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

Research leave, Semester 1 (2017-18)



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


Previous Positions

2005-06 Lecturer in Music, The Open University.


Research Interests

My research has focused on three distinct aspects of musical and literary culture in early modern England: musical print culture; literature on music and masculinity; and the printed music and career of the lutenist and composer John Dowland. My published work on Dowland includes articles on his 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 also worked more broadly on print and ideas of musical creativity at the turn of the seventeenth century. I am co-editor with Ian Biddle of a collection of essays on masculinity and Western musical practice, and have published work on early modern ideas about music and masculinity as mediated through discourses about the popular malady of the age, melancholy, and through ideas about age and life stage. I am also co-editor with Ian Biddle of a collection of essays on cultural histories of noise, sound and listening from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century.

Current Work

My current work continues to focus on music books and print culture in early modern England, but shifts the emphasis from the production of books towards a history of reading. My research focuses on tracing the sale, circulation and ownership of music books in early modern England, on figuring the 'reader' within such books, and on the recreational music making market for which these books were predominantly published as it spread socially and geographically over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As part of this research I am working on the print trade and recreational music making in early modern Newcastle upon Tyne and, with Stephanie Carter and Roz Southey, I am preparing a volume of essays on music in north-east England before 1850.

Postgraduate Supervision

I supervise Masters and doctoral research on various aspects of music in early modern England, and particularly welcome enquires to work on any of the research areas outlined above.


Undergraduate Teaching

MUS1012: Understanding Music History (Module Leader)

MUS2074: Music in the Renaissance


Postgraduate Teaching

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