members of Kam communities to digitally archive the extensive audio and video recordings of Kam music making and other cultural activities made during my research, and depositing them with the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (www.paradisec.org.au).

I hold a Graduate Diploma of Education and my tertiary teaching experience at the University of Melbourne encompasses both Ethnomusicology (The Ethnography of Music; Musics of the World; Music Cultures of Asia) and Asian Studies (The Politics of Gender in China and East Asia; Human Rights in China and East Asia; Asia and the World). I am on the supervisory committees for two University of Melbourne postgraduate students, and have given guest lectures at various universities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and The Netherlands. I am fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) as well as Kam (in Chinese, 侗 Dong).


The project I am working on as a Newton International Fellow at SOAS is entitled “Kam Song: Towards an Indigenous Musical Theory.” This project will produce the first detailed analysis of the musical theory of the unique singing traditions of the Kam, a Tai-Kadai-speaking minority people of southwestern China. These rich Kam traditions, one of which has been entered on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, are central to Kam culture and history. However, the musical theory underpinning them is unexplored, and the complex relationship between language and music in Kam singing is barely recognized. This project will provide valuable information to assist the Kam, as well as other communities and scholars, to promote the conservation and sustainability of the centuries-old cultural traditions of indigenous peoples now endangered by modernization, globalization, commercialization and massive social change. It will provide new insights into the complexity of indigenous culture, and will thereby enhance global understandings and strategies for the sustainability of intangible heritage.


Authored Books

McLaren, Anne and English, Alex and Xinyuan, He and Ingram, Catherine (2013) Culture, Heritage, Eco-sites and the State in Contemporary China. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Publishing.

Edited Books

Russell, Ian and Ingram, Catherine, eds. (2013) Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, in association with the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology.

Book Chapters

Ingram, Catherine (2013) 'Understanding Musical Participation: “Listening” Participants and Big Song Singers in Kam Villages, Southwestern China.' In: Russell, Ian and Ingram, Catherine, (eds.), Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, in association with the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, pp. 53-68.

Ingram, Catherine (2013) 'Introduction.' In: Russell, Ian and Ingram, Catherine, (eds.), Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, in association with the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, pp. 1-16.

Ingram, Catherine (2012) 'Researching Kam Minority Music in China.' In: Ng, Nicholas, (ed.), Encounters : musical meetings between China and Australia. Toowong, QLD: Australian Academic Press, pp. 63-80.

Ingram, Catherine (2012) 'Ee, mang gay dor ga ey (Hey, why don’t you sing)? Imagining the Future for Kam Big Song.' In: Howard, Keith, (ed.), Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage: Policy, Ideology and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 55-75. (SOAS Musicology Series)

Ingram, Catherine and Wu, Meifang and Wu, Pinxian and Wu, Xuegui and Wu, Zhicheng (2011) 'Discussing 'fair use'of archived recordings of minority music from the mountains of southwestern China.' In: Sustainable data from digital research: Humanities perspectives on digital scholarship. Proceedings of the conference held at the University of Melbourne, 12-14th December 2011. Custom Book Centre, pp. 90-118.

Falk, Catherine and Ingram, Catherine (2011) 'From Intangible Cultural Heritage to Collectable Artefact: The Theory and Practice of Enacting Ethical Responsibilities in Ethnomusicological Research.' In: Cribb, R., (ed.), Transmission of academic values in Asian Studies: workshop proceedings. Canberra: Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration.

Ingram, Catherine and Wu, Jialing and Wu, Meifang and Wu, Meixiang and Wu, Pinxian and Wu, Xuegui (2011) 'Taking the Stage: Rural Kam Women and Contemporary Kam “Cultural Development”.' In: Jacka, Tamara and Sargeson, Sally, (eds.), Women, Gender and Rural Development in China. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 71-93.

Ingram, Catherine (2010) 'A Localized Perspective on China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Case of Kam Big Song.' In: Morrell, E. and Barr, M.D., (eds.), Crises and Opportunities: Past, Present and Future. Canberra: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Inc and the University of Adelaide. (Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 5 - 8 July 2010, held at the University of Adelaide, Australia)

Ingram, Catherine (1997) 'Riley Lee (master of the Japanese shakuhachi).' In: Bebbington, Warren, (ed.), Oxford Companion to Australian Music. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, p. 336.

Ingram, Catherine and Wu, Zhicheng 'Beeba (Kam Pipa).' In: Libin, Laurence, (ed.), The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (In Press)

Ingram, Catherine 'Muye (Tree Leaf).' In: Libin, Laurence, (ed.), The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (In Press)


Ingram, Catherine (2013) 'Preliminary Research into the Influence of the Process of Musical Transmission on the Relationship Between Speech Tone and Melody in Kam Singing Traditions from Southwestern China.' Jahrbuch des Phonogrammarchivs .

Ingram, Catherine (2012) 'Tradition and Divergence in Southwestern China: Kam Big Song Singing in the Village and on Stage.' The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13 (5). pp. 434-453.

Ingram, Catherine (2012) 'The Multiple Meanings of Tradition: Kam Singing in Southwestern China.' Newsletter for the International Institute of Asian Studies, 60 (4-5).

Ingram, Catherine (2011) 'Echoing the environment in Kam big song.' Asian Studies Review, 35 (4). pp. 439-455.

Ingram, Catherine (2010) 'China’s Kam Minority: A Short Bibliographic Outline of Kam-Related Research Materials in the University of Melbourne Library.' East Asian Library Resources Group of Australia Newsletter, 56 .

Ingram, Catherine (2007) ''If You Don't Sing, Friends Will Say You Are Proud': How and Why Kam People Learn to Sing Kam Big Song.' Context: Journal of Music Research, 32 . pp. 85-104.

Ingram, Catherine (1994) 'Watching for Hawks (original composition for solo flute).' Context: Journal of Music Research, 7 . pp. 28-33.

Conference or Workshop Items

Ingram, Catherine (2009) Dor ga dao (Singing our own songs): How Kam Villagers Negotiate Creative and Collaborative Possibilities in the Performance of Kam Songs. In: Collaborations: Creative Partnerships in Music, June 2009, Monash University Conference Centre, Melbourne..

Book Reviews

Ingram, Catherine (2013) 'Review of Shzr Ee Tan, ‘Beyond “Innocence”: Amis Aboriginal Song in Taiwan as an Ecosystem’ (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).' Asian Ethnology, 72 (2). pp. 368-370.


Ingram, Catherine, trans. (2011) 爱唱侗歌的凯瑟林 Ai chang Dongge de Kaiselin [Catherine, who loves to sing Kam song]. Bai Chuan (dir.). Guiyang: Guizhou Province TV.

Ingram, Catherine, trans. (2006) Ga Lao My Love [Big Song, My Love]. Bai Chuan (dir.). Guiyang: Guizhou Province TV.

Ingram, Catherine and Yu, Mingxing, trans. (2006) Xiangyin Xiangyun 湘音湘韵: The Music of Hunan (CD with notes). Changsha: Hunan Electronic & Audio-Visual Publishing House.


Pangeng, Shen [Erhu solo] and Ingram, Catherine [Accompanist] (1996) From the New Continent. Australia: David Williams. [Audio]


Ingram, Catherine (2012) 'Kam “Big Song” Down Under.' New Mandala .

Ingram, Catherine (2009) 'China’s 60th Anniversary From the Margins.' New Mandala .

Ingram, Catherine (2004) 'The Fitzroy Youth Music Program. Storybook Project.' Melbourne: Department of Human Services, Government of Victoria.

Ingram, Catherine (1996) 'From Little Things Big Things Grow: The Fitzroy Youth Music Program.' Shout! (Community Music Victoria Newsletter) .

This list was generated on Sun Sep 21 01:06:06 2014 BST.