Sarah Mawby


I am a postgraduate research student working within the School of Music at the University of Leeds. My doctoral research explores how various stakeholders describe and enact 'best practice' in music education for disabled children and young people attending English special schools. I am co-supervised by Dr Karen Burland and Dr Alinka Greasley and my research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via the White Rose Consortium of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH).

I was awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship at the Institute of Musical Research (IMR) in 2017-2018 and I have served on the Music Education Council's (MEC) special interest group in music education and additional needs (AN)/special educational needs and disability (SEND) since 2014.

I recently chaired the organisation team for an international summit event on music and disability studies: Cripping the Muse. This two-day summit brought together researchers in a variety of fields relating to music and disability. The conference archive (including presentation recordings) is available at:


Research interests

My primary research area is music and disability. I am especially interested in exploring the ways in which ableism operates in music education. My research is interdisciplinary, drawing on the fields of psychology, sociology, education, disability studies, anthropology and musicology. Specific areas of research interest include:

  • Music Education and Disability
  • Music Therapy and Disability
  • Disability and Musical Identity
  • Disability Aesthetics of Music
  • Accessible Research Methods
  • Inclusive Education  


  • MMus
  • BMus