Early Career Fellow in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies
Tom Western is an ethnomusicologist researching the relations between sound, borders, displacements and citizenships. His current research centres on Athens, Greece, and at the RSC he will be working on a project titled ‘Aural Borders, Audible Displacements: Sound and Citizenship in Athens’. The project examines how sound informs experiences of displacement and mediates relationships between various communities living in the city. Sound in Athens is used to prise open questions of national belonging, and to territorialise public space, thus playing a key – but unheard – role in debates about Europeanness, freedom of movement, and the ‘refugee crisis’. This research does anthropology in sound, and uses methods of sensory ethnography and collaborative soundscape recording to open new ways of thinking about citizenship. This builds on previous research, which explored how sound recordings were used to construct nations and borders in postwar Europe, and how histories of migration were silenced in the process. Tom’s first book – National Phonography: Field Recording, Sound Archiving, and Producing the Nation in Music – is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic Press in 2019. He has also published in the journals Sound Studies, Twentieth-Century Music, Ethnomusicology Forum, and in several edited books.