Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME)

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: ADM Birmingham Sch of Media


CHIME is a transnational research project that explores how changing relationships between music, festivals and cultural heritage sites renegotiate established understandings and uses of heritage. Led by a highly experienced cross-disciplinary team of transnational researchers, this innovative project explores the uses and re-uses of different types of heritage through the lens of jazz and improvised music festivals. We will combine an ambitious research programme with strong, carefully targeted collaborative partnerships in order to advance understandings of cultural heritage among different communities of interest. Our core focus on festivals reflects the important - if undervalued - position that festivals occupy in Europe's cultural ecology, with their dynamic and synergetic relationship to spaces and cultural sites. We will use jazz and improvised music as a lens through which to explore key issues in heritage research, drawing on the music's unique and complex relationship to concepts of high and low culture, tradition, innovation, authenticity and (non)-European identity. CHIME integrates traditional scholarly outputs with Knowledge Exchange (KE) activities, and we will work collaboratively with 10 Associated Partners (APs) over a 28-month period to develop a series of Research and Development tools that will be of benefit to festivals, the jazz and improvised music sectors, policy makers and the broader cultural and creative industries. Our Associated Partners are festivals and music promoters, museums and archives, cultural policy makers and national and international networking organisations.
CHIME focuses on three thematic work packages (WPs): Improvising Heritage: jazz,
festivals and heritage sites; Marketising Heritage: jazz in urban spaces; and Sounding Heritage:
jazz festival landscapes in the Netherlands. Each work package will develop a programme of
activities that feeds into the following research questions:
?How does jazz music facilitate aonnection to heritage and enable a reconfiguring of people's
relationship to place?
?In what ways do jazz and improvised music festivals provide new models for engagement with
cultural heritage?
?How does music shape and inform understandings of cultural memory through uses and re-uses
of heritage?
?What synergies and frictions are created when festivals and heritage sites interact (from positive
re-imaginings of the past to envisaging alternative futures, from the negotiation of problems between conservation and use, to frictions between tourism and local interests etc.)?
?In what ways can jazz and improvised music festivals act as lens to interrogate concepts of
cultural identity?
?How do music festivals blur the boundaries between tangible, intangible and digital heritage?

Planned Impact

CHIME has been developed in consultation with festivals, cultural heritage institutions and policy makers. The project will be geared to meeting the needs of different constituencies and the project team will remain in regular contact with Associated Partners and user groups to ensure that knowledge is transferred, exchanged and co-produced. Overall, we anticipate the project having a direct impact on the following groups:
European Jazz and Improvised Music Festivals: European festivals will benefit from a range of
Research and Development tools created in collaboration with the project team. These will involve the typology of jazz festivals and heritage sites and qualitative case studies that will inform festivals from across the sector about the nature of current uses and re-uses of heritage within the jazz and improvised music scene, a report for the pan-European network Europe Jazz Network that will feed into the organisation's new research survey of its membership, and a Digital Heritage project that serves both as an audience development tool and as a platform for mediating the meanings of festivals and heritage sites in digital environments.

Museums and Heritage organisations: Museums will benefit from the findings of the project by
working with the project team to deliver content for exhibitions, public lectures and outreach programmes. Heritage organisations will use project data to evaluate the impact of festivals on their sector and to realise the potential synergies of working with transient but transformative arts organisations.
Policy makers: A non-academic briefing paper aimed at articulating a) the relationship between
festivals, cultural heritage and the European goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe and the aspirations of global organisations, such as the United Cities and Local Governments group, UNESCO or UN HABITAT and b) issues and potentials for local authorities, cultural organisations and global networks to develop appropriate strategies and practices that value and support tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the context of broader sustainability challenges.
Public: CHIME will appeal to the general public through work with European festivals. Public
engagement events will raise awareness of the project's research questions and enable members of the general public to feed into research activities by sharing experiences and insights into uses and re-uses of heritage. Semi-structured interviews will also form part of fieldwork investigations in all three work packages, where members of the public will be included in case study materials. The public will be encouraged to engage in debates which feed into the project and to participate in the creation of the Digital Heritage tool. CHIME will also receive coverage in the press, specialist magazines and via different online platforms and social media.
Description Since being launched in September 2015, the CHIME project has had impacts on different stakeholder groups as well as the general public. The project delivered public engagement sessions as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, exploring themes relating to festivals and Cultural Heritage and hosted two launch events for project partners and relevant industry professionals in london (November 2015) and Amsterdam (February 2016).
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Cultural Heritage and Urban Sustainability
Amount £9,930 (GBP)
Organisation Mistra 
Sector Private
Country Sweden, Kingdom of
Start 10/2015 
End 12/2015
Description CHIME Inception Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The CHIME project team hosted an Inception Event at the Southbank Centre in London to meet with project partners and case study festivals to share information about the project and to discuss future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description CHIME launch Amsterdam 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The CHIME project hosted a launch event in Amsterdam in February 2016. The event included presentations from the project team alongisde two talks from Dutch festival ditrectors on the relationship between music, place, programming and heritage. The event also included a networking session and reception where key stakeholders from the arts (festivals, venues) could interact with policy makers and funders as well as the project team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Development of CHIME website and Twitter feed 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The CHIME project website includes details about the project and its ongoing activities. Regular blog posts draw on insights from the project team. Sections on impact are included alongside details of project members and Associated Partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Professor in Residence, EFG London Jazz Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I worked as Professor in Residence for the 2015 EFG London Jazz Festival. This role involved curating a series of panels and talks at the Southbank and Barican Centre in London across the 10 days of the Festival. Panels were free for the general public to attend and included participation from academics, musicians, promoters, writers, journalists and festival directors. Panels included specific sessions on the value of festivals in support of the CHIME project. I also delivered a keynote address entitled 'Can Jazz Change Your Life?' as part of the opening weekend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015