DR Graeme Counsel

DR Graeme Counsel


  • African studies, cultural policy, ethnicity and identity (Mande diaspora, griots, West African musical traditions)
  • Cultural Anthropology (Cultural festivals, Arts and cultural policy, Nationalism and identity)
  • Digital archives (Sound archives)
  • Ethnomusicology (African and Trans-Atlantic musics, World Music)



  • Dr Graeme Counsel is a lecturer, subject coordinator and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. His research projects and publications examine the nexus of popular music and politics, drawing from the disciplines of ethnomusicology and cultural studies. His research interests encompass trans-Atlantic and Asiatic cultures, and focus on music, culture and society in Africa. Dr Counsel's post-doctoral research includes over two years’ fieldwork in West Africa. From 2008 to 2013 he received three Major Research Project Awards through the Endangered Archives Programme in partnership with the British Library. This funding enabled the collection, preservation and archiving of Guinea’s national sound archive, a collection of over 7,500 songs recorded during Guinea's 1st Republic (1958-1984). One of the largest digital collections of African music, the archive includes the complete catalogue of the Syliphone recording label, the flagship of the Guinean recording industry. The complete archive is available online through the British Library Sounds website. Dr Counsel’s cultural archive projects were conducted in partnership with Guinea’s Ministry of Culture et Patrimonie and Ministry of Communication, and were exhibited at the National Museum of Guinea. In recognition of his research and contribution to the preservation of national culture, the Guinean government awarded him their highest research honour, the gold medal of the Palme Academique en Or. He was the first non-African and non-Guinean recipient of this award. The Bibliotheque Nationale de Guinee and the archives of Radio Television Guinee both hold his collections. Dr Counsel has presented his research in a wide variety of fora. He was invited to present at the first international symposium on African popular music: “Revisiter l'histoire des musiques modernes d'Afrique: Retour aux sources”, held in Mali. He has presented papers for numerous African Studies conferences and has lectured courses in several   


Member of

  • International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Member 2016 -
  • Australia Western Sahara Association (Victoria). Member 2007 -
  • Mande Studies Association. Member 2004 -
  • African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific. Secretary 2003 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2012-2013.

    Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2009.

    Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2008.   


Education and training

  • GCUT, University of Melbourne 2015
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2007
  • MMus, University of Melbourne 2000
  • BA (Hons), Monash University 1997

Awards and honors

  • Diplome d'Honneur. Ministere de la Culture des Arts et Loisirs, Republique de Guinee, 2008
  • Palme Academique en Or. Republique de Guinee, 2008
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2003
  • Melbourne Abroad Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship, 2001
  • Travel for Research in Postgraduate Study grant, 2001
  • Alma Hansen Scholarship, 2001
  • Ernst Morawetz Prize, 1996



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • My research interests cover the music, culture and politics of Africa, with particular reference to West Africa. Trans-Atlantic music styles (jazz, blues, reggae, Cuban music, etc) are also research areas, with cultural policy, nationalism and identity central discourses.