About me

I am a Lecturer in Education and Social Justice, in the Department of Education at the University of York. Previously, from 2016-21 I was a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. I am also a co-founder and director of The 1752 Group, a research and lobby group addressing staff sexual misconduct in higher education. My research interests include class and gender inequalities in classical music, character education and policy networks, and staff sexual misconduct in higher education. The best way to follow my ongoing work is on twitter, and on this blog as well as The 1752 Group blog. My academic publications can be seen on my York research page, or on the ‘academic publications’ page on this blog.

My work with The 1752 Group includes a partnership with the National Union of Students on a national survey examining students’ perceptions of professional boundaries in higher education and experiences of sexual misconduct from academic staff, published in a report as ‘Power in the Academy‘. On behalf of The 1752 Group I was lead author on the report ‘Silencing Students’ published in Sept 2018. You can read an academic article on our activism here. I am a regular media commentator on issues related to this work for publications including The Guardian, the BBC, and Nature.

My monograph on classical music, class and gender, entitled ‘Class, Control, and Classical Music‘ was published in July 2019 with Oxford University Press, and in 2020 was jointly awarded the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Prize. Out of this research, I have also published an article on the gendered authority of the conductor in The Sociological Review, and I made a short film based on this article together with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. I have also published a co-authored article with Christina Scharff, was published in Cultural Sociology, looking at the unspoken ways in which classical music is valued over other genres. I was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s sociology programme, Thinking Allowed, in December 2017, discussing this research. I have a book chapter published in The Classical Music Industry edited by Julia Haferkorn and Chris Dromey, looking at how gender and class shape young people’s pathways through classical music, and have published a critical discussion of El Sistema-inspired music education programmes in the UK, in a special issue of the Journal of Action, Criticism and Theory for Music Education. I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change.

Before starting at the University of Portsmouth, I worked with Jonathan Gross and Nick Wilson on a project looking at everyday creativity in the UK. This involved an evaluation of the BBC campaign ‘Get Creative’, launched in February 2015, as well as looking at the ways in which people in Britain engage in creative and cultural practices. The report of this work was published as ‘Towards Cultural Democracy’ in 2017. Prior to this I completed a BA and M.Phil in social and political sciences at Cambridge, working with Professor Georgina Born on cultures of classical music as well as a masters dissertation on political music in the UK, and my PhD in the sociology department at Goldsmiths, University of London, supervised by Bev Skeggs and Les Back. I have taught at the University of Cambridge, Goldsmiths College, and Anglia Ruskin University.

I have organised many and varied events on staff sexual misconduct and on cultures of classical music. In 2019 I was a member of the organising committee for a conference in Madison, Wisconsin (US) on Faculty and Staff Sexual Misconduct, funded by the National Science Foundation. In 2018 I hosted and organised a one-day conference, ‘Staff sexual misconduct: New research and ways forward’ at the University of Portsmouth, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. In 2015 I co-organised an event at Goldsmiths, University of London on sexual harassment by staff towards students in higher education. In 2014 I organised two conferences with Dr Christina Scharff from King’s College London, on critical perspectives on classical music practice, as well as a series of four closed workshops on abuse in music education for institutional leaders, between 2015 and 2017.

My previous career was as a pianist and cellist in New Zealand and Scotland.  My portfolio of work involved performing with ensembles such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, teaching at the University of Strathclyde, and education workshops for Scottish Opera.