Rhythm Changes is a transnational research project which investigates jazz scenes and practices in different European settings. This project is funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) as part of their Joint Research Programme theme 'Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity'. The project has used jazz as a platform to explore concepts of national identity, canonicity, and social ambience in different European contexts, and has also examined the ways in which jazz works as a form of transnational cultural practice.
The project is led by the University of Salford, UK, and alongside Andrew Dubber and Tim Wall of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR). The project involves: the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria; the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Lancaster University, UK. In addition to the academic institutions involved, the project also has partnerships with a number of renowned jazz music festivals, conservatoires and musicians from across Europe.
There are four research strands to the Rhythm Changes project:
- Canon, History and Ideology; Identity
- Hybridisation and Communities in Flux
- Nation, Identity and Inheritance
- Cultural Dynamics and Social Transformations.
These themes are examined via practice-based research and at Rhythm Changes conferences, the first of which, hosted by the University of Amsterdam in September 2011, explored the theme of 'Jazz and National Identities'. The second conference, hosted by the University of Salford, was held in April 2013 and focused on 'Rethinking Jazz Cultures'. BCMCR researchers Tim Wall, Simon Barber and Andrew Dubber have each delivered papers at Rhythm Changes conferences.
On his involvement with the project, BCMCR researcher and Professor of Music Industries Innovation Andrew Dubber says:
"My role has developed as the project has progressed. At first, my involvement centred particularly on Knowledge Transfer, especially with respect to the ways in which jazz musicians, music businesses and organisations can use the internet. As that's progressed, I have conducted one significant practice-based research project involving the Kitchen Orchestra, video cameras, blogging and social media which forms the basis of an article in the Jazz Research Journal. I have also interviewed representatives of fifteen national jazz agencies from around Europe about the ways in which they use the internet, and I have written about this in another article for Jazz Research, and compiled the findings into a consultancy document for all of the national jazz agencies within the European Jazz Network (EJN)."