Safeguarding and Transmission of Musical Heritage in Contemporary Georgia (Caucasus): Tbilisi-based Vocal Ensembles and their Wider Cultural Impact

Project Details


This project built on an investigation into the culture of traditional-style vocal ensembles in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The project considered the significance of urban ensembles devoted to traditional music in the context of Georgia's socio-cultural renaissance, its geopolitical reorientation and its emerging tourist industry.

It also encompassed summer singing camps and study-tours that provided amateur singers from overseas with opportunities to learn from Georgian songmasters in different regions of the country.

At the forefront of the analysis lay questions about teaching methodology, discourses of authenticity, understandings of the meaning of performance, the place of tradition in contemporary society, the interplay between state and grassroots initiatives, and the significance of international connections.

The research offers new insights into urban music-making, heritage management and sustainability, cultural tourism, and the broader dynamics of musical activity and scholarship in post-Soviet societies.

Research outputs included:

• 'Folklore, the City and a World in Transition: Intangible Cultural Heritage in Georgia (Caucasus)', in Barley Norton and Naomi Matsumoto (eds.), Music as Heritage: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives (London and New York: Routledge, 2018)

• 'Polyphony, Heritage and Sustainability', in The Eighth International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony (Tbilisi: V. Saradjishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire, 2017)

Conference papers, keynote talks and guest lectures connected with the project were given at:

• Durham University
• City University, London
• University of Cambridge
• University of Kent
• University of Limerick, Ireland
• University of Valladolid, Spain
• Tbilisi State Conservatoire, Georgia
• Columbia University, New York
• University of Campinas, Brazil.
Short titleR:HAP Bithell BA Small14
Effective start/end date1/06/1531/08/16

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Folklore, the City and a World in Transition: Intangible Cultural Heritage in Georgia (Caucasus)

    Bithell, C., 2018, Music as Heritage: Historical and Ethnographic Perspectives. Norton, B. & Matsumoto, N. (eds.). London and New York: Routledge, p. 193–215 23 p. (SOAS Musicology Series).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • Polyphony, Heritage and Sustainability

    Bithell, C., 1 Jan 2018, (E-pub ahead of print) The Eighth International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony: Proceedings.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    Open Access
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