In the field of ethnomusicology, it is possible to consider musical collaborations—such as traditional fieldwork or joint musical projects between artists of different background—as spaces where different individuals and subjectivities share their own artistic practices and products, as well as the musical cultures of which they are representative or bearers. Such collaborations raise an array of methodological questions with implications to social justice and power relations. The aim of this contribution is to use the notion of dignity takings and dignity restoration to tackle some of these questions. While relying strongly on my own fieldwork in Rome and Chicago, I will also deal with works from ethnomusicologists who developed ways to combine collaborative efforts with the use of sound archives.

Central to my investigation is the figure of Badara Seck, a well-known vocalist from Senegal who has been active in Europe for about two decades. His musical collaborative projects both confirm and contest the racialization of so-called “migrant musicians” in Italy, that—I argue—can also be identified as a dignity taking. An interview with this expert in cross-cultural collaborations provided interesting insights into the ways in which musicology and discourse around music can involve both a dignity taking and dignity restoration. I will use his words to conclude by proposing strategies to address dignity taking and dignity restoration in the practice of ethnographic fieldwork.