Matthias Heyman

Matthias HeymanMatthias Heyman (Belgium) is currently finalising his PhD research at the University of Antwerp in affiliation with the Royal Antwerp Conservatoire, where he obtained his MA in Jazz Performance (Double Bass). In his research he seeks to contextualise the bass playing of Ellingtonian Jimmie Blanton (1918-1942). In 2011, Matthias led a research project on Belgian jazz heritage, and he continues to specialise in his country’s jazz history. He is also active as a freelance double bassist, and is a lecturer of all jazz history and research courses at the Jazz Studio (Antwerp) and the LUCA School of Arts (Leuven). Matthias has published in journals such as Journal of Jazz Studies and Current Research in Jazz, besides presenting at several international conferences.

Conference Organisers & Researchers in Residence

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Prof Chris Atton is Professor of Media and Culture in the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. His work focuses on Alternative Media where his contribution has concentrated on the notion of alternative media not as an essentialised political position but as a set of socio-cultural processes that redraw the boundaries of expert culture and media power. His research interests include popular music, the creative economy, and teaching and learning in higher education. Atton has also written on censorship and media ethics.

Dr Haftor Medbøe is Associate Professor of Music, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Popular Music and Jazz Musician in Residence at Edinburgh Napier University. His research interests include cultural identity and transnational heritage in contemporary European jazz, popular music pedagogy, interdisciplinarity and practice-as-research. Alongside his academic career, he remains active as a guitarist/composer and over the past decade has released eight albums to international critical acclaim.


Dr Zack Moir lectures across a broad range of music subjects at Edinburgh Napier University.  He is also a lecturer in music at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and is a Teaching Fellow in the Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh. He has a strong research interest in popular music education, music pedagogy, music in higher education, musical improvisation, and composition. Zack is also an active musician and composer performing as a saxophonist in ensembles and as a soloist.



Tony Whyton


Tony Whyton is Professor of Jazz Studies at Birmingham City University (BCU). His critically acclaimed books ‘Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and ‘Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album’ (Oxford University Press, 2013) have sought to develop cross-disciplinary methods of musical enquiry. As an editor, Whyton published the Jazz volume of the ‘Ashgate Library of Essays on Popular Music’ in 2011 and continues to work as co-editor of the Jazz Research Journal (Equinox). In 2014, he founded the new Routledge series ‘Transnational Studies in Jazz’ alongside BCU colleague Dr Nicholas Gebhardt. Gebhardt and Whyton also edited ‘The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music’ (Routledge) in 2015, a collection that explores the ways in which musician-led collectives offer a powerful model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period.

From 2010-2013, Whyton was Project Leader for the ground-breaking HERA-funded Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities project (, where he led a consortium of 13 researchers working across 7 Universities in 5 countries.  He is currently the Project Leader for CHIME, a 3-year JPI-Heritage Plus funded project that explores the relationship between jazz festivals and heritage sites (

Luca Vitali

Luca Vitali

Luca Vitali is one of the founding members of Europe Jazz Media – a community of jazz journalists, media professionals and broadcasters. He has organised various contemporary music and performing arts events, and since 2010 has worked as one of the artistic curators of Bologna’s Angelica Festival. He has collaborated with various Norwegian institutions in Italy (Royal Norwegian Embassy, Royal Norwegian Consulate in Bologna), as well as with Jazzforum, Music Norway, Listen to Norway and Jazznytt.

José Dias

Jose Dias

José Dias’ PhD research on European jazz networks, alongside his association with the intra-European 12 Points jazz festival and the Portuguese jazz netlabel Sintoma Records, has led to his appointment as delegate for 12 Points, around the subject of which he is currently organising a monograph on European jazz, as co-editor, in collaboration with Tony Whyton (Birmingham City University /CHIME /Rhythm Changes), Gerry Godley (Leeds College of Music /12 Points) and Kenneth Killeen (Improvised Music Company /12 Points).

In Portugal, José Dias has been a leader in the establishment of platforms promoting knowledge exchange between academia and the music sectors – musicians, promoters, festivals, record labels, journalists, educators and researchers. This engagement has been channelled into initiatives such as Researchers in Residence (Universidade Nova de Lisboa/ Festa do Jazz Lisboa 2016), featuring high-profile international music researchers and promoters; and Future Jazz Talks (Universidade Nova de Lisboa/ Clean Feed Records/ Europe Jazz Network), as part of the 2016 EJN Board Meeting, in June 2016. José Dias is currently finishing the filming and editing of the documentary Those Who Make it Happen, on Portuguese jazz and its mapping in the European jazz scene, for release in July 2016.

As a musician, José Dias has performed with European and American artists at numerous international music festivals and venues, delivered master classes on composition and performance, and released a number of albums as both leader and sideman. As an educator, Jose Dias established and developed the course programme for the prestigious JBJazz School Lisbon, where he held the post of Pedagogical Director (2004-2012).

Pedro Cravinho

Pedro Cravinho
Pedro Cravinho currently is a Doctoral Visiting Researcher at Birmingham City University (BCU), United Kingdom. Cravinho is conducting his PhD research on Jazz on Television in Portugal during Estado Novo regime (1956-1974), at the University of Aveiro (UA), Portugal, under supervision of Prof. Rosário Pestana (UA, PT), and co-supervision of Prof. Nick Gebhardt (BCU, UK). Cravinho researches interests include Jazz Studies and Media Studies, with a particular interest in jazz and television, as also, the political and social history of Jazz Diaspora during the 20th century. He has numerous published and forthcoming articles on Portuguese jazz.

Petter Frost Fadnes

Petter Frost Fadnes

With a parallel career in performance and academia, Frost Fadnes’ research interest is centered on improvisational thinking within a practical context, specifically looking at improvisational processes through musical performance. His overall mission is to demystify improvisational music making, and reveal the musical thought within the performance. As a saxophone player, Frost Fadnes is active much of the year with The Geordie Approach (UK/NO) – mixing acoustic and electronically manipulated sounds – in addition to the Stavanger-based collective Kitchen Orchestra, the quartet Mole (UK/FR/NO), and the trios Target (UK/AU/NO) and Trio DRP (UK/NO).

Frost Fadnes is Associate Professor at The Department of Music and Dance, University of Stavanger, and former principal investigator for the HERA-funded research project Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities.

William Bares

William Bares
Pianist / scholar William Bares received his Ph.D in ethnomusicology in 2009 from Harvard University under the mentorship of Ingrid Monson, the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music. He spent much of the past decade researching European jazz and playing professionally on the European scene. He has published articles on transatlantic jazz in Jazzforschung, Jazz Research Journal, American Music, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music, among others. He taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory before taking a job as assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, in 2011. Bares is active in Asheville’s thriving musical community as an educator, musician and promoter. He was the solo pianist in the Blue Ridge Orchestra’s debut of Rhapsody in Blue, and serves as curator of the Sunday Jazz Showcase at Asheville’s famed Isis Music Hall. He was also coordinator of Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues—an international meeting of scholars and musicians that took place in Asheville in October of 2014. His book, Eternal Triangle: American Jazz in European Postmodern, is forthcoming.

Donald James

Donald James
Donald James is an ethnomusicologist, musician, and music writer based in Boston. His Ph.D research investigated the effects of cultural policy on jazz musicians and style on the Paris scene in the mid-2000s. He has written on jazz and popular music for a variety of outlets—most notably, WGBH’s Front Row Boston, where he is the managing editor. James was also host and producer of Exploring Black Music, a podcast of the Center for Black Music Research.

James is a lecturer in ethnomusicology at Boston College and has taught at a number of institutions in the Boston area. He has lectured publicly on French cultural policy and jazz at the Copenhagen Philosophy Forum’s lecture series on Jazz and Philosophy, and various conferences and venues in the US and Europe. Most recently, James has begun work on a research project on cultural labor and the political economy of music in the Shoals region of Alabama.

Twitter: @thedonaldjames

Niels Overgaard –

Niels Overgaard
The organising committee has great pleasure in announcing conference panel-participation by Niels Overgaard.

Dubbed “no ordinary jazz blogger” by Danish national broadsheet, Politiken, Niels Overgaard has, over the past decade, become Denmark’s most respected and prolific jazz critics. With a deep interest in the music’s historical framework, Niels Overgaard writes predominantly about Danish jazz and, through his unstinting commitment to his interest, has gained an unparalleled overview of jazz from the region.

To appreciate the scope of Niels’ output, visit

Call For Papers

Continental Drift: 50 Years of Jazz from Europe

16th and 17th of July, 2016

A two-day conference at Edinburgh Napier University, UK, in association with the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

The organisers seek proposals for papers (to be delivered as a 20×20” slide-based presentation) based on two central themes that will function as stimulus for panel discussions:

  1. Key factors in the development of jazz in Europe.
  2. Moving forward – the future of jazz in Europe.

We intend to include a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives around these topics including but not limited to historical, analytical, philosophical, economical, cultural, political, and pedagogical viewpoints. We welcome proposals from any disciplinary background.

Conference proceedings will take two main forms:

  1. Each presenter will be invited to submit an article based on their presentation which will be published as part of an edited collection – details TBC.
  2. The event will be filmed and released as an open-access online resource.

Proposals should include the following details:

Presenter Name
Institutional affiliation (if appropriate)
Email address
Title of paper
300-word abstract

Please send your abstract to by Tuesday the 1st of March 2016. You will be notified of the outcome by Monday the 14th of March.

Dr Haftor Medbøe, Dr Zack Moir, and Prof. Chris Atton
Conference Organisers


Continental Drift 2018: Jazz festivals edition

A symposium event organised Edinburgh Napier University in association with the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

14 July, 2018, 12:00 – 16:00 at Teviot Row, Edinburgh

Continental Drift presents an afternoon of panel discussions with audience Q&A. Featuring an exciting line-up of international jazz festival programmers, music journalists, musicians, and academics, we anticipate lively debate around key themes including the festivalisation of jazz, the impact of jazz festivals on local and global scenes, future proofing of festival formats, programming philosophies, cultural politics, funding, marketing and legacy.

Tickets: £10 including lunch

Tickets from EVENTBRITE


Browse highlights of our previous conferences below:


Continental Drift 2017: A century of jazz on record

Click on the link below to read journalist Neil Cooper’s inspired and energising panel presentation:
Adventures En Route to a Jazz Education: How Larry Stabbins Changed My Life

Link to Professor George McKay’s blog discussing themes from his thought-provoking and life-affirming keynote address:
George McKay: professor, writer, musician

Continental Drift: A century of jazz on record (2017 Conference) Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery 2017
Click on image to go to 2017 Conference Photo Gallery

Continental Drift 2016: 50 years of jazz from Europe

Conference Proceedings

We are pleased to announce the publication of conference proceedings from Continental Drift: 50 years of jazz from Europe, held in Edinburgh on July 16th – 17th, 2016.

The publication provides a snapshot of the breadth of perspectives that were presented during two days of lively debate and complements video and podcast outputs from four themed panel sessions available on the conference website.

We hope that the combined inputs from the first two years of Continental Drift provides a platform for continuing collaborative investigation and aim to build on these activities in years to come. The work is open access so please feel free to share and distribute as you wish – we are committed to ensuring that conference outputs are not limited to an academic audience.


Continental Drift: 50 years of jazz from Europe (2016 Conference) Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery 2016

Click on image to go to 2016 Conference Photo Gallery page