CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A University of Illinois music professor has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2019.
The recipient, Christina Bashford, is a professor of musicology.
“Congratulations to Professor Bashford on receiving this highly competitive fellowship,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “Her selection recognizes her outstanding scholarship in her field, and we’re proud to have her among our faculty.”
The NEH awarded $30.9 million in grants for 188 humanities projects across the nation. The fellowship program supports advanced research in the humanities, and the recipients produce articles, books, digital materials or other scholarly resources.
The NEH has received an average of 1,110 applications per year for fellowships in the last five rounds of competition, according to the NEH website. Over that time, it awarded an average of 79 fellowships per year for a funding rate of 7%, making the fellowships among the most competitive humanities awards in the country.
Bashford’s book project, “Forgotten Voices, Hidden Pleasures: Violin Culture in Britain, 1870-1930,” examines the vibrant grassroots British culture – previously unexplored by music historians – that formed around the playing, making and collecting of the instruments of the violin family. It reveals intricate and extensive networks of forgotten professionals and amateur enthusiasts, including thousands of middle-class women, working-class men and schoolchildren who became entranced by an instrument that had become newly available to them.
Bashford looks at how and why these fragile instruments so captured the late Victorian imagination, and the impact that violin culture had on the British compositional tradition. Her study demonstrates the violin’s systemic, democratizing and lasting impact on musical life in Britain, and how the growth of violin culture was bound up with contemporary concerns.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency, and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. It supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.