Women Musicians from Syria: Performance, Networks, Belonging/s after Migration

Welcome to the website of the research project „Women Musicians from Syria: Performance, Networks, Belonging/s after Migration“, led by ethnomusicologist Dr Anja Brunner. The project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (Elise Richter Program, Project number V706-G29). It lasts from January 2020 to December 2024.

This research project studies the lives and music of selected women* musicians from Syria who migrated to Austria and Germany after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, and who have continued their musical work after migration. The project examines which belonging/s – on an emotional and institutionalized level – are relevant in the lives and music of Syrian women* musicians after their forced migration. Is it more important to the musicians to be Syrian, migrants/refugees, women or mothers, or is it more important to be Muslim, of a certain age, musicians, artists, or an Alawite (a religious group in Syria)? How do these aspects depend on, and influence each other? How do these belonging/s change in different situations and over time, particularly after migration? How does being classified as ‘refugee’ or ‘Syrian’ by others influence the feeling of (non-)belonging? And most important: Which belonging/s are present and presented in music, and how are they performed and communicated through music? How did this change with migration? The asterisk * points orthographically to the de-essentialization of gender conceptions, including a fixed category of„woman“/„female“, as foundational premise and done by the some of the musicians I work with. 

The project is based at the Music and Minorities Research Center at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

You find more information on the Elise-Richter-programm of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) here.

Dr Anja Brunner is a member of the Elise-Richter-Network.