Fiorella Montero-Diaz (M.Mus Goldsmiths, PhD Royal Holloway -University of London) is a senior lecturer in ethnomusicology at Keele University. She originally trained as a classical pianist at the National Conservatory of Peru, then went on to study and work in the field of sound engineering and music for the moving image in Lima before starting her explorations of the field of ethnomusicology.
Dr Montero-Diaz’ PhD study “Fusion as inclusion: A Lima upper class delusion?” opened up a new field of research termed ‘ethnomusicology of the hegemonic’ with the first-ever in-depth examination of a contemporary popular music phenomenon in Lima (fusion) among white upper class urban youth. The study was also a pioneering observation of the impact on the white upper classes of Peru's twenty-year internal war (1980-2000), which triggered deep questioning of their own social position, whiteness and identity. She is currently on the Board of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE).
Before joining Keele University, Dr Montero-Diaz was a Research Assistant at the Theatre and Drama Department at Royal Holloway University of London where she also contributed to BA and MMus courses at the Music Department. Between 2014-2017 she was the General Administrator and Archivist of the BFE. Dr Montero-Diaz built the BFE’s first historical archive.
Dr Montero-Diaz’ work has been published in Ethnomusicology Forum, Popular Music, Anthropologica, Musiké, and has appeared in the edited volume: Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media (eds. Hilder, Stobart and Tan) and Cultures of Anti-racism (eds. Wade, Aguiló). Her research has been supported by Goldsmiths Postgraduate International Excellence Scholarship, the RHUL Reid Research Scholarship, University of London Central Research Fund and the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion.
At Keele University Dr Montero-Diaz is supervising PhD dissertations, leading postgraduate courses for the MA in Music and Globalization and Media, and teaching undergraduate courses on world musics, music in the community/health, and ethnomusicology. She teaches the first-year undergraduate module “Introduction to World Musics”, the second-year modules: “Music and Wellbeing in the Community”, “Introduction to Ethnomusicology and Ethnography Methods”, and her signature course for third-years “Music, Conflict, and Social Change”.
Research and scholarship
Dr Montero-Diaz research focuses on music hybridity, citizenship, race, class, and social conflict in contemporary Lima, Peru. Dr Montero-Diaz is particularly interested in understanding the impact music has on people in areas of conflict (racial, ethnic, class) noting which experiences, if any, contribute to breaking patterns of social segregation and racism.
Dr Montero-Diaz describes herself as an ethnomusicology, popular music scholar and above all a music ethnographer. She draws heavily on sociological, cultural and media studies approaches. She researches and writes about music hybridity, racial imaginaries through music performance and listening; links between identity, technology and music; the use of music as a tool for empathy and conflict transformation; music, whiteness and the Latin American elites; music, antiracism and modern citizenships.
Her most recent publications include “Turning Things Around? From White Fusion Stars with Andean Flavour to Andean Fusion Stars with White Appeal” (Popular Music, 2018), “YouTubing the ‘Other’: Lima’s Upper Classes and Andean Imaginaries” (in Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media, 2017) and “Singing the War: Reconfiguring White Upper-class Identity through Fusion Music in Post-war Lima” (Ethnomusicology Forum, 2016).
Ongoing research projects include: Strokestra, and the extension of insight into the effectiveness of delivering a music programme for stroke rehabilitation with a practical and inclusive agenda featuring group creative music-making, rehearsal observations and live public performance (PI Dr Sue Hunter); Musical journeys of charitable instrument donations, which seeks to explore the phenomenon of charitable giving and its effects on both donor and recipient in the context of musical instrument donation. Working with charities collecting, repairing and distributing instruments to places of conflict around the world, the study explores motivations behind instrument donation using scales measuring personality, identity, altruism, wellbeing, and motivation for giving. It also sheds light on the social connections that are possible through music and the significance of instruments in different stages of people’s musical journeys (PI Dr Alex Lamont).
Currently Dr Montero-Diaz is finalizing an edited collection (Routledge) entitled Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes: Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture and Politics (coedited with Dr Franka Winter), and is preparing an edited collection on music, conflict and social manipulation in post-conflict contexts (coedited with Dr Abigail Wood).
Dr Montero-Diaz is developing a new research project on the temporary student diaspora of young upper class Limeños in London in order to observe if, when and how exactly their music habits and social relationships change in comparison to the ones they perform and maintain in Lima. This study will analyse whether diasporic music experiences contribute to breaking patterns of social segregation, taste and self-identity.
Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz teaches at the Music, Music Technology and Media, Communications and Culture (MCC) departments; she also contributes to the Humanities MRes. Since she started lecturing at Keele, every year she has been nominated to both Keele Excellence Awards in Teaching and the Student Choice Award.
Dr Montero-Diaz teaches on/convenes the following research-led undergraduate modules:
- Year 1: World Musics
- Year 2: Music in the Community, Introduction to Ethnomusicology and Ethnography Methods
- Year 3: Music, Conflict, and Social Change
Dr Montero-Diaz encourages her students to engage in discussion and debate, and problematize readings and scholar’s arguments from academic journal articles, books and ethnographic material. She also invites artists, scholars, music practitioners and fellow ethnomusicologists to engage in conversation with her students in order to expand on the contents of her lectures. In Dr Montero-Diaz modules, students are free to deconstruct music topics expressing their own views and thoughts not only in essays, but also through other creative media, such as ethnographic film, performance as a research technique, graphic notation/transcription, poster presentations, world music performance, placements shadowing people in the music industry, among other innovative learning tools.
As an educator, Dr Montero-Diaz focuses on a student’s ability to synthesize content, to critically deconstruct representations of musical meaning and expression and to analyse music’s impact on human emotion, wellbeing and identity. Her goal is to encourage students to build experiential-knowledge and support a constructive approach to learning by enabling them to make reflective connections, ascertaining what they already knew and, thus, guiding them to connect new information to their previous knowledge. This helps them to question, critically engage and deconstruct their previous assumptions about music and facilitates the creation of new contrasted constructs of the diverse music surrounding them.
Dr Montero-Diaz would be delighted to discuss postgraduate research projects relating to her research and teaching interests:
- Ethnomusicology/ Popular Music Studies
- History and Methods of Ethnomusicology – online ethnography
- Latin American Music and Culture
- Music hybridity and fusion
- Music, Media and Technology
- Music in Race, Class and Ethnicity
- Identity formation through musicking
- Music as a technology for conflict transformation
Dr Montero-Diaz has been invited to assess PhD theses and Vivas at the University of Bergen (Norway) and the University of Derby (UK).
Full Publications Listshow
Montero-Diaz F and Winter F (Eds.). 2019. Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes - Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture and Politics. Routledge. link>
Book review of Song and Social Change in Latin America (by Lauren Shaw). Humanities and Social Sciences Online (H-Net Music). link>2017.
Review of A Latin American Music Reader: Views from the South, by Javier León and Helena Simonett. Yearbook for Traditional Music, W3-W5, vol. 49. link>2017.
Danza de Tijeras through Modernity and Migration. Musiké. International Journal of Ethnomusicological Studies, 1-18, vol. 5/6 Sacred Singing and Musical Spirituality(III (1)). link>2009.
Marginal like you!: constructing citizenship through fusion music in the Peruvian traditional upper classes. In Citizenship in the Latin American Upper and Middle Classes. Ethnographic Perspectives on Culture and Politics. Montero-Diaz F and Winter F (Eds.). (8 vols.). Routledge. full text>2019.
YouTubing the "Other": Lima's Upper Classes and Andean Imaginaries. In Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media. Hilder TR, Stobart H, Tan SE (Eds.). (8 vols.). United Kingdom: University of Rochester Press. link>2017.
Sound Transformations: Michael Ormiston (Documentary 2008). Ethnographic Filmlink>
- Conference convenor and organiser: “Beyond Memory and Reconciliation: Music, Conflict and Social Manipulation in Post-Conflict Contexts” BFE and Keele University.
- “Ethnomusicology and Parenting”. Invited panel delivered at Newcastle University as part of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology International Annual Conference.
- “White Cholos? Discourses around race, whiteness, and Peru’s fusion music”. Invited and funded talk delivered at Manchester University for the conference: Cultures of Anti-racism organised by Professor Peter Wade.
- “Diálogos Sonoros: La Fusión Musical y los Jóvenes de Clases Altas Tradicionales en Lima de la Posguerra”. Diálogo de Saberes. LASA International Conference - Latin American Studies Association. Lima-Peru.
- “Cuando las palabras no bastan: música, conflicto y cambio social en el Perú de la post-guerra”. Invited keynote delivered at LUM – The Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion. Ministry for Culture, Lima-Peru.
- “Métodos y Temas en Etnomusicología”. Invited talk delivered at Universidad Católica del Perú and Instituto de Etnomusicología PUCP.
- Organisation of conference: “Early Career Research Day” Keele University.
- “Fusion Music Made in Peru”. Invited and funded talk delivered at Royal Holloway, University of London.
- “Ethnomusicology of the hegemonic: Methodological dilemmas”. Invited and funded talk delivered at Birmingham City University, and presented at the conference Researching Music: Interviewing, Ethnography, and Oral History. Senate
- House, University of London.
- “Ethnomusicology of the hegemonic: Methodological dilemmas”. Researching Music: Interviewing, Ethnography, and Oral History. Institute of Musical Research, the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and the UK & Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Senate House, University of London, London.
- “Marginal like you. Lima upper class youth embracing marginality for social inclusion and participation”. LASA at 50. Latin American Studies Association. New York, USA.
- “Constructing the White Cholo. Racial Sincerity or Colour-Blindness?”. Building Bridges: Repositioning Latin American Studies. Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS). University of Liverpool, Liverpool.
- "An inclusive ideal in a delusional box? Marca Perú’s impact on young white upper class identity in Lima". Branding Latin America. University of Cambridge.
- "Elite social protest? Lima’s white upper classes subverting their own hegemony through music". Research clusters ‘Popular Music and Popular Culture’ and ‘Power, Discourse and Society’ Three day Symposium: Songs of Social Protest. University of Limerick, Ireland.
- "Lima elite subversions? Music as a post-war technology of self-transformation". Centre for Anthropological Research (CfAR) Conference: Transnational Cultures of Struggle: Song, Art and Popular Movements. University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
- "Posh converts: Transcending exclusivity to find the new young upper class self in Lima fusion music". Finnish Youth Research Society and Network: Holy Crap! Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures. Helsinki, Finland.
- "Beyond historical antagonisms: Lima's white upper classes challenging their own whiteness and privilege through music". Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) 2014 Conference. Birbeck University of London.
- "Fusion as inclusion: A Lima Upper Class Delusion?"Americas Research Group Conference: Divergences and Transformations in the Americas: exploring the reconfiguration of a region.Newcastle University.
- "Singing a Change: Rephrasing White Upper Class Identity through Fusion Music in Post-war Lima." Musical and Other Cultural Responses to Political Violence in Latin America. The University of Manchester.
- "Heralding reconciliation? Peruvian intercultural fusion music in the aftermath of war." Rebuilding national imaginaries, reasserting torn social fabrics: Reactions to violence and disappearance in Latin America. Durham University.
- "YouTube me: Lima’s fusion musicians contesting essentialist imaginaries of Andean indigeneity."British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) and ICTM-Ireland Annual Conference: Ethnomusicology in the Digital Age. Queen’s University Belfast.