Encounters in Musical Ethnography as Opportunities for Transformative Learning

  • Eleni Kallimopoulou


In this article, I offer an autobiographical account of teaching musical ethnography in an ethnomusicology classroom. My reflections derive from a variety of modules that are offered as part of undergraduate music programmes and that combine an ethnomusicology fieldwork component with a theoretical introduction to the cultural study of music and, in many cases, with hands-on musical performance. I see the classroom as an ethnographic field and explore its pedagogical potential for affective encounters, for engendering new cultural understandings and an ‘openness to different ways of being, knowing and doing’ (Spencer and Mills 2011). Responding to Wong’s call for education as cultural work (Wong 1998), I am especially interested in a critical pedagogy of ethnography that affords opportunities for transformative learning (Mezirow 1997, McIlwairth 2016) for students and teachers alike.