My research interests are wide but predominantly connect to ways in which music reflects and produces time and space. I’ve long been fascinated by the roles played by loss, memory, nostalgia and revolution in popular music. My work in these areas is heavily influenced by theories of place and spatiality and I am particularly interested in the ways in which music creates or evokes ‘memory places’ that take on significance for individuals and communities. Just as important for me is the way that music soundtracks lives and histories and, to this end, I’ve explored the representation of time, age and experience in popular song. In addition to Anglophone popular musics I’ve worked on Portuguese fado and Latin American nueva canción, reflecting interests developed during periods based in Portugal and Chile.

As well as publications, my research is reflected in various projects, in presentations at conferences, symposia and public events, and in occasional media interviews.


“This Is Our Grime”: Encounter, Strangeness and Translation as Responses to Lisbon’s Batida Scene’, IASPM UK & Ireland Conference, Online, 19 May-31 July 2020.

‘Tracks of Our Years: The Sonic Mapping of Lives’, Sonic Memory conference, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, 5 September 2019.

‘“You’ll Need a Good Companion for This Part of the Ride”: Navigating Bruce Springsteen’s Sonic Persona in the Born to Run Audiobook’, International Persona Studies conference, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, 25-26 June 2019.

Songs as Systems: Objects, Ecologies, Weather, Viruses’, Future Present: Current Practices in Pop Music Studies conference, Uppsala University, Sweden, 19-20 June 2018. Also presented at IASPM UK & Ireland Conference, Huddersfield, 3-5 September 2018 and at ELLAK International Conference, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, Korea, 13-15 December 2018.

‘Batida as Urban Sonic Encounter’, Iberian Sound Cultures symposium, Institute of Modern Languages Research, London, 1 June 2018.

‘From Sound Objects to Song Objects: Rethinking Sonic Materiality and Metaphor’, Rethinking Sound 2018 conference, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea, 30–31 March 2018. Longer version presented at Gloucestershire Philosophical Society, Cheltenham, 11 April 2018.

‘Pop Hearts Nonsense’ / ‘The Sound of Nonsense’. Delivered at research seminars at Newcastle University, Liverpool University and University College Cork, 2017.

‘Listed Buildings: Rock and Pop Stars as Icons of Age and Experience’, IASPM UK & Ireland Conference, Brighton, 8-10 September 2016.

A Blank Space Where You Write Your Name: Taylor Swift’s Early Late Voice’, EMP Pop Conference, Seattle, USA, 14-17 April 2016.

‘Be-bop-sh-boom-a-langa-langa-doo-wop: Pop’s Love of Nonsense’, Music Department Research Seminar, University of York, 27 January 2016.

‘“All You See Is Glory”: The Burden of Stardom and the Tragedy of Nina Simone’, IASPM Australia-New Zealand branch conference, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 4-6 December 2015.

‘Excavating “Coimbra”: Genealogy, Nostalgia, and the Material Life of a Portuguese Popular Song’, 18th biennial IASPM conference, Campinas, Brazil, 30 June 2015.

‘The Lure of Ephemera: Record Labels as Visual and Textual Icons’, One Century of Record Labels conference, Newcastle University, 6-7 November 2014.

Keynote: ‘Familiar Futures, Strange Pasts: Popular Music and the Art of Storytelling’ , SIBE-Sociedad de Etnomusicología conference, Cuenca (Spain), 23-25 October 2014.

‘Dead Voices: Phonography, Archaeology and Materiality’, Musical Materialities in the Digital Age conference, University of Sussex, 27-28 June 2014.

‘Won’t You Spare Me Over Til Another Year?: Age, Death and Deferral in Old-Time Music’, Music, Film and Media Research in Progress seminar, University of Sussex, 26 February 2014.

‘Plenary Discussion: Songs of/and Place’, ‘Singing Places’ symposium, University of Sussex, 22 November 2013.

‘A Dream Deferred: Nina Simone and the Work of Mourning’, Centre for American Studies research seminar, University of Sussex, 19 November 2013.

‘Listening to Europe: “Continental Records” in Britain’, IASPM International Conference, Universidad de Oviedo, Gijón, Spain, 24-28 June 2013.

‘“Across the Evening Sky”: Real and Anticipated Experience in Nina Simone’s Late Voice’, Gender, Musical Creativity and Age conference, University of Huddersfield, 6-7 October 2012.

‘“The Place of Meaning”: Sound, Sense and Politics in the Music of Robert Wyatt’, From Adele to Zeca Afonso: The Singer-Songwriter in Europe conference, University of Leeds, 13-14 September 2012.

‘“You Can’t Just Say ‘Words’”: Literary Voices in the Work of Robert Wyatt’, LitPop: Writing and Popular Music conference, Northumbria University, 24 June 2011.

‘Songs of Fate: Marceneiro’s Drooping Cadences, Morrissey’s Avenging Misery’ (co-presentation with Lars Iyer), ICMuS Research Forum, Newcastle University, 3 March 2010.

‘“Trago fado nos sentidos”: Witnessing and Testimony in Fado’, IASPM International Conference, University of Liverpool, 13-17 July 2009.

‘Fado’s Invisible Cities: Lisbon Sounded and Silenced’, Fado: Percursos e Perspectivas conference, Universidade Nova and Universidade Católica, Lisbon, 18-21 June 2008.

‘“Quem me dera lá morar”: City, Text and Trace in Fado Songs’, Música, Ciudades, Redes conference, Conservatorio Superior de Música de Salamanca, 6-9 March 2008.

‘When the music’s over…’, Third Philosophies of the Vernacular symposium, Newcastle University, 8 December 2007.

‘Late Voice / Posthumous Voice: Nina Simone and Jandek’ (co-presentation with Lars Iyer), ICMuS Research Forum, Newcastle University, 24 October 2007.

‘Tudo isto ainda é fado? Fado as Local and Global Practice’, BFE (British Forum for Ethnomusicology) Annual Conference, Newcastle University, 18-21 April 2007.

‘Hail, Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll: Interpellation, Identification and Ideological Transference in Popular Music’, First Philosophies of the Vernacular symposium, Newcastle University, 25 November 2006.

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