The Legacy of the Beatles

Research on the legacy of the Beatles and its economic and cultural value for Liverpool is being conducted by a team of researchers from the IPM, the Institute of Cultural Capital (Universities of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores) and the European Institute of Urban Affairs (Liverpool John Moores). Mike Jones (IPM) has contributed research on the cultural value of the Beatles, which included investigating gaps in the current tourism offer and the potential value of the band should these gaps be filled. The resulting report considers additional benefits of being linked to the Beatles 'brand' and their impact on the global reputation of the city.

“Helping Liverpool understand and make best use of its cultural capital is a major aim of the Institute of Cultural Capital and we are excited to be working with colleagues across both Universities and the city on this project.”  (Simeon Yates, Director, Institute of Cultural Capital)


An eighteen-month project exploring practical and theoretical issues involved with preserving and representing popular music in a museum. The project was directed by Marion Leonard and supported by the Beyond Text programme of The Arts and Humanities Research Council, and involved a partnership with National Museums Liverpool and the V&A Museum in London. The research was conducted by Marion and Robert Knifton and project outputs included the Mixcase exhibition staged at Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery and Museum and featuring materials from the IPM Collections.

Musical Film, Memory and Wellbeing

The use of musical film to generate reminiscences and improvements in wellbeing among the over 65s is being explored through this project, which draws on research into Brazilian popular and film music by Lisa Shaw (IPM), and on representations of Liverpool in film by Professor Julia Hallam (Department of Communication). Lisa is currently working with a health centre in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, to engage people through her extensive research on Carmen Miranda, and on the Brazilian musical comedy tradition known as the 'chanchada', which dominated film production in Brazil in the 1950s and early 1960s. The project began with a pilot study involving a BUPA nursing home in Liverpool:

“We are always looking for ways to help our residents maintain community connections and feel part of the wider city around them – which this project did."  (Ruth Neeson, Activities Coordinator at Rowan Garth nursing home)


Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity (POPID), a three-year project exploring how histories and memories of popular music shape identity and notions of heritage. Supported by the European Humanities in the Research Area Joint Research Programme, it involved collaboration between researchers in England, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia. The England research was conducted by Sara Cohen (Director), Les Roberts (Research Associate) and Gurdeep Khabra (Phd student). It included interviews with those working in music, media, tourism and heritage industries, and with audiences who were invited to create maps of their musical memories. Follow-on projects included a collaboration with the Rotterdam Film festival; the 'Sites of Popular Music Heritage' conference and edited book; the short film 'Pop Goes Heritage'; and IPM project Music, Photographs and Cultural Memory.


The London K-Pop Cover Dance (LoKo) students dancing

The London K-Pop Cover Dance (LoKo) students dancing

The K-Pop phenomena and its reception in Europe is explored by Haekyung Um (IPM) in collaboration with Sang-Yeon Sung (University of Vienna) and Michael Fuhr (Hanover University), and with support from the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange. A monograph based on the research and published by Routledge will examine how K-Pop has taken root in Europe as a new form of cosmopolitan youth culture connected to identity politics, aesthetic desires and entrepreneurial incentives.


Electric Blanket was an interactive digital audiovisual project exploring the memories of sheltered housing residents aged 55 to 80. It explored the process of remembering through physical media such as recordings, photographs and film; the power of sound to solicit memory; and the transience of both memory and media. It involved video interviews and oral histories with the residents, and audio recordings of sounds that were a significant part of their memories. Co-directed by Rob Strachan (IPM) and commissioned by Tennantspin, The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) and Arena Housing, the project resulted in a digital archive and an installation at FACT, one of the UK’s leading digital arts institutions.


Baker is currently identifying a range of case studies through which to explore how Age manifests itself in the voice. During 2015 she presented papers on this research at the Postgraduate conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and the University of Cambridge. Whilst shaping chapters for her doctoral thesis around singer-songwriters Dolly Parton and Joni Mitchell, Emily is also preparing to present a paper for a conference on gender and music at Öbebro University. Her paper at the Sweden event will explore the application of autotune to older voices and the implications of this.


James Millea is investigating the relationship between hip hop music and the soundscape of the New Black Realist films of the 1990s. Specifically, his doctoral research focuses on how the aesthetics of hip hop is mediated through film, reshaping the possibilities and functions of the filmic soundtrack. James argues that in mapping the aesthetics of hip hop music and the (re)structuring and (re)organisation of sonic material, we can explore how African-American mélomanes at the turn of the twentieth-century used film and its soundscape to explore their contemporary, subcultural existence.