Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
- Politics in music and song (all genres/ national/ international/ contemporary / historical)
- Folk Song and Tradition
- Cabaret and Music Theatre

1996 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Statement

I am a Reader in Music in the School of Arts, English and Languages. My main area of research is the history of political music and song. My work entails the analysis of music, lyrics and performance in cultural and historical contexts.

I have recently completed an AHRC Research Development and Engagement Fellowship on the work of East German Liedermacher Gerhard Gundermann (2022-24). For this I researched the unpublished political musicals (Liedertheater) of Gundermann's group Brigade Feuerstein in the GDR. I also translated ten of his songs into English and recorded them with a band for the CD Filling Station for Losers. Songs of Gundermann (BuschFunk 2024). The work of the project is documented on the website: www.songsofgundermann.com.

This research has also benefitted from collaboration with the Gundermanns Seilschaft association that promotes the singer's legacy. It has hosted several of my concerts in Germany. Since 2018 it has also supported my work as a member of the international Gundermanns Lieder in Europa project (CD: BuschFunk 2019).

I have also been involved in a longstanding research collaboration with the German Folksong Archive in Freiburg. Funded by the British Academy and the AHRC/DFG, this project examined the history of reception of the songs of the 1848 Revolution. It culminated in the co-authored book (with Eckhard John) Songs for a Revolution. The 1848 Protest Song Tradition in Germany (Camden House 2020).

I am also interested in the interrelationships between the folk song cultures of Germany, Ireland and Scotland. I published the article 'A Common European Song Heritage in the Nineteenth Century Songs of Ireland and Germany (Traditiones 2009) and an article on the historical role of Robert Burns' 'A Man's a Man for a' that' in the German folksong movement (MLR 2010). More recently I performed and analysed the German adaptation of Eric Bogle's 'No Man's Land' for the RTE radio production Songs Beyond Borders (2019).

I have also published on German techno, industrial and rock music. I spoke about Kraftwerk on the frequently re-aired Radio 4 production We are the Robots (2007). My article 'The Metaphorical Language of GDR Rock' was published in 2016. My work on the anarchist rock group Ton Steine Scherben resulted in an invitation to speak at a colloquium for the group's 50th anniversary in Berlin in 2020.

In my early career I published widely on political song and Liedertheater in the former GDR. My first book Zwei Clowns im Lande des verlorenen Lachens. Das Liedertheater Wenzel und Mensching was published by Ch. Links in Berlin (1998). My interest in international political theatre and comedy led to my edited volume Clowns, Fools and Picaros. Popular Forms in Theatre, Fiction and Film (Rodopi 2007). I was also editor and main author of the volume Protest Song in East and West Germany since the 1960s (Camden House 2007).

As a bouzouki-player and singer I previously recorded and toured internationally as a member of the Scottish folk group Rua (1986-88). As a singer/songwriter I toured as support for the Proclaimers on their Sunshine on Leith tour (1988), and also performed at festivals including Reading (1990). I have released four albums of original songs, Capture an Image (1991), Prussian Blue (1996), Star in the Morning (2005), and Ingo and the Bouncy Castle (2011 – with the Corncrakes). 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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