Humanities Cultural Programme Project Award: Diversity and the British String Quartet

diversity and the british string quartet logo

We are delighted to announce that Dr Joanna Bullivant and Professor Samantha Dieckmann have been awarded a Humanities Cultural Programme grant for their project Diversity and the British String Quartet.

The project brings together composers, performers, students, and academics to explore issues of diversity in British classical music through the case study of the string quartet. The string quartet - and British classical music in general - are associated with elitism and exclusivity, yet historically the genre has attracted composers who defy this stereotype: women, BAME musicians, communists, and others from traditionally marginalised groups such as Ethel Smyth, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Elizabeth Maconchy. In this project, the Villiers Quartet and Oxford researchers will: commission and release as digital concerts new string quartets from British composers with varied connections to national identity; coach remotely 14-18 year old students from schools with low access to music education or diverse student bodies to compose their own string quartets with mentoring from Oxford students; and produce a live-streamed symposium with lectures, round-table discussion with composers, student workshops, and performances of historic British quartets.

Dr Bullivant said:

'We are delighted with this award and grateful to the HCP. We are keenly aware how much live music and music education has suffered during the pandemic, and also of the importance of issues of race and diversity in classical music highlighted in the summer Black Lives Matter protests. This project aims to explore issues of diversity and provide access to a wonderful opportunity for young people while we are still impacted by lockdown. We are excited to begin and to see the results of the project.'

You can find out more about their Humanities Cultural Programme funded project by visiting their project page here: