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Personal profile

Research interests

Jo’s research interests are in the fields of race/racialisation, music, cosmopolitanism and cultural work. She broadly explores entanglements between race and music by asking ontological and political questions about the ways in which race is invoked within cultural production and consumption. Her book Music, Difference and Residue of Race (2013; New York: Routledge) explored these themes as do several of her journal publications (see below). She explores questions of cosmopolitanism, racism, diversity and representation in popular culture, including music festivals and television, and is also interested in the working lives of musicians and other aspects of cultural work in the creative & cultural industries. Another emergent focus within the study of popular music is methodological where she enjoys exploring theoretical and practical questions about researchers’ negotiations of the music field and how to conceptualise music as an object of sociological investigation. Other methodological interests focus on working with archived qualitative data and the use of qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) in research.

She is currently a Principal Investigator on a large European research project studying European Music Festivals, Public Spaces, and Cultural Diversity (FestiVersities) funded by the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) network as part of their Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe joint research programme. The research will take place within five European countries between 2019-2022. Other academic partners include Project Lead - Professor Ian Woodward (Syddansk Universitet, Denmark), and (PI) Dr Pauwke Berkers (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), (PI) Dr Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick, Ireland) and (PI) Karolina Golemo (Jagiellonian University, Poland). This project is a comparative study of music festivals as potential public spaces affording encounters with diversities. The project takes a qualitative, comparative approach to investigate across multiple research sites the meaning of the festival for organisers, festival workers, performers, audiences and the community more broadly. Jo will be particularly focused on festival workers and musicians’ encounters with diversity. Methods of data collection include participant observation, surveys, research interviews, and visual-sonic methodologies.

Prior to this she was Co-Principal Investigator (with Lee Marshall) on a British Academy funded project (Digital Entrepreneurs: Negotiating Commerce and Creativity in the ‘New’ Music Industry) that explored the entrepreneurial activities of musicians and the tensions between their commercial and creative experiences particularly in the context of social media. Articles from this research are published in British Journal of Sociology and New Media & Society.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cultural Work
  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


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