Curating after world music: Contemporary and experimental practices between Lebanon and Germany

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Combining ethnographic research and curatorial practice, this thesis is looking at the social and cultural implications of collaborations in the independent performing arts sector across Lebanon and Germany. The project aims to find out how musicians in emerging cross-border networks produce, showcase and experience experimental music in places that facilitate and amplify affective encounters between artists, researchers, administrators, and curators with shared beliefs and value systems marked by an antagonism against narrational strategies of world music productions at European festival sites. Outlining the impact of MultiKulti narratives and world music curation in Berlin since the 1980s and 1990s specifically, I will outline how performative inclusivity, ethics of care, and anti-world music sentiments at German festival sites feed into the affective dimensions of these multidisciplinary networks as well as the content which producers choose to distribute into the public realm.

Focusing specifically on trust, shared vulnerability, and uncertainty in collaborative music projects in the cities of Beirut, Berlin and Mannheim, my research aims to shed light on the significant role of location- and friendship-based networks that increasingly establish institutional structures outside of white dominated cultural institutions with a history of world music marketing in Germany. This entails looking at three specific institutional structures, including the Planet Ears festival (Mannheim), the Irtijal festival (Beirut) and associated grassroots organisations and artist-led collectives in Beirut, and Morphine Raum in Berlin.

In analysing the sonic profile, aesthetic choices, and the social dynamics within experimenting collectives, this project will demonstrate how networks of collaborating musicians, performance artists, administrators and curators navigate and initiate changing possibilities of instituting experimental music across Germany and Lebanon. I argue that this development is due to adapting cultural policy frameworks, a close social proximity of policy workers and diasporic musicians, and the aims of funding the independent performing art scene based on general turn towards performing anti-racist practises and diversity sensitive curation in Germany specifically.
Date of Award1 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorMartin Stokes (Supervisor)

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