Module Catalogue 2023/24

MUS3088 : Folk Music, Gender and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Catriona Macdonald
  • Lecturer: Professor Kirsten Gibson, Mrs Sandra Kerr, Ms Nancy Kerr Elliott, Professor Ian Biddle
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To explore critically the topic of gender and identity as expressed from British and European folk music practice.
To explore the place of men, women and other gendered actors in the formation of folk music traditions.

Outline Of Syllabus

Through analysis of contemporary and archival recordings, scores and performances, this module will consider how gender relationships have been represented in folk repertoire. We will examine what song characters and plots can reveal about the societal structures and tropes of the times from which they emerged. Gender tropes surrounding instrumental playing will also be explored. A socio-historical approach is taken, asking how folk music reflected and continues to reflect the attitudes, desires and environments of its performers. We will also consider current discussions surrounding gender and identity in the contemporary UK folk scene.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, students will:
•       Be able to think critically about gender dynamics in these folk traditions.
•       Be able to analyse and critique gender political processes in both historical and contemporary folk music traditions.
•       Engage in gender-sensitive analysis of folk music performances

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will be able to
•       Contextualise and examine gender-related concerns and topics in folk music practices (and these skills will be transferable to other cultural situations and locations)
•       To think critically about gender designations and the consequent ideological and political processes that sustain and/or undermine those designations in British and European folk musics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Present in Person lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Present in Person seminars with associated preparatory tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops14:004:00Present in Person presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Online drop-in tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1591:00159:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials will introduce key concepts and topics, developing students’ critical thinking and an awareness of critical literature and themes surrounding the topics. In person seminars and workshops/presentations will provide a forum for students to discuss readings and engage critically with the lecture themes and course materials. Tutorials give the opportunity for 1:1 formative feedback and guidance on assessments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination1M25A 10 minute presentation (maximum 5 slides) based on a set (multiple choice) brief relating to topics covered in module.
Essay1A75An essay (3000 words) on a brief chosen by the student relating to one or more lecture themes.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A presentation in week 11 will enable students to engage with and explore key critical concepts and issues in this area of study. This will give students the opportunity to further investigate specific aspects of the taught materials, and to articulate and present their ideas in a performative and oral context.

The Essay will assess academic research and writing skills based on module topics.

Students will be offered formative feedback in the form of 1:1 tutorials throughout the semester, and they will also be offered essay tutorials to support devising their own brief for their final essay.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.