‘Atlantic Sounds: Ships and Sailortowns’

Dr. Catherine Tackley (Department of Music, The Open University) and Dr. Graeme Milne (Department of History, University of Liverpool) are delighted to announce a new Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Networking project ‘Atlantic Sounds: Ships and Sailortowns’.

The ‘Atlantic Sounds’ project aims to investigate, from a UK perspective, the role that music has played in cross-cultural encounters around the Atlantic rim (which includes the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean) from around 1740 to the present.

Although there has been research into the presence of music from these countries in Europe, the processes and mechanisms that established such connections are less clear. The transmission and development of musical cultures across oceans by seafarers, travellers, and free and forced migrants is clearly an area ripe for further study.

This project focuses specifically on the circumstances of the ship – which literally transports music and musicians across the Atlantic – and the sailortown – diverse and ever-changing port communities where sailors from all over the world interact, including through music-making.

Over the 18 months, the project will stage a series of three Colloquia and an International Conference incorporating a study day for postgraduate students in different locations (London, Cardiff, Falmouth and Liverpool) which are relevant to the topic of ‘Atlantic Sounds’. Details of these events are below.

The intention of the project is to build relationships which will lead to further collaborations, both within the academic community, especially between disciplines, and between academics and other interested parties including stakeholders in museums and tourism as well as musicians, film-makers and journalists. We are aiming to create a network which will be equally beneficial to all these groups, particularly to provide opportunities for the public dissemination of academic research.

The network and project website will be formally launched at 4pm on Tuesday 20 November 2012 at the Department of History, University of Liverpool. A call for papers for our first event in London will follow shortly.


  • 8 February 2013          Colloquium 1: Historical perspectives on music and seafaring, The Open University in London (Camden)
  • 14 June 2013              Colloquium 2: Music, Heritage, Regeneration, Tourism, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, Cornwall
  • 22 October 2013         Colloquium 3: Musical perspectives on transatlantic migration, The Open University in Wales (Cardiff)
  • March 2014                Study Day and International Conference, University of Liverpool

‘like’ us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/atlantic.sounds and follow us on Twitter @atlanticsounds .

To be put on our mailing list to receive email notification of future events, please email atlantic-sounds@open.ac.uk

About ouartsfaculty

The Arts Faculty of The Open University is a world leader in supported Open Learning, and one of the best institutions in the world for arts and humanities. You can follow us on Twitter @OUArtsFaculty and on Facebook.
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