The focus of this research is Argentine tango. At the core of this project are creativity and improvisation.
Tango is always improvised in its social setting, the milonga. Dancers unite in the dance in a creative enterprise, expressively interpreting the music, improvising movements from a repertoire through an unspoken bodily dialogue. The very nature of tango dancing invites us to question the relationship between improvisation and creativity, how one influence the other and vice versa. Being tango a couple dance with strict gendered roles, how do dancers express their creativity in each role? Without codified standards, how is the tension between tradition and innovation resolved? How do you keep tango traditional and innovative at the same time in each dance? Processes of authentication and authorisation are at work in the social space of the milonga in Buenos Aires as older and experienced dancers comment the newcomers' performances. How do these processes shape creative practices? In focus is also the role of Argentine tango teachers and their movements across national borders to bring tango to foreign communities around Europe.
Federica Banfi graduated in Social anthropology in 2015 at Queen's University Belfast, obtaining the Anne Maguire Memorial Prize for her dissertation 'Embracing Tango: Negotiating Emotions and Gender through Dance'. In December 2016, she obtained her MA in Social anthropology also at Queen's, with the dissertation 'Threads of Tango: Online Discourses and Dynamics of Argentine Tango', which was awarded the John Blacking's memorial prize. Federica started her PhD in October 2016. Her project, entitled 'Movements in Argentine Tango: Improvisation and Transnationalism', is funded by AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.
Savannah Dodd is a PhD candidate in the field of anthropology. Her thesis will look at photography in conflict and post-conflict Belfast, specifically exploring the politics of representation.
Savannah completed her MA in the anthropology and sociology of development at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva in 2015. Her master's thesis explored the politics of identity construction on organised youth tourism in Israel-Palestine.
Outside of academia she has applied her research experience in the development sector, working in Switzerland, Turkey, and Thailand. Additionally, Savannah is a photographer and often uses her experience in the two disciplines to produce visual ethnographies. Her images have been presented in 9 curated and 3 solo exhibitions, and in 2 Belfast-based arts journals.
Savannah’s academic research has been published in 4 peer-reviewed journals for her work exploring themes of religious and political conflict, tourism, public space, and visual methods.
Commemoration within Northern Ireland has been the topic of many national debated since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Many studies have primarily focused on the urban centres of Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. My research aims to understand how commemorative practices are carried out and understood in rural County Fermanagh.
Supervisors: Dr Dominic Bryan & Professor Hastings Donnan
Matthew graduated with a BSc in Anthropology from Oxford Brookes in 2014 and with an MRes in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews in 2015. From 2015 to 2018 he worked within the Victims and Survivor sector in Northern Ireland.
His research will examine the process by which a perceived threat leads to violent intergroup confrontations, as well as explore whether certain antecedent variables contribute to the sustainability and saliency of perceived threat in intergroup conflicts.
Adam W. Gilreath holds an MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Oxford and obtained his BSc in in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology from Troy University (U.S.). Adam’s doctoral research will investigate the role of perceived threat in intergroup conflicts. More specifically, his research will examine the process by which a perceived threat leads to violent intergroup confrontations, as well as explore whether certain antecedent variables contribute to the sustainability and saliency of perceived threat in intergroup conflicts. This will be investigated in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict, and the recent proposition to remove the peace walls throughout Belfast. This research will also investigate what effects such conflicts have on the mental health of communities involved. Adam also maintains research interests in sacred values, terrorism, and identity fusion.
My current research lies within global perspectives on the anthropology of trauma.
I am looking at how the discourse on trauma is shaped at different levels and by different actors (i.e. practitioners) in this context, and how it is related to other factors, such as poverty and unemployment, class and gender, and social inequalities. Medical anthropological concepts as the continuum of violence and the politics of victimhood are the lens through which this project is conceived. A major focus is also on the role of transgenerational trauma.
Conflict and Peace Studies
Anthropology of Trauma
Ethnopsychiatry, anthropology of mental illness, PTSD
Body and embodiment
Mexico, Northern Ireland
Nahuas, blood, indigenous conceptions, traditional healing
health care systems, social inequalities
residential segregation and divided space
structural and symbolic Violence, politics of victimhood, continuum of violence
Awards and Scholarships
MEIM Travel Fund 2013
MEIM Travel Fund 2014
‘Le Ragunanze’ Award 2015
Degree Plus Award 2016
EASA Travel Fund 2017
ESRC NINE DTP Doctoral Studentship 2017-2021
EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Fellowship 2017-2020 (declined)
Political anthropology; nationalism; ‘new’ social movements, transnational activism; diaspora politics; democratic confederalism; Kurdish nationalism.
‘Beyond nationalism and the nation-state? An anthropological analysis of the Kurdish diaspora & democratic confederalism’
For decades the Kurdish national movement has sought the creation of an independent Kurdistan. However, since 2005 a significant section of the Kurdish movement have tempered their demands for an independent state, and have been implementing a ‘new’, non-state model of governance, i.e. ‘democratic confederalism’, which is built on the principles of direct democracy, horizontalism, social ecology, and gender equality, and is presented as an explicit rejection of nationalism and the nation-state. By engaging with the Kurdish diaspora in Germany, this research will examine the transition to a non-state solution to the ‘Kurdish question’, and, as such, will address the following questions:
How does a nationalist movement which has developed its own narratives based on the ultimate aspiration of an independent Kurdistan, transform into a movement which rejects the principles of nationalism and the demand for a sovereign state?
Does the ‘new’ movement require new political discourses and new symbols? And if so, how are they articulated?
What role the diaspora plays in the circulation and implementation of these ideas in Kurdistan? And, how is the ‘non-state solution’ understood by those living in the diaspora? Does living in a relatively safe and stable country impact their view of the state and therefore their view of democratic confederalism?
Whilst specific attention will be paid to the Kurdish movement, and democratic confederalism as an emergent form of political mobilisation, this attempt to move ‘beyond nationalism and the nation-state’ should offer an interesting perspective to consider the nature of nationalism more generally.
Jamie graduated with a BA in Social Anthropology in 2014 at Queen’s University Belfast. In 2016 he obtained an MA in Anthropology (also at QUB) and was awarded the John Blacking Prize for his dissertation ‘The ‘What?’, the ‘Where?’, and the ‘When?’ of ‘Home’: An Ethnographic Engagement with the ‘Community of Displacement’ in Belfast’. Jamie is the holder of a PhD Studentship funded by the Department for the Economy (DFE), registered as a PhD student at the School Of History, Anthropology, Philosophy And Politics, at QUB.
My research project is a multi-participant life history project focused on American session musicians. Popular documentaries and niche periodical articles on popular session musicians abound, and yet academic research is lacking. My project’s life history approach allows for a multi-scalar analysis of individual experiences from personal to global.
Session musicians such as Leland Sklar, Steve Lukather, Tony Levin, and Steve Gadd have continuously relied on work-for-hire as rhythm section members for artists ranging from James Taylor and Carole King, to Dolly Parton, John Lennon, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and more. As such, they hold a prestigious status among their fellow musicians, having been active since the 1960s and 70s, and yet the average listener is not likely to recognize them on the street.
As contracted musicians, they are hired on a job by job basis, and do not often collect residuals or royalties on album sales or streams. Because of this, they must continue to work full-time to support themselves. Some of the artists they have recorded or performed with might have one hit album and then fall from the limelight, but still collect royalties on their music years later. Also, due to their age the collection of life histories is valuable and urgent.
Rapid changes in music performance, recording, distribution, and consumption occur year after year. Sampling culture and the prevalence of electronic music which often borrows riffs and musical passages crafted by these session musicians makes these earlier contributions relevant today. I seek to elucidate the ways that these musicians have continued to navigate the music industry and the complex social networks of working musicians in the epicenters of the American music business, NYC, LA, and Nashville in particular, but also transnationally as members of touring groups that play all over the world.
I earned a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University in 2016, followed by an MA in Audio Arts (with music industry and studio recording foci) in 2017. My research interests include ethnomusicology, career building in the music industry, music and technology, expressive culture, and the relationships between socioeconomics factors, new technologies and their impact on career possibilities. I also have interests in feminist theory, activist movements, and the anthropology of work.
I am an electric bass player fluent in many styles, as well as a freelance studio recording technician and mixing & mastering engineer. Being born and raised in a small town in Michigan far from the musical epicenters of the United States impacted the possibilities I had for making a living as a musician, later providing the foundation for my interest in how professional musicians continue to earn a living in a musical landscape that changes on a near-daily basis.
|Name of Student||PhD Research Theme or PhD Thesis Title||Principal Supervisor||Secondary Supervisor|
|Federica Banfi||Movements in Argentine Tango: a multilocal ethnography of improvisation and transnationalism||Maruska Svasek||Ioannis Tsioulakis|
|Taika Bottner||The Art of Caring: New Opportunities for Creative Practitioners in the Ageing Economy||Maruska Svasek||Fiona Magowan|
|Bryan Clancy||Organised by Faith: The Wright Way to Evangelical Christianity and the Transformation of Culture in an “Urban Village”||Joe Webster||Dominic Bryan|
|Edward Cooke||Orange Parrésia and Resistance. A Photographic Investigation of Orange Culture, Politics and Philosophy as Demonstrated Annually on the Streets of Scotland, Ireland, England and Ireland||Dominic Bryan||Graham Walker|
|Savannah Dodd||Photography and the Politics of Representation during and after the Troubles||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou||Maruska Svasek|
|Matthew Gault||“Commemorating the Troubles” – Remembrance and Trauma in Contested Spaces||Dominic Bryan||Prof Hasting Donnan|
|Alexei Gavriel||Conflict Ethnography: Towards Cultural Competence in Population-Centric Conflicts||Hastings Donnan||Marie O'Neill|
|Augusto Gazir Martins Soares||Tracking Online Political Sociality in Northern Ireland: Social media engagement in a context of persistent antagonism and increasing diversity||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou||Dominic Bryan|
|Hannah Gibson||Cultural intimacy and the country music scene in West Ulster||Ioannis Tsioulakis||Fiona Magowan|
|Chrysi Kyratsou||Refugees’ Musicking: Meanings and Encounters||Ioannis Tsioulakis||Fiona Murphy|
|Amanda Lubit||Lebanon’s Refugee Crisis: Rethinking the Refugee-Host Relationship||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou||Fiona Murphy|
|Sinead Lynch||Youth Agency in Cross Border Music and Peacebuilding on the Island of Ireland: The Cross Border Youth Orchestra of Ireland and the Peace Proms||Fiona Magowan||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou|
|Chiara Magliacane||Youth Conflict-Related Trauma through Generations. An Ethnography on the Relationship between Health and Society in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou||Fiona Magowan|
|Lee Marshall||Navigating Mental Health - The Eastern European Migrant Perspective||Maruska Svasek||Ciaran Mulholland|
|Angela Mazzetti||'Living with the Troubles': An ethnographic exploration of memory and emotion.||Maruska Svasek||Joe Webster|
|Jamie McCollum||An anthropological analysis of the Kurdish diaspora & democratic confederalism: Beyond nationalism and the nation-state?||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou||Dominic Bryan|
|Jacob Posega||Musical Livelihoods: Life Histories of American Session Musicians||Ioannis Tsioulakis||Zeynep Bulut|
|Niamh Small||The middle ground and the manifestation of a symbolic Northern Irish identity||Dominic Bryan||Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou|
|Wanting Wu||Sensing peace through the body: Tibetan dance and conflict transformation in diasporic communities in London and Zürich||Fiona Magowan||Pedro Rebelo|