School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Kirsten Gibson

Senior Lecturer in Music



Kirsten Gibson read music at Newcastle University. She graduated from Newcastle University in 2000, winning the David Barlow Best Finalist Prize, and subsequently completed her PhD in 2006 on John Dowland’s printed ayres supervised by Dr Ian Biddle and Prof Magnus Williamson.

While undertaking doctoral research, Kirsten taught on a variety of undergraduate courses at Newcastle University. In September 2005 she was appointed temporary lecturer in music at The Open University. During this year she held the position of production course team chair for a new course entitled ‘Start Listening to Music’. Kirsten was appointed lecturer in music at the International Centre for Music Studies in September 2006. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Kirsten has appeared on BBC Radio 3's Record Review reviewing recordings of Dowland, Purcell and their contemporaries.


Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Postgraduate Studies for Music

Degree Programme Director of the MMus and MLitt in Music

Subject Contact for AHRC Northern Bridge (Music)

PG Admissions Selector for Music



BA (Hons), First Class
MLitt, with Distinction
PhD ('John Dowland's Printed Ayres: Texts, Contexts, Intertexts'), AHRB-Funded
CASAP (Certificate of Advanced Studies in Academic Practice), with Distinction


Previous Positions

2005-06 Lecturer in Music, The Open University.


Research Interests

My research focuses on various aspects of musical and literary culture in early modern England. I am interested in questions pertaining to early modern musical print culture, in particular the ways in which notions of musical creativity and authorship were mediated in print. I have also worked on relationships between Elizabethan and Jacobean court politics and secular art song, the careers of musicians at the turn of the seventeenth century and the networks in which they lived and worked, and the ways in which discourses about masculinity were negotiated in writings about music and musical practice.

My particular specialism is the printed music and career of the lutenist and composer John Dowland. My published work in this area includes articles on Dowland’s authorial self-fashioning in print, his settings and publication of lyrics by Elizabethan courtier poets and the politico-courtly aspects of his songs. I have worked more broadly on print and ideas of musical creativity at the turn of the seventeenth century in England and have also co-edited a collection of essays with Ian Biddle on masculinity and Western musical practice to which I contributed a chapter on music, masculinity and melancholy in early modern England.

Recent research projects have included an essay collection on historical sound studies (co-edited with Ian Biddle) and a book chapter looking at early modern discourses about music, masculinity and age. I was also co-organiser of the 'Musical Life Outside of London, 1500-1800: Networks, Circulation, Sources' study day, which was held at Newcastle Black Gate in October 2014:

Current Work

I am currently part of a team at Newcastle University developing a cross-disciplinary project mapping and documenting Newcastle print culture, 1534-1790, and am currently preparing two co-authored articles on the circulation of printed music and recreational music making in seventeenth-century Newcastle upon Tyne with Dr Stephanie Carter.

Postgraduate Supervision

Sarah Robinson (AHRC-funded PhD on Female Wind Players in Early Modern Europe), completed 2017

Edward Cross (PhD on Early Recordings of Violinists), completed 2014


Undergraduate Teaching

MUS1012: Understanding Music History (Module Leader)

MUS3026: Music in Early Modern England (Module Leader)

MUS2075 Baroque Music (Contributor)


Postgraduate Teaching

Case Studies in Music History (co-taught with Ian Biddle)