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Here are profiles of some of our current postgraduate students.


Nick Fowler

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Nick Fowler’s return to Brookes to study for the MA in 2016 was something of a homecoming; he graduated from the same Music department some 14 years previously. Since graduating he has been extremely active as a touring musician, playing for the likes of Gaz Coombes, Fionn Regan, and Luke Haines.

Fate works in mysterious ways; Nick was approached by Professor Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow) to be interviewed as part of an academic study of the Oxford Music Scene last year. Over a pint in the Jericho Tavern, Cloonan encouraged Nick to look into the MA at Brookes, sensing that its excellent reputation for Popular Music Studies would be of interest. And he was right!


Louise Willis


Louise grew up in a household where music was part of everyday life, in most thanks to her mum and her love of 60s music. There was no question that music was to be her focus – not only in school but also outside, working within choirs and concert bands. She completed her undergraduate study at Salford University, where her love of popular music and film music was encouraged; her undergraduate dissertation was a musical analysis of Bernard Herrmann’s score for the film Vertigo. After university, she completed her PGCE at Oxford Brookes and started her career as a secondary school music teacher. Louise has now taught music for 12 years, helping many students to take their music studies further to university. This led her to decide it was time to return to study herself: she is now completing her MA in music while continuing to teach.



Joe Turner


Joe is a PhD student researching genre and authenticity in black metal under the supervision of Dr Jan Butler. Before joining Brookes he completed a BMus in Music at the University of Birmingham, specialising in composition, before going on to complete an MMus in Music Composition at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Dr Benjamin Oliver.

Outside of his studies, Joe is an active performer and composer in a number of music genres. He sings and plays guitar in indie rock trio Four Thousand Dollar Ham Napkin, pretends he can play drums in hardcore punk band Worry, and does a little bit of everything in lo-fi recording duo Junk Whale. His mum thinks he’s a Satanist.


Kirsten Etheridge


Kirsten comes to Brookes by way of degrees in languages and linguistics at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and a decade-long career as an editor and children’s author in trade publishing. Her main love is, however, pop music; she has long been a fan of 80s music in particular, and she has written for Nightshift, the Oxford music magazine, for 16 years. She is now enjoying developing her MA dissertation topic at PhD level and hopes to expand her music journalism repertoire.



Mathew Gardner


Alongside a prolific, continuing performance and directorial career as a full-time multi-instrumentalist, Mathew’s passion and career interests in academia and education have recently led him to complete the MA in Music at Brookes. As a hip-hop, funk, soul, and jazz specialist, with a keen interest in the social-genealogy and lineage of music, Mathew now works as a course leader for the University of Wolverhampton, where he teaches on the Performance Industries’ undergraduate course. When his head is out-of-the-books, Mathew can be seen performing live with neo-soul outfit Orlata (… or running a lot of marathons).

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