Dr Simon McKerrell is interested in how music communicates meaning in everyday life, particularly how this is constructed as discourse. His research focuses upon how music and text communicates sectarianism, belonging and cultural heritage and how these relate to policy. Methodologically this relies upon critical discourse analysis, ethnography and multimodal analysis. He has previously held positions at the Universities of Sheffield and Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and prior to this worked at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. He is an expert performer of Highland-, Border- and Uilleann-pipes and has toured, taught and performed throughout the world. See website for further details. He is currently Head of Music at the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University.
2012 Certificate of Advanced Studies in Academic Practice (HEA accredited)
2005 PhD 'Scottish Competition Bagpipe Performance: Sound, Mode and Aesthetics' St. Andrews University
2000 BA (Scottish Music) Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
My research focuses upon how music and text communicate sectarianism, belonging and cultural heritage and how these relate to policy. Methodologically this relies upon critical discourse analysis, ethnography and multimodal analysis. I am currently co-editing two edited collections due out in 2016, one for Bloomsbury's Advances in Semiotics Series with Dr Lyndon Way which examines music as multimodal communication provisionally entitled Music, Power, Protest: Social Semiotic Approaches, and another book with Ashgate in collaboration with Professor Gary West at the University of Edinburgh provisionally entitled Understanding Scotland Musically: Folk, Tradition, Modernity. I am also undertaking some research relating to the cultural and financial sustainability of music as Intangible Cultural Heritage in policy and practice.
I recently completed an AHRC Early Career Fellowship entitled Understanding Scotland Musically and some of the research from this project will be published in a book for Routledge on Scottish traditional music employing various ethnomusicological, media and discourse analysis methods of analysis in September 2015 entitled Focus: Scottish Traditional Music. I maintain broad interests in the theorization and performance of music and social prejudice, see Performing Prejudice Symposium.
Simon McKerrell is an expert performer of Highland-, Border- and Uilleann-pipes and has recorded 11 commercial albums. He has toured, taught and performed throughout the world and was a founding member of the band Back of the Moon, Rough Tides, The Sprit of Scotland Pipe Band (http://www.spiritofscotlandpipeband.com/) and La Banda Europa (www.labandaeuropa.com). For more information and discography see: Simon McKerrell's Discography.
I currently supervise one PhD student-- Matthew Ord (philosophical and theoretical approaches to the recording and technology of folk music).
I have examined doctoral theses at the Universities of Ulster, Sheffield and Durham and am currently the external undergraduate examiner at the University of the Highlands and Islands distance learning BA Applied Music and MA Music and the Environment programmes from 2012-2016.
· Co-I EU funded international research project Critical Heritages (CoHERE): performing and representing Identities in Europe (2.5€ million).
· PI on AHRC Early Career Fellowship 2014 Understanding Scotland Musically (£68,682)
· Scottish Government Research Grant (as Co-Investigator), Community experiences of sectarianism, (c. £80,000)
· Newcastle University Strategic Innovation Fund 2015 Open Educational Resources in a blended approach to teaching popular music culture (£10,000), see www.ispopmus.com.
· Newcastle University Faculty Research Grant 2012 Hearing Sectarianism (£2,192)
· Newcastle University School Strategic Research Fund 2013 Challenging Sectarianism Bid Preparation (£2,227)
· Member of the AHRC Peer Review College 2014-17.
· Registered expert for the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) 2015-19.
Simon McKerrell has strong interests in open educational resources and has been pursuing a number of open, online educational initiatives at Newcastle University including the open wiki for the course Issues in Popular Music Culture, assisted by Mr Matthew Ord.
He also maintains various resources online for teaching and dissemination of other projects see for instance:
Degree Programme Director for the BA (Contemporary and Popular Music) 2015-16.
Simon McKerrell was the Degree Programme Director (2012-13) for the BMus Folk and Traditional Music degree and is currently module leader and teaching the following undergraduate modules in 2015-16:
Issues in Popular Music Culture
Folk Music Studies: Resources and Research Materials
He contributes to:
MMus Research Training Module
Advanced Studies in Popular Music Studies
Advanced Studies in Ethnomusicology and Traditional Music
He is also a first instrument tutor for Highland pipes and Uilleann pipes.