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Archiving Musical Heritage: Global citizenship, local communities and the place of music in intergenerational cultural memory

A London-based project, aiming to create sustainable, inter-generational music archives for the future by engaging young people in recording and uploading the musical memories of older generations using their mobile phones, then using them as springboards for musical compositions and performances that explore individual and group cultural heritage, identity and citizenship.


An initiative of The British Library’s World and Traditional Music section, City University and the City of London Academy. Generously supported by City University

Abdullahi Bootan with school children from Camden

Abdullahi Bootan with school children from Camden (Photo: Soohan Somali Arts)

Project summary

The Archiving Musical Heritage project aims to encourage young people from City of London Academy, Islington to engage with their cultural and musical heritage. Participants will record their parents and grandparents talking about music or perhaps singing a song that is memorable and meaningful to them. Their recordings will be uploaded to an online platform and made available for sharing amongst the group. 

As a way of creatively engaging with these recordings students will take part in music workshops during which they will reflect upon their recordings and use these as inspiration for collaborative musical compositions. The workshops will be led by professional musicians Lucy Forde and Alba Cabral, who will draw out themes related to individual and group cultural heritage, identity and citizenship. The project will therefore enable participants to explore, in a practical and creative way, concepts from their Citizenship and Music curricula. 

The process will culminate in a performance in front of families and the school community, which will be documented, recorded and archived for posterity. 

A new collection of recordings made during the project will be added, where appropriate, to the British Library’s online sounds website, representing and relevant to local schools and communities: the library’s future users.

Contact us

If you have questions about the Archiving Musical Heritage project contact:

Dr Janet Topp Fargion
Lead Curator, World and Traditional Music
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7427

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