Miriam White


I did my both undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Leeds.

My undergraduate dissertation was titled ‘Stand Down Margaret: Why did music become so much more politicised in the years 1979-90?’ In this project, I argued that the rise of explicit politically charged music during this period was symptomatic of the deeper political polarisation within wider British society. I explored many genres of popular music and chronologically charted the rise and decline of ‘political music’ over the course of the Thatcher governments from 1979 to 1990.

My masters degree was in Social and Cultural History, and my dissertation was titled ‘What did the uprising in Chapeltown (1981) reveal about the experiences of Black British people? (1979-81).’ I used oral history to explore both the event itself and the wider socio-political factors that led towards the uprising. I placed the uprising in Chapeltown among the wider series of disturbances that took place across major cities during the summer of 1981. I also argued that the uprising was largely a reaction to a long history of systemic racism and white British hostility towards Black presence within Britain.

From October 2018, I will be beginning my PhD at the School of History, working with the School of Media and Communication. My work will be very much an extension of my previous research.

Research interests

My research interests are:

  • The oral histories of marginalised peoples
  • Black political and cultural subjectivities 
  • Heritage, identity and the Black Caribbean diaspora in Britain
  • Popular music, cultural resistance and protest

My PhD thesis will explore the signifiance of Black music among Black British communities in the north of England. Through this work, I will study the themes of Blackness, selfhood, identity, diaspora, gender, community and heritage. My work will take an interdisciplinary approach, weaving together oral history methodology with cultural studies and popular music studies.


  • BA History
  • MA Social and Cultural History