Researcher Keyi Liu recently defended her doctoral thesis in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, University College Cork, and is in the concluding stages of her dissertation revisions, awaiting formal degree conferral. During her time at UCC, she was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship. She holds an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Manchester (2018), and a BA in Musicology from the China Conservatory of Music (2016).
Keyi is deeply passionate about the music and dance of ethnic minorities in China and adjacent nations. In her undergraduate studies, she explored the performing arts of the She and Hezhe minorities. Her Ph.D. “Dancing Through Rivers and Mountains: Nature, Society, and Emotional Expression in Lisu Music and Dance” is dedicated to the Lisu, an ethnic minority group from southwestern China. As she immersed herself in Lisu culture, she saw the importance of digitally capturing their music and dance in its diversity and interpreting it according to local contexts and values. With this vision, she collaborated with local entities and applied funding for two provincial projects:
- 草木真色 (True Colours of Plants and Trees). Documentary Film (¥200k). Weixi: Ethnic Culture Research Institute of Weixi Lisu Autonomous County, May 2021- July 2023
- Lisu Traditional Instrumental Ensemble Learning Project (¥220k). Yunnan Province Minority Culture Double Hundred Project, May 2021- December 2022
Beyond the music and dance of indigenous minorities, Keyi’s interests cover the broader realms of Asian music and digital heritage, and she draws inspiration and perspective from post-/decolonial thought and reflections on ethnographic writing.
Publications and conferences
n.d. “Dancing Along the Rivers”: Shared cultural identity and musical diversity among the Lisu of Yunnan Province, China, Asian Musicology (accepted).
 Gibbs, Levi S. Song King: Connecting People, Places, and Past in Contemporary China. University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018 [Book Review]. In press: Ethnomusicology, 68/1 (Winter 2024).
2022 47th world conference of International Council for the Traditional Music, Lisbon. “Singing Along the Rivers”: Shared cultural identity and musical diversity among the Lisu of Yunnan Province, China. [online]
2022 Annual conference of International Council for the Traditional Music, Ireland Chapter [online]. The Echoes of the Mountains: Lisu Music Scenes during Coronavirus Outbreak in Yunnan, China. I was also panel chair, organizing a panel entitled Musical activities in the post-covid world.
2020 Annual conference of International Council for the Traditional Music, Ireland Chapter, Cork/in person. Transborder Resonances: The Development of Lisu Music under Chinese and Myanmar Politics.