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MUS3088 : Folk Music, Gender and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Catriona Macdonald
  • Lecturer: Dr Kirsten Gibson, Ms Nancy Kerr Elliott, Ms Imogen Gunner, Dr Matthew Ord, Dr Ian Biddle, Mrs Sandra Kerr
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 sociohistorical 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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00Present in Person lecture materials with associated tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching141:0014:00Present in Person and online seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Present in Person and online workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Online drop-in tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1521:00152:00N/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. Synchronous seminars and workshops 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A25An essay (1500 words) with a set (multiple choice) brief relating to topics covered in Semester 1.
Essay2A75An essay (2500 words) on a brief chosen by the student relating to one or more lecture themes.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assignment 1 and 2 will enable students to engage with and explore key critical concepts and issues in this area of study. The feedback provided for Assignment 1 will help students in their preparation for devising their own brief for Assignment 2.

Students will be offered formative feedback in the form of 1:1 tutorials in Semester 1 & 2.

Reading Lists