ERC/UKRI project “Maqām Beyond Nation.”

Key information

Deadline date
Covers tuition fees at UK or Overseas rate and a stipend of £20,000

Scholarship overview

The Music Department at SOAS is offering an exceptional 3-year stipend and fees at overseas or home level for a doctoral student in ethnomusicology to join the team of researchers working on the ERC/UKRI project “Maqām Beyond Nation.

Project Details

Project Title: Maqām Beyond Nation

Principle Supervisor:  Rachel Harris
Co-Supervisor: Saeid Kordmafi

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 focuses on the new trends which cut across these nationalist models. The project is based at SOAS, in partnership with Ca’ Foscari University, Venice.

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 wider issues including musical or religious revival and forced migration across Asia. 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 20th century borders.

To understand these spaces and the new creativities they contain, we draw on archival, analytical and ethnographic research, as well as practice-based creative collaboration. Out findings will be shared through an exciting programme of workshops and conferences, publications and films, collaborative performances and compositions.

We seek a PhD student to work within the team on a self-contained, individual research project on maqām-based music-making, within the broad rubric of Maqām Beyond Nation’s regional focus and methodological approach.

Candidate Criteria 
  • an MA in Ethnomusicology or other relevant discipline. 
  • experience of working with the music of one or more of the regions under study (Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, or the Arab world).
  • experience of ethnographic, archival, and/or analytical research.
  • relevant linguistic and/or musical performance skills.
  • familiarity with relevant academic literature.
Candidate Assessment 
  • Based on the information provided in your scholarship application (Research Proposal and Personal Statement)
  • Confirmed and awarded by a Selection Panel
Scholarship Application Deadline
  • Scholarship applications must be received no later than 12:00 PM (UK local time) on 1 March 2024.
  • You must submit a complete application of your programme as soon as possible and then submit an application for this scholarship, in order to be considered. Please note that complete applications for admissions can take up to 4 weeks to be considered by the Department, although this duration can vary depending on the time of the year. You should be prepared to wait up to 6 weeks in busy periods. 
  • You will need to have a firm offer for your programme by the time the Scholarship Panel meet.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Scholarship Application Procedures

Further information about PhDs at SOAS University of London is available from: 

There is a two-step procedure:

  • Step 1: submit a complete online application for admission. Guidance for applying for applying to Research Programmes and information on what makes an application can be found here for How to Apply

Your research proposal should take account of the project title and outline above, and indicate how your individual research would align with the wider project. In your personal statement, please indicate why this project interests you and in what ways you are qualified to undertake it.

  • Step 2: Apply for the Scholarship by 12:00 PM (UK local time) on 1 March 2024

You must apply for this scholarship via the Online Scholarship Application Form.

Notification of Results

  • For enquiries regarding your programme application procedure please email 
  • For any enquiries regarding the studentship application procedure, please email
  • For further information about the project, please email Rachel Harris: