Working with cultural and creative industries
One strand of the music department’s impact strategy focuses on collaborations with the BBC. Dr Durán has presented a regular weekly one-hour radio show “World Routes” and other occasional programmes on Radio 3 for more than a decade. This collaboration has drawn on her own research and research generated by the department, such as Dr Harris’s research on Uyghur Muqam and field research in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal undertaken by Richard Widdess, Professor of Musicology. Dr Duran has also been active as a record producer, with two albums to her credit that have not only won or been nominated for awards, but have also been significant in raising general awareness of a repertoire and style associated with a little-known West-African lute: indeed, they have had the effect of raising its profile in Mali itself (Read more: Securing a global stage for Malian artists and their music).
The School has recently launched a new MA in Global Creative and Cultural Industries, incorporating elements of vocational training and work experience that directly address an employability agenda for students of music and other forms of performance and culture. Whilst this programme is still at an early stage, it represents a development route for stronger research connections between the Music Department and organisations and companies working in music production and performance. This commercial expertise will be harnessed both to benefit our students and to enhance the impact of our research. A BA World Music will parallel these initiatives at undergraduate level.
Promoting the value of musical traditions
Scholars at SOAS have played a significant role in helping to influence public policy: Dr Harris, Professor Howard, Dr Impey and Professor Widdess and have produced expert reports for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage initiatives. However, the impact of the Department’s research is sometimes felt most strongly within the regions and communities of focus. For example, there has been increasing awareness among performers of Turkish classical music of the riches of the 17th-century Ottoman tradition resulting from the transcription and publication of notations of the period. Likewise, a new book by Owen Wright, Emeritus Professor of Musicology of the Middle East, opened the doors to the music scholarship of early fourteenth century Cairo. His book, Music Theory in Mamluk Cairo, provides a critical edition of the text of ġāyat al-maṭlūb fī ‘ilm al-adwār wa-'l-ḍurūb, the most significant music theory text to survive from the period. Detailed commentary and analysis places the work in the theoretical tradition of the time and paints a picture of the author, Ibn Kurr.