Challenging Collaborations: local musicians, local academics and the scholar from abroad

Hagmann, Lea Salome (19 April 2019). Challenging Collaborations: local musicians, local academics and the scholar from abroad (Unpublished). In: 2019 BFE Annual Conference. Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen, UK. 11.-14. April.

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One of the most challenging tasks for ethnomusicologists is to bridge the gap between the research field and academia. This becomes ever more complex when - due to political enthusiasm - the research field and local academia overlap. Such a case can be found in Cornwall, a region which became recognised as a national Celtic minority within the UK in 2014.
I first came to Cornwall as a lay-musician in 2008 and was fascinated by its thriving and welcoming music scene. Driven by my interest in Cornish culture and encouraged by local musicians and dancers, I decided in 2013 to write my PhD thesis on the Cornish music and dance revival as part of an interdisciplinary project on authenticity in Switzerland. Local Cornish researchers, musicians and dancers were very supportive of my work and offered me their help. It was only two years later that I discovered that my analyses did not show the results my Cornish collaborators had expected. This raised for me a great amount of ethical questions, which, however, were seen as rather irrelevant by some of my Swiss project team members.
This paper reflects on my personal journey from a naïve Celtic enthusiast to an academic deconstructivist and back to a Cornish music lover, and the effects this development had on my Cornish informants and academic collaborators. It questions the etic-emic dichotomy and describes the narrow path that lies between my personal relationships with local musicians and my role as an “independent” academic researcher.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

UniBE Contributor:

Hagmann, Lea Salome


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
700 Arts > 780 Music




Lea Salome Hagmann

Date Deposited:

12 Dec 2019 09:42

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:33

Uncontrolled Keywords:

fieldwork, collaboration, etic, emic, ethnomusicology




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