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Natalie Mason

Music, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

International and intercultural music-making with children and families in the West Midlands: routes from community to classroom and beyond

My research explores music-making that connects with contemporary and traditional international sounds in educational and community settings. This includes ‘world music’ in the classroom and local musicking practices that connect to diaspora. My research is structured as a series of comparative case studies with a primary focus on the West Midlands. 

At the interface of an interdisciplinary area between ethnomusicology; music education; community music and applied ethnomusicology scholarship, my main areas of inquiry are:

  • participant-led, responsive praxis within intercultural music education
  • international music-making of children and families in the West Midlands.

New methods in this field are important to influence development of new pedagogies, in a time when music education and acceptance of diversity can be perceived to be under threat. I hope to contribute to better sustainability of this work and its future iterations, while creating important primary research into a little documented field of emergent music practice(s) in this region.

Research Area

  • Music


  • Mason, Natalie and Cara Stacey (2019) 'Composing, Creative Play and the Ethical Incomplete: Practice-Based Approaches in Ethnomusicology'. SAMUS 38
  • Mason, Natalie (2016) 'The Edge Suite'. In Insights into Collaborative Practice by Artists on the Edge. Birmingham: ARTicle Press. 
  • Mason, Natalie and Cara Stacey (2012) 'The South African Music Archive Project (SAMAP)'. Website review. The World of Music 1 (2)

Public Engagement & Impact

This research is inspired by a decade of community music work in the UK and South Africa. Since 2015 I have been Creative Director of the Youth Music funded 'Multicultural Music Making' project in partnership with Friction Arts, which has demonstrated considerable impact and success with its work in Birmingham and Walsall. The MMM project provides music education opportunities and cultural space within school for children and families, plus training opportunities for musicians and teachers. I feel this research will immediately benefit the ongoing MMM project, and extend the reach of this work more broadly, with the potential to impact music education policy and curriculum design. 

Other Research Interests

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Education 
  • Community Music 
  • Applied Ethnomusicology
  • Education 
  • Culture Studies
  • Practice-based research 
  • Theatre Studies 


  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) 
  • Sound Sense