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Inclusion, participation and decolonisation in music

Inclusion, participation and decolonisation in music

Our departmental commitment to equality and social justice is supported by critical, ethnographic and practice-based research into processes of inclusion, participation and decolonisation in music.

We explore how participatory music-making may empower marginalised groups and how professional musicians understand the social impact of their work. Interrogating systemic inequalities in how knowledge is produced and acquired, we investigate inequalities in the classical music industry, and explore how the curricula and institutions of music education can be decolonised.

Our collaborations with Psychology include research on music in cognitive development, highlighting the social value of music education. We have hosted conferences including Cultural imperialism and the “new yellow peril” in western art music and Orchestrating isolation: musical interventions and inequality in the COVID-19 fallout, and we contribute to public events such as the Being Human festival.


Geoff Baker’s work includes critical perspectives on social action through music (particularly El Sistema and programmes modelled on it in Latin America), and investigations of music, citizenship and urban renewal in Colombia. He is a co-investigator in the AHRC-funded project Music for social impact and he sits on the management boards of Social Impact of Making Music and Agrigento Music

Tina K. Ramnarine investigates inter-arts practices in British imperial histories, and the creative interactions involved in processes of decolonisation. She has worked with musicians and creative writers globally in the context of civil society approaches to inclusivity, social justice and accountability.

Henry Stobart explores how decolonisation poses challenges to notions of cultural heritage. 

Shzr Ee Tan investigates digital inequalities in global music cultures and the role of music among marginalised groups in Southeast/East Asia. She is leading efforts to address structural inequalities in musical practice, including teaching, research and performance in higher education. 

Micka Clayton explores the benefits of musical learning for the development of life skills and the brain.

William Fourie researches music in post-apartheid South Africa with a focus on intersections between aesthetics, geography, and postcolonial studies.

Solene Heinzl investigates the impact of cultural policies in new towns in France, specifically Cergy-Pontoise.

Natalie Hyacinth, ‘Sacred Suburbia. Music and Performance in Three Faith Communities’

Adita Krishna investigates how the teaching and transmission of Hindustani classical music has been institutionalised in Indian music academies. 

Jennie Porton, ‘Contemporary British Conservatoires and their Practices - Experiences from Alumni Perspectives’

Laryssa Whittaker, ‘Beyond "Mzansi Golden Economy": Inequality, wellbeing, and the political economy of music as youth development in South Africa’

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