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The creative and social renewal of classical music: examining an education programme for racial diversity in music

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Bull
    Dr L Scherer
    Dr Jodi Burkett
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This PhD project makes an exciting contribution to sociological literatures on inequalities in cultural production by examining racialised inequalities in classical music education and production in the UK.

In the last five years, there has been increased attention towards the high levels of public funding in the UK for forms of culture that are consumed and produced by those who are white and middle-class. Classical music can be seen as a quintessential example of such a pattern, where despite decades of outreach programmes and diversity imperatives, its production and consumption remain dominated by a narrow demographic.

In order to examine and address these issues of under-representation, this PhD will focus on a classical music education programme aimed at Black and minority ethnic young people in the UK, the Chineke! Foundation Junior Orchestra, which aims to bring more young people from diverse racial backgrounds into classical music and in doing so attempts to change classical music itself.

You’ll use mixed methods to explore in what ways, and to what extent, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra is enabling the diversification of classical music production in the UK; how young people in the Chineke! Junior Orchestra experience the identity of being a black or minority ethnic classical musician; and how the Chineke! Junior Orchestra is contributing to changing the aesthetic of classical music.

This is fantastic opportunity to undertake new, interdisciplinary research that contributes to debates between sociology and musicology around how to incorporate aesthetic questions into a social analysis.

Candidate specification
You must be a UK or EU resident and hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above) from a recognised higher education institution.
We require English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Additionally, you should have completed, or be on track to complete, a master’s degree that includes a substantial component of research methods training (for example, in social research methods, sociology, education, cultural policy, or a related social science discipline). You should be able to demonstrate an understanding of partnership working with external organisations.

Applications from black and minority ethnic candidates are strongly encouraged.

How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Anna Bull ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting both the project code and the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form, making sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.

Please also submit a research proposal (up to 1000 words), detailing how you would develop this project:
• What research questions would you pose?
• How would you design the project?
• What research methods would you use?
• How would you engage with/ build on existing research?

Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.


If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code EDSO4350219 when applying.

Funding Notes

The studentship will include tuition fees at UK/EU level for three years, a stipend in line with RCUK rates (currently £14,77), and up to £1500 research expenses for the duration of the studentship, subject to satisfactory progress.

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