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Research Clusters

Since 2013, the jazz studies cluster at BCU has gained global recognition for research leadership in jazz.

It boasts a large community of interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners, publishes world-leading jazz research, is host to regular symposia and conferences, and attracts significant external funding. Membership currently includes 14 research academics from BCU, seven PhD students, and nine associate members.

The cluster has supported a number of RCUK funded projects including Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (JPI Heritage Plus), Jazz and Everyday Aesthetics (AHRC) and Jazz on BBC-TV 1960-1969 (AHRC), Keychanges at Cheltenham Jazz Festival (AHRC M3C Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship), as well as number of smaller awards and eight studentships (two of which are funded by Midlands3Cities).

The cluster regularly hosts international jazz conferences, most recently Documenting Jazz, jointly hosted with the BCU Arts, Design and Media Archive, which brought together 110 delegates from 22 countries. The cluster benefits from access to a BCU-based satellite collection of the National Jazz Archive.

Our research focuses on developing new models for jazz scholarship in a number of key areas. Firstly, we explore different aspects of musical creativity, perception, and transformation within transnational jazz practices.

Secondly, we aim to understand how jazz mediates different concepts of meaning and value, subjectivity and identity, notably issues of gender, and tradition and change.

Thirdly, we concentrate on the ways in which jazz can be used to inform other disciplines and subjects and challenge existing views of the world.

More generally, our research attempts to place jazz within a space of continuous transformation, in order to critically and imaginatively break down the barriers between how we think about music and how we think about and analyse art, culture, society and history.

Cluster Leads: Dr Nicolas Pillai and Prof Nick Gebhardt

Cluster Membership

Professors and Associate Professors

Senior Research Fellows

Research Fellows and Lecturers

Post Doc Research Fellows

  • Dr Mike Fletcher
  • Dr Cory Mwamba
  • Dr Joe Wright

Doctoral Students

Associate Academic Members

  •      Dr Roger Fagge – University of Warwick
  •      Dr Ben Curry – University of Birmingham
  •      Dr José Dias – Manchester Metropolitan University

Associate Professional Members

  •      Tony Dudley Evans – TDE Promotions
  •      Brian Homer – Freelance Photographer
  •      Alan Ainsworth – Freelance Photographer and academic
  •      William Ellis – Freelance Photographer
  •      Mary Wakelam Sloan – Jazzlines
  •      Lee Griffiths – Independent Researcher