What degree did you do, and when?
My undergraduate degree was a BA Music, graduating in 2001. After that I stayed on at Leeds to do an MA in Film Music Studies, and this led to part-time PhD research into the way music and sound represent female characters in 1940s crime films. I really enjoyed both my time at the University and living in a city like Leeds, and I’ve been here now for over 10 years.
As well as the performance modules I took as part of my undergraduate degree, I was also in lots of student music society (LUUMS) groups including the Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and FOCAM (the Forum of Composers and Musicians, a contemporary music society). I got lots of additional performance experience, had the opportunity to organise concerts and publicity, met friends from other Schools and Departments, and went on summer trips and tours. During my postgrad studies I got more involved with some of the research events in the School; I helped to organise study days and training events for students and was part of the team that hosted the Royal Musical Association’s annual Research Student Conference. These activities not only supported the learning taking place in my lectures and seminars, but also helped me develop events management, marketing, and budgeting skills that have been important in several of the jobs I’ve had since finishing my full-time studies.
What have you done since graduation, and what are you planning next?
I started working part-time at the University during my Masters degree, and was employed as an administrator and in research and student support in several different Schools during the course of my MA and PhD. I also did lots of teaching at Leeds and the Universities of Liverpool and Sheffield, which I loved. I knew I wanted to try for an academic career by this point, and that the teaching and administrative experience I was building up complemented my research as well as allowing me to develop lots of different skills and work with a range of students and staff at different institutions.
After graduating from my PhD in 2011 I was offered a research fellowship at the University of Huddersfield. I’ve been working with students and staff in the Centre for the Study of Music, Gender and Identity (MuGI), carrying out independent research and organising conferences alongside teaching and project supervision. I’m also a member of the new Sound-Music-Image Research Centre, meaning that both sides of the research interests I developed during my time at Leeds are central to my work at Huddersfield. I’ve been appointed Lecturer in Music from summer 2013 and I’m proud to carry on working in higher education – I want to try to make sure that anyone who wants to can experience a creative, intellectually rigorous, and exciting time at university like I did.
How did your student experience help you to progress after University?
My Music degree helped me in all sorts of ways: the subject-specific knowledge I needed to understand music and musical culture and to carry on with postgraduate study; the organisational, interpersonal, and independent working skills I’ve made use of in my administrative and teaching roles; and the practical musicianship training that has made me a better performer and allowed me to travel to all sorts of places and experience lots of different repertoire. I’ve continued to sing with the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds and Leeds Baroque Choir, and I’m really happy that ensemble music-making is still something I get to do regularly alongside my teaching and film music research. As a Music graduate I was fortunate enough to pursue a subject that inspired me as well as developing creative, research, and critical thinking skills – all aspects of my degree that employers have valued highly, and that demonstrate the continuing importance and relevance of arts and humanities subjects in both in education and the workplace.
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