European Popular Musics

Crowd at a concert - European Popular Musics Research Group, University of Leeds

Our research

Our group endeavours to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas between our own disciplines and musicology, the social sciences and the humanities, and to disseminate the results of such collaboration in print and at public events. We also wish to engage with those directly involved in the production and consumption of music, not only the artists themselves but also the media and the music industry.

Some of the issues that we seek to open up to debate are:

  • The relationships between Anglophone (including Anglo-American) and continental musical spaces;
  • National and transnational performance and reception;
  • Song as musical, verbal and performative text;
  • Geographical, ethnic, gender and sexual identities;
  • Dialogues with other cultural forms such as cinema and literature;
  • Diasporic musics in Europe.

Visit our projects for more information.

Academic team

Convenors: Dr Isabelle Marc and Dr Stuart Green

  • Dr Duncan Wheeler
  • Dr Rosemary Lucy Hill
  • Dr Simon Warner
  • Professor David Hesmondhalgh
  • Professor David Looseley

Visit our profiles for more information.

Associates and PhD researchers

  • Dr Alessandro Bratus, Post-doctoral fellow at Università di Pavia, Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage
  • Dr Barbara Lebrun, Senior Lecturer in French Studies, The University of Manchester
  • Dr Catherine Rudent, Maître de conférences, IReMus (Paris-Sorbonne / CNRS)
  • Dr Eduardo Viñuela, Lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Oviedo (Spain)
  • Dr Franco Fabbri, Professore Aggregato, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università di Torino
  • Dr Héctor Fouce, Lecturer Department of Journalism, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Dr Jacopo Conti, Università di Torino
  • Dr Luis Trindade, Senior Lecturer in Portuguese Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr Peter Hawkins, Senior Research Fellow, School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol
  • Dr Rachel Haworth, Lecturer in Italian, University of Hull
  • Dr Richard Elliott, Lecturer in Popular Music, University of Sussex
  • Dr Rupert Till, Reader in Music, Director of the Popular Music Studies Research Group, Department of Music and Drama, University of Huddersfield
  • Dr Sue Miller, Senior Lecturer in Music and Course Leader BA Popular Music, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
  • Dr Olivier Julien, Lecturer, Paris-Sorbonne University
  • Fernán del Val, Phd candidate. Assistant professor of Sociology at UNED (Spain)
  • Giuseppa Vultaggio, University of Pisa (Italy), Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics, Alumna
  • Jacopo Tomatis, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Marta García Quiñones, PhD candidate, Philosophy, University of Barcelona
  • Rubén Gómez Muns, PhD candidate, Universitat Rovira i Virgili


November 2014 - Workshop: ‘Continental Popular Music and Cultural Policies in Contemporary Britain’, and Concert Featuring Pendentif. Organised by Isabelle Marc and chaired by David Platten. Funding came from University of Leeds’s Ignite Fund and from Cultural Creative Industries Exchange.

The workshop aimed to bring together academics and representatives from French, Spanish and British cultural institutions in order to reflect on and assess the place occupied by continental popular music in various contemporary British musical scenes. In doing so, it also endeavoured to explore the role played by public and private bodies in the reception of popular music in contemporary Britain. After the workshop, and with the collaboration of Bureau Export in London, French pop band Pendentif performed at Mine (Leeds University Union). The concert was a golden opportunity to promote non-Anglophone popular culture and music within the university and beyond (numerous students of French from local schools attended), and to prove that collaboration between academia and the cultural industries is now not merely a possibility but key for many successful projects.

Interventions by participants in the round table discussion are now available online:

Ben Mandelson

Craig Monk

Eric Vandepoorter

Inaki Abad Leguina

Jo Nockels

Simon Warner

Steve Mead

Roundtable discussion

November 2014 - Duncan Wheeler was invited to the Carlos III University in Madrid to give a talk on popular music produced in Birmingham in the early-mid 1980s, paying particular attention to the rise and importance on the video-clip in this era.

February 2014 - The city of Leeds was proud to host a visit by Spanish hip-hop artist El Chojín to give a public talk at Leeds Central Library, to speak to local school students about racism and rap in Spain, and to collaborate with staff and students of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University. During his visit, El Chojín was interviewed on Leeds Student Radio, where he was able speak at length about his music. Listen to the interview (in Spanish, with English interpretation).

June 2011 - The European Popular Musics International Symposium, University of Leeds, 13 June 2011.

The study of popular music continues to be an especially precarious terrain to negotiate due to its multi-semiotic nature. Musicology, ethnomusicology, sociology and communication studies have addressed popular music from their own perspectives. In turn, the modern-languages approach has yet to be defined and developed. The Symposium was intended to promote and facilitate discussion regarding different approaches to the study of popular musics in Europe, considered as an evolving multi-lingual and multi-cultural space.

The Symposium brought together scholars from a variety of backgrounds (musicologists, modern linguists, musicians and practitioners of cultural studies) interested in the musics which are produced and/or consumed in Europe.


April 2016 - Nearly three years in the making (over three and a half if one goes back to our conference on this topic), our edited book The Singer-Songwriter in Europe: Paradigms, Politics and Place is now out, published by Routledge/Ashgate! We are honoured to have had the opportunity to work on this project with so many academics from across Europe - from established scholars so crucial to the emergence of the discipline of popular music studies to early career researchers we hope will lead the field in years to come - and overjoyed with the end product of so much hard work.

November 2015 - We are delighted to announce the publication of our colleague Professor David Looseley’s latest book, Édith Piaf: A Cultural History (Liverpool University Press, October 2015). At the centenary of her birth and more than fifty years after her death, David argues that Piaf was never just a singer. Biographies of her have seldom got beyond the well-known and usually contested ‘facts’ of her life; this book proposes new ways of understanding her. This ‘cultural history’ explores her cultural, social and political significance as a national and international icon, looking at her shifting meanings over time, at home and abroad. How did she become a star and a myth? What did she come to mean in life and in death? Why do we still remember and commemorate her, in songs, films, musicals, documentaries and tribute acts around the world? And what does she mean today?

August 2015 - Duncan Wheeler has had some pieces published. The first is an article in a Spanish cultural supplement on cultural studies, race relations and music in 1980s Birmingham. He has also written an article Rock or bust: ageing, alcohol, and popular music for Hektoen International Journal, and a review in La Revista (Summer 2015).

September 2014 - Isabelle and Stuart contribute chapters to the first major academic study in Spanish of rap music, Cuarenta años de trova urbana, published this month by the University of Valladolid. Isabelle's chapter explores how French rappers in the 1990s spoke out against the French educational system and the exclusivist notion of French national identity that it propounded. Stuart's chapter analyses how Arianna Puello - born in the Dominican Republic and brought up in Spain - tackles issues of gender and celebrates her Caribbean origins both musically and in her lyrics.

April 2013 - First publication, a special issue of the Journal of European Popular Culture, published.


For further information, contact Dr Stuart Green