PhD Project: Andrew Cusworth

Project Title: Towards a digital land of song: a digital approach to the archival record of Welsh traditional music, its performance, and its reception


Dates: 2012-2015

Researcher: Dr Andrew Cusworth

University Partner: The Open University

Supervisors: Professor Trevor Herbert, Professor Lorna Hughes

Funding: AHRC Capacity Building Block Grant

Project Outline:

Divided between a prototype digital resource and a written companion, this research implemented and examined some of the possibilities and prospects offered to the study of Welsh traditional music by digital humanities methods and approaches. The digital resource acted as an annotated index of a sample of sources from the collections of the National Library of Wales, using hyperlinks and geographical mapping to express connections between sources of, figures involved with, and reception information relating to Welsh traditional music. Philosophically, the research focussed on the topics of cultural geography, national identity, collective memory, archive, and the intersections these have with one another and with music. Musicologically, the research centred around the traces of Welsh traditional music in the theoretical and literal archive constituted by the National Library of Wales, and the integration and inter-referencing of these traces in a virtual space in order to consider Welsh traditional music and its material record as a situated cultural activity. The digital resource is accessible on Andrew Cusworth's website.

Aside from the PhD submission, the research project and its findings were presented and discussed at a number of events including conferences (Music in Nineteenth Century Britain, Cardiff 2013; Ethnomusicology in the digital age, Belfast, 2013; Cynhadledd Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, 2015), public talks (Echoes & Amplifications, NLW, 2014), and a seminar (Towards a digital land of song, NLW, 2015).

Publications related to project:

Cusworth, A., ‘Alawon Gwerin Môn: towards a reception history’, Canu Gwerin, 2017.

Cusworth, A., Hughes, L.M., James, R., Roberts, O., Roderick, G.L. 2015. ‘What Makes the Digital ‘Special’? The Research Program in Digital Collections at the National Library of Wales.’  New Review of Academic Librarianship 21 (2) pp. 241-248.