Dr Katia Chornik

Honorary Research Fellow

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I am a researcher working across government and academia. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. I hold degrees from the Catholic University of Chile, the Royal Academy of Music, the University of London and The Open University.

My academic interests include music and human rights, cultural memory, oral history, music and society, music and migration, popular music history, music’s relationships to literature, public policy, and digital humanities, with a particular focus on Latin America.

As Commissioning Officer at Surrey County Council's Insight and Innovation team, I have focused on implementing a research ethics process, co-designing a new strategy for Cultural Services, and conducting qualitative research to inform new policies and commissions, particularly in the areas of migration, arts and health.

I direct and edit the bilingual digital archive Cantos Cautivos / Captive Songs, which compiles testimonies on musical experiences under political detention in Chile. Hailed as “extraordinary” by The New Yorker critic Alex Ross, I developed this project as part of my Leverhulme research ‘Sounds of Memory: Music and Political Captivity in Pinochet’s Chile’ at the University of Manchester, in partnership with the Chilean Museum of Memory and Human Rights and networks of ex-prisoners.

Our archive was featured in the British Museum's I Object exhibition (September 2018-January 2019), exploring ways in which human beings have subverted concepts of authority for over three millennia.

At the University of Manchester, I also worked on the project ‘Common Ground: Migration in/to Europe since 1945’ (led by Prof Peter Gatrell), focusing on migrants' personal testimonies and on cultural aspects of migration, particularly from/to Spain and from Latin America.

My articles have been published by the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, The World of Music, Leonardo Music Journal, IASPM@Journal, International Journal of Cuban Studies, Working With English: Modern and Medieval Language, Literature and Drama, and Resonancias, as well as by media outlets, including BBC News Online, BBC World Service, BBC History Extra Magazine, The Economist,The Guardian, The Big Issue, Diagonal (Spain) and El Mostrador (Chile).

My first book, Alejo Carpentier and the Musical Text (Modern Humanities Research Association and Routledge, 2015), bridges intermediality and intertextuality through examinations of Carpentier’s literary use of music as formative, as form and as performed.

I am currently writing my second monograph, under contract with Oxford University Press, on music and political detention in Pinochet's Chile. 

I am co-editor of the Handbook Don Juan in Music and Other Arts (under contract with Oxford University Press), with Prof Rachel Cowgill (Music, Huddersfield), Prof Sarah Wright (Hispanic Studies, Royal Holloway) and Dr Delia da Sousa Correa (English, OU).

In 2013 I spoke about my research at the Council of Europe. My work has been cited by over 100 national and international media outlets, including CNN International, BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Deutsche Welle and Time Magazine.

I am on the committee of the Latin American Music Seminar (LAMS), and of the Asociación Chilena de Estudios en Música Popular (ASEMPCH). I am also a member of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the Chilean Society for Musicology, the Society for Latin American Studies, and the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland.

My teaching areas have included Latin American popular music, intermediality, music and social movements, music and the Holocaust, and fieldwork. In 2016 I was shortlisted for the Manchester Teaching Awards for Most Accessible Lecturer at the University of Manchester.

I have been awarded the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2013-2016), the AHGBI / WiSPS Dorothy S. Severin Fellowship (2011-2012), the Open University’s doctoral studentship (2006-2010), the European String Teachers Association’s Nutshell Award (2002), the Royal Academy of Music’s Bloch Award (1999-2001) and Cork Award (1999), the Presidential Grant of Chile (1999-2001), the Andes Foundation Award (1996), the Pontificia Universidad Católica’s Honour Grant (1995-96), and the Friends of the Chilean National Opera House Award (1993-95).

As a musician, I worked as a full-time violinist of the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra (Chile) before commencing my studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I directed a project around The Hussar of Death (1925), the most important silent film from Chile, which I showed for the first time in Europe at the London Film Festival and other festivals in the UK, France and Italy, with live music performed by my former ensemble. The project was funded by the Instituto Cervantes and received ample press coverage by the BBC and other media outlets.


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
PhD, Open University
Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM)
Masters & Postgraduate Performance Diploma, Royal Academy of Music
Diploma in Arts Management, Birkbeck College, University of London
Intérprete Musical Superior (Bachelor's degree), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

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