Dr Stephen Wilford


Stephen is a Junior Research Fellow whose work explores musical encounters between Algeria and France, in both historical and contemporary contexts throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods.


Stephen completed his AHRC-funded PhD at City, University of London with a thesis focusing upon Algerian music in contemporary London. He previously studied at Goldsmiths, University of London, Leeds College of Music and the University of Aberdeen. He was an Early Career Fellow of the Institute for Musical Research (2016-17) and was awarded the Mercers’ Prize at City in 2016 ‘for outstanding ability and contribution to the Department of Music’. He has taught at City and Goldsmiths, and held a Lectureship in the Department of Music at the University of Southampton in 2017-18. He has been a member of the national committee of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology since 2016, and has acted as the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Ethnomusicology Committee since 2013. He is also a member of the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement at Cambridge.


Research Interests

Stephen is currently a Research Associate in the Faculty of Music at Cambridge and is working on the ERC-funded project Past and Present Musical Encounters Across the Strait of Gibraltar. His research focuses upon North African musics, particularly those of Algeria, and spans a range of traditional and contemporary styles. He has a strong interest in the Arab-Andalusi traditions of Algeria, in both colonial and postcolonial contexts. His work is concerned with ideas of collective identity, cultural memory, diaspora and transnational flows of music. He is particularly interested in the role of technologies in the production and circulation of music among composers, performers and listeners, and the connections that these form between North Africa and Europe.

His research centres around the notion of cultural encounter and cuts across a number of historical periods and musical traditions to critically explore Franco-Algerian relations through the composition, performance and reception of music. His current work is formed of three main strands: the role of music in colonial and postcolonial Algeria, with a focus upon the dialogues between Arab-Andalusi and Western Art musics; the practices of contemporary Arab-Andalusi musicians and ensembles within transnational contexts; and the development of Franco-Algerian hip hop since the 1990s.