I was awarded my PhD from the University of Huddersfield in 2015. My research explored contested and popular themes in social history and musicology. Even though brass bands were seen as a national movement I used the brass bands of the Southern Pennines to explain why brass bands became such a powerful metonym of working-class culture. I found that this cliché of northern identity emerged from ca. 1840-1914 through a number of elements that were largely external to the brass band movement.
I have written extensively on brass bands and aspects of class and region. My ongoing research continues into the social networks that emerged from musical groups in the long nineteenth century and beyond. My current research projects include women and gender in military bands; jazz and working-class identity in a 1930’s Staffordshire town and the role of punk rock in provincial life. I am currently crowd funding for a new research project, Women in Brass and Military Bands c. 1940-1960.
I have led adult-education courses at the University of Huddersfield and the University of York. I have contributed a significant amount of research to the AHRC-funded Making Music in Manchester during World War One project, based at the Royal Northern College of Music.