Dr Dai Griffiths
Senior Lecturer in Music
Dai Griffiths has contributed to the academic study of popular music for over thirty years. His first published article was on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The River’; his latest on Lorraine Feather’s ‘The Girl with the Lazy Eye’. Songs have been at the heart of this labour, their words increasingly so. Published in 2003, the essay ‘From lyric to anti-lyric: analysing the words in popular song’ prompted many avenues of attention, and by now, he probably knows as much about poetry as he does about music. Two books were published: on Radiohead’s album OK Computer, and on Elvis Costello. That the latter was mentioned, not once but twice, in a New Yorker feature on Elvis Costello was a great thrill.
He has taught all sorts of popular-music related topics to Brookes undergraduates and postgraduates: he has been employed at Oxford Brookes since 1990. Over those years, his doctoral students are a mighty handful, having covered topics as varied as jazz history, film music, newspaper journalism, the cross-disciplinary art work, and the travails of genre appellation. For the journal Music Analysis he gave two state-of-the-nation addresses: ‘The high analysis of low music’ and ‘After relativism’.
Elsewhere, he has published papers on Welsh popular music, including one on John Cale, whose parents are buried near Dai’s maternal grandparents in the cemetery adjoining Hen Bethel in Garnant, South Wales. Dai is currently book reviews editor for the journal Popular Music.
Dr Jan Butler
Senior Lecturer in Popular Music
Jan Butler studied at Nottingham University, where she completed her thesis entitled ‘Record Production and the Construction of Authenticity in the Beach Boys and late-60s American rock’ under the supervision of Prof Adam Krims in 2010. Before coming to Brookes, Jan taught courses on production analysis, the cultural study of recorded music and popular music history at Leeds College of Music, on popular music in film and recorded culture at Nottingham University, and on popular music analysis at Sheffield University. She joined Brookes University in 2009 (Senior Lecturer since 2013) and teaches pop and film music modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She also supervises PhD students in topics relating to Radiohead and black metal.
Jan has published on various aspects of the development of 1960s US rock, including the development and role of album art and posters, the sound of authenticity on record and the rise and fall of the Beach Boys. She has also published on the recorded musical work and cover versions. Jan has been a regular speaker at national and international conferences.
As a co-founder of PMRU, Jan co-organised and presented at the first two Shifting Ground events, which explored links between music and publishing. Jan is currently working on recordings and cover versions in conjunction with PMRU, continuing work from the Shifting Ground projects. She is also gathering new primary materials to develop her PhD research into a monograph in the near future.
Dr Adam Lonsdale has been at Oxford Brookes since 2011 and is a lecturer in the Psychology department. His research interests concern the social psychology of music, applying well-established theories from mainstream social psychology to better understand music and musical behaviour. In particular, he is interested in the social functions of music and the idea that people might use their musical tastes as a ‘badge’ of identity and group membership.
Dr Emma Webster is an Associate Lecturer and Research Associate at Oxford Brookes and is interested in live music and the live music industries in the UK. Her work is focused around Live Music Exchange, a hub for anyone interested in live music research – recent activities include writing and presenting the Association of Independent Festivals’ six-year report and the publication of the first book of a landmark three-part series on the history of live music in Britain.
Dr Jennifer Skellington is an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes. Her key area of expertise is music criticism and journalism; her broader teaching and research specialisms cover a wide range of popular music related topics, including popular music and identity (race, gender, class, nationality), audio cultures, subcultures, the music industry and critical theory.
Julia Ehmann completed her PhD on Radiohead and the Uses of Genre at Oxford Brookes in 2016. She is currently Aby Warburg Fellow at the Warburg Institute, University of London; her research there is on Concepts of Listening to Popular Music and the Retrospective Mode.
Pete Dale was an Early Career Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Manchester Metropolitan University. His specialist subjects are Popular Music and the Politics of Novelty and the use of ‘urban’ forms of music-making (such as DJing and MCing) to re-engage disaffected school children.
Lisa Busby completed her doctoral research at Oxford Brookes between 2005 and 2010 – her research was on interdisciplinarity within the arts as it relates to popular music, specifically exploring methodologies and contexts for the integration of popular music and other arts practices, and she was one of the founders of PMRU. She is currently Lecturer, Pathway Leader and Admissions Tutor for MMus Creative Practice at Goldsmiths.