My thesis, “Music-making and Well-being: Identity, place and cultural policy”, was supervised by Professor Sara Cohen and Dr Hae-kyung Um. Drawing on extensive ethnographic research (2010-2013) in a small Irish city (Cork), the thesis considers how the local music-making community is sustained through values of solidarity, interdependence and mutual support, producing a system of reciprocity that can be productively defined as a ‘mixed economy of favours’. It also highlights the importance of collaborative partnerships within the local music scene, which constitute a ‘mixed economy of music-making’, in upholding the autotelic and social values of music-making (music-for-music’s-sake, music-for-the-community, and music-for-the-city). It argues that future policies must move beyond neoliberal emphases on popular music-as-product, positing instead a revaluation of popular music-as-process and its significance to the individual and collective well-being of present and future citizens.
I lecture in Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, where I am the Course Director of the Masters in Youth Work with Communtiy Arts and Sports Studies. I am involved in a number of research and community-centred initiatives that focus on youth participation and youth cultures, music-making and the arts.
My PhD research was part of the research project Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity (POPID), a large scale international collaborative research project funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) and the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). I was also the recipient of the Gerry Farrell Travelling Scholarship awarded by SEMPRE (Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research).
I graduated with First Class Honours in Popular Music Studies from Leeds College of Music (2009). My final year thesis 'Hindustani Classical Music and British Asians' studied the relationship between young British Asians and the art of Hindustani Classical music with a focus on cultural identity, migration and memory. I obtained a distinction for my Master's degree in Ethnomusicology from Cardiff University where I studied with Dr John Morgan O'Connell. My Master's thesis entitled 'Music of the Sikh Diaspora: Devotional Sounds, Musical Memory and Cultural Identity', focused on the devotional music of the Sikh diaspora and incorporated a comparative ethnographic study of a Sikh temple in Leicester, UK, and a Sikh temple in Hong Kong.
My doctoral research investigated the use of popular music in prison, as a method of discipline and rehabilitation, while simultaneously exploring the impact of internet cultures on popular music audio-visual practice.
Using a case study from the ever-expanding YouTube database, my work combined audio-visual analysis, critical musicology, popular culture and postcolonial studies.
I was the recipient of the Institute of Popular Music 21st Anniversary PhD Scholarship and, as part of my study, I was granted a Visiting Research Associate position at the Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University in 2012.
In 2013 I was Visiting Lecturer in New Media and Musicology at Iceland Academy of Arts, Reykjavik, designing and teaching a new research-led undergraduate and postgraduate module in popular music, new media and YouTube culture. My research on music and torture has been published with the University of Göttingen-based research group ‘Music, Conflict and the State.’
I have presented at new media, musicology and digital cultures conferences across Europe and Asia and since 2011 has served on the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM UK & Ireland).
I am a professional recording engineer with over ten years of experience working in the music industry. I am currently a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where I mainly teache acoustics, psychoacoustics and studio production on the Music Technology, Music Production and Audio Engineering programmes.
My doctoral research investigated creativity and collaboration inside the recording studio and my on-going research interests include popular music and audio education, informal music learning practices, creativity and cultural production in popular music. I am an associate member of the Institute of Acoustics and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.