HERA Project (2010-2013)

The Rhythm Changes project was funded as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area‘s (HERA) theme, “Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity”, a joint research programme funded by 13 national funding agencies to “create collaborative, trans-national research opportunities that will derive new insights from humanities research in order to address major social, cultural, and political challenges facing Europe”.

Trio VD@Utrecht Jazz Festival by David Vogel

Led by the University of Salford, the research programme was undertaken by a team of experienced researchers working in five European countries and will draw on expertise from the Universities of Amsterdam, Birmingham City, Copenhagen, Music and Performing Arts Graz, Lancaster, and Stavanger. Research work will include a number of activities such as performances, educational workshops, oral histories and interviews.

The goals of Rhythm Changes were to:

Investigate the concepts of national thought and identity in jazz using international comparison. Rhythm Changes will break new ground by presenting a trans-national view of jazz as an exchange of ideas and inspirations, and the way national movements in one country both influence, and are influenced by, developments from abroad.

Collate jazz-related data, including relevant research, performance projects, interviews, and cultural policies, from 5 key countries in Europe, and from various disciplines, and will move from specialist analysis towards interdisciplinary and trans-national synthesis.

Study national identities, representations and stereotypes in jazz. The project will investigate the development of national jazz identities as a constant interaction between a nation’s self-image and its view of others.

Examine the interaction between cultural memory, arts and tourism by showing how jazz venues and festivals preserve, reflect and inform a sense of cultural memory.

Further pan-European humanities research by establishing networks that encourage trans-national co-operation, collaborations and the work of early career researchers.

Implement a programme of targeted dissemination activities which communicate findings to a trans-national audience of relevant policy makers, academia and the public