Dr Roddy Hawkins

Lecturer in Music

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I work primarily in contemporary music studies; my current research is focused around the production and consumption of avant-garde music in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. With a focus on the historiography of complex music notation and the emergence of the grouping and name New Complexity, my work explores material culture, creative labour, aesthetic discourse, performance practice and critical reception; central to this research is the contested, gendered and constructed nature of marginality as it relates to the categories of sound and listening.

One important topic to have emerged from this research has been the contemporary music ensemble. As major but largely invisible factors in the production and consumption of New Music, research on contemporary music ensembles begets questions ranging from labour, patronage and collaboration to more specifically musical issues such as genre, timbre and instrumentation. 

I have also written on representations of popular music, masculinity and automobility, which shares in common with my other research an overarching methodological approach rooted in hermeneutics. Theoretically my work is shaped by tensions between text and affect, drawing upon research in musicology, the sociology of art, critical theory and performance studies.

I am currently editing a special issue for Contemporary Music Review on the contemporary music ensemble; together with Stephen Graham, I am co-organiser of the forthcoming symposium 'Beyond the Avant-Garde? Rethinking Vanguardism in British Music since 1970'; and I am working on a monograph that examines contemporary music, New Complexity and the British establishment in the 'long 1980s'. 


I gained a PhD in Musicology at the University of Leeds in 2010, with supervision from Martin Iddon and Mic Spencer. After working as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds, in 2014 I was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Manchester. 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

I am a committee member for MusicHE the association body that represents HE music providers in the UK.  

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