School of Arts & College of Humanities

Maqām Beyond Nation 

Maqām Beyond Nation explores a field of music-making that stretches from North Africa to Central Asia; a set of historically fluid and inter-connected creative practices which were transformed under 20th century nationalisms into fixed repertoires. 

The project seeks to understand the major changes which are now weakening these nationalist models. We attend to the musical materials and their potential for new creativity, and to the social: how a focus on expressive culture can further our understanding of the aesthetics of religious revival and cultural responses to the experience of forced migration. 

Our case studies are fault lines across the maqām world—among them the former Soviet-Chinese border, and the border between Iran and Azerbaijan—key spaces where shared traditions of music-making were split apart by the formation of new nation states. To understand these spaces, we draw on archival, analytical and ethnographic research, as well as practice-based creative collaboration. 

Our findings will be shared through an exciting programme of workshops and conferences, publications and films, collaborative performances and compositions.