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Thomas Burkhalter
Thomas Burkhalter

Thomas Burkhalter is an ethnomusicologist, music journalist and cultural producer from Bern (Switzerland). He is the founder and editor-in-chief of He is working as a research associate and project leader at the Academy of Arts Berne and the University of Basel (Seminary of Cultural Studies and European Ethnology).

He published the book „Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut“ (Routledge), and co-edited the books „The Arab Avant Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East“ (Wesleyan University Press), „Seismographic Sounds - Visions of a New World“ (Norient Books) and „Out of the Absurdity of Life - Global Music“ (Norient/Traversion).

Burkhalter is project leader of the research projects „Kultklänge - Zur Entstehung und Entwicklung dominierender Einzelsounds in populärer Musik von 1960 bis 2013“ and „Glokale Sounds - Wie Tracks Referenzen auf Orte verarbeiten und neu kodieren. He is also working on the Norient-Agora-Projekt (SNF) „Communicating Music Research“.

He wrote academic and journalistic articles and produced radio features on music, culture and politics in Beirut, Istanbul, Cairo, Bamako, Duschanbe, Belgrade and other cities for academic journals, books, newspapers, magazines and radio stations (e.g. Popular Music and Society, New Zurich Newspaper, Swiss National Radio DRS2, Die Zeit, SWR2), and he taught at Universities in Oldenburg, Paderborn, Karlsruhe, Basel and Bern.
Burkhalter produced and tours with the audio-visual performances „Sonic Traces: From the Arab World“, „Sonic Traces: From Switzerland“ and co-directed the documentary films „Ghana is the Future - XL Teaser“ (2014) around the Ghanaian rappers FOKN Bois, and „Buy More Incense“ (2000) about Indian and Pakistani musicians of second and third generation in the UK. As a curator and concert organiser (e.g. Norient Musikfilm Festival), curator of CD-Compilations (e.g. „Golden Beirut: New Sounds from Lebanon“, Outhere Records), cultural funder (member of the jury of Schweizer Musikpreis, since 2014; member of the music committee of the Canton of Bern, Switzerland (2010-2014), member of committee of ArtLink (2008-2012), and board of trustees of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 2002-2010), and tour agent (Bhangra band DCS, 2002-2004), he places great emphasis on transdisciplinary approaches between theory and practice.


Friday, 21 Oct

Cultural Entrepreneurship?

19:30 - 21:00

Forum Stadtpark

Thomas Burkhalter (ch)

Information & Links

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