Ioannis Christidis

Dissertationspreis für Migrationsforschung 2020

Ioannis Christidis wird für sein Dissertationsprojekt “Hurriya, Azadi, Freedom Now!”
Music in the Experience of Forced Migration from Syria to the European Borderland, ausgezeichnet.


The slogan “Hurriya, Azadi, Freedom now!” was chanted within protests, songs and dances, in the summer of 2016, in Thessaloniki, a city in northern Greece, by people mainly coming from war-torn Syria. They were protesting for the re-opening of European borders that were closed down after a short period in which the border crossings had been less troubling. Hurriya in Arabic and Azadi in Persian are the words for freedom. The protagonists in these protests were young men of Syrian-Arab origin, who although blocked and forced to live in wretched refugee camps, used music and dance to empower their mobilizations and help them to endure the inhumane living conditions in the camps. The songs related mainly to the Syrian uprising of 2011, to the war, and to the later experience of forced migration. There were folk and popular Syrian dances, and an extensive musical use of mobile technologies and the internet. Today, after all their past difficulties, many Syrians are rebuilding their lives in various European cities and are already, developing and creating music, despite the several social and political restrictions they face, due to their refugee status, and due to anti-migration propaganda and policies that have gained space in many European countries.

Transdisciplinary research on migration and flight, although it has widened its scope to include individual and collective agency and the lived realities of refugees and migrants, has not so far paid much attention to music and its impact. The dissertation project in ethnomusicology questions the transforming functions, meanings and socio-political implications of the music of Syrian refugees and exiles, along their journey and in their final destinations. It aims to shed light on the role of music in their struggles for freedom of movement and socio-political inclusion, as well as in their negotiation of the effects of the trauma of extreme violence and of the destabilization of their former social experiences of class, gender, ethnicity, religion and politics.

Within his multi-sited field research schedule, Ioannis Christidis carried out documentation of music and dance performances in Greece, in 2016, and as of February 2019 he has been conducting field research in Vienna. This includes audiovisual documentation of a series of musical performances and the conducting of in depth interviews with various musical actors. On-line fieldwork methods are integral in his project. The theoretical framework draws on ethnomusicological research on music in migration and minority contexts, as well as on concepts stemming from political sciences and gender studies. Finally, methods of reflexive, collaborative and dialogic production of knowledge, as also suggested within the field of applied ethnomusicology, constitute for Ioannis Christidis a socially conscious stance by which to open future perspectives for music-centered interventions in civil society and policy making.

Der Preisträger

Ioannis Christidis hat traditionelle Musik verschiedener Regionen Griechenlands an der Music-high school in Thessaloniki studiert (2000). Nach dem Masterstudium der Architektur an der Aristoteles Universität Thessaloniki (2010) absolvierte er ein zusätzliches Bachelorstudium in den Fächern Musikwissenschaften und Kunst an der Makedonia Universität in Thessaloniki (2017). Seit 2019 ist er Dissertant am Institut für Volksmusik-forschung und Ethnomusikologie an der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien (Betreuerin: Dr. Ursula Hemetek).