I grew up in and around a commuter village near York, and had the benefit of an excellent education at my local primary and secondary (comprehensive) schools. I chose to study music at university because of the wide range of intellectual and practical opportunities the subject opens up; in hindsight, I think I chose wisely. Following my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, I worked for a year in arts production (mostly in Norwich) and community music (mostly in London), before moving to Oxford for the Masters course in musicology. I then worked as a research assistant on a theatre history project, before starting my doctoral research in Oxford on the Parisian pianist and composer Erik Satie (1866-1925).
I want to be involved with AE because I know how rewarding research can be and hate the idea of the arts and humanities becoming the preserve of wealthy connoisseurs. So many of our most important thoughts, beliefs and conflicts are played out in songs, stories, films and ceremonies. If we don’t attempt to understand what these cultural practices mean – and, crucially, what they do – then we can’t hope to understand ourselves or find ways to shape the world in a more equitable and democratic manner.