I completed my BA in Music at the University of Plymouth in 2006, and in 2008 I moved to Cardiff University to do the MA in Ethnomusicology. I remained at Cardiff, completing my PhD in August 2013 under the supervision of John Morgan O’Connell. During my PhD, I taught on a number of ethnomusicology courses both at an Undergraduate and a Postgraduate level, as well as supervising third-year students with their dissertation projects. I have also undertaken guest lecturing at the University of Plymouth and was the module leader for an introductory course to world musics at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. I also worked as an editorial assistant for the journal Twentieth Century Music.
My postdoctoral project focuses on flamenco’s relationship with intercultural dialogue in contemporary Andalusia. Flamenco is often viewed as a product of Andalusia’s Islamic and multicultural past, a period when Christians, Jews and Muslims supposedly lived in convivencia (coexistence). While sometimes viewed as a utopian myth, convivencia is invoked as a model for multiculturalism and is an important component of Andalusian regional identity. Yet, the increasing number of North African immigrants in Andalusia complicates any reading of regional identity that is based on an Islamic and multicultural past. These immigrants often face antagonism, social exclusion and racism. I examine how this past is musically reimagined in the present, and explore how flamenco serves to negotiate difference between Andalusians and immigrants. In particular, I study a genre called flamenco andalusí, which combines flamenco with Arab-Andalusian traditions that still exist in North Africa. Such collaborations bridge the divide between Andalusians and immigrants by invoking a shared cultural history. Using ethnographic research, I address the significance of these collaborations in light of debates regarding immigration, multiculturalism and regional identity.
My doctoral thesis examines the relationship between flamenco and regionalism in Andalusia, framed within the context of contemporary Spanish politics. In recent years, the autonomous government of Andalusia has embarked on an ambitious project aimed at developing flamenco as a symbol of identity within and outside of the region. This development has been strengthened since flamenco’s recognition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2010). Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and drawing on political geography as a key theoretical focus, I examine the regionalisation of flamenco and how this process has been received among Andalusians. This brought to light issues with and inequalities in the institutional development of flamenco. By examining the contexts, discourses and styles associated with the flamenco community in Granada, I offer alternative readings of regionalism. In doing so, I explore how competing localisms and disputed identities contribute to a new understanding of the flamenco tradition.