Matt Brennan specialises in the interdisciplinary field of popular music studies. His creative practice as a musician informs his teaching and research, which also draws from historical, sociological, business, and ethical approaches to understanding music in society.
He has served as Chair of the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), and was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow prior to taking up his current post as a Chancellor's Fellow in Music.
He is editor of the Bloomsbury book series, Alternate Takes: Critical Responses to Popular Music.
Matt is interested in supervising PhD students in all areas of popular music studies, including (but not limited to) history, the music industries, live music, musical instruments and society, music journalism, music and genre, and the relationship between music and economic / social / environmental sustainability.
Matt’s current research focuses on three areas: music and sustainability, the music industries, and popular music history.
Music and sustainability
“Sustainability” is an incredibly slippery concept which has migrated from the field of sustainable development and infiltrated the discourse of arts and culture. As a result, the term is now much used (and sometimes abused) by academics, industry lobbying groups, and policymakers to make sense of the creative sector. Matt’s work investigates the relationship between music and sustainability in all its various connotations (e.g. economic, social, environmental), as well as how related concepts (challenges facing musical “ecosystems" in cities, strategies for "resilient" music scenes, etc.) are used in music research.
Music industries and live music
Learn more about the UK Live Music Census, the first nationwide census of its kind in the world.
- Visit the Live Music Exchange, a website and research hub which curates a database, workshops, and mediation services for various stakeholders in live music.
Popular music history
- Learn more about Matt’s most recent book: When Genres Collide: Down Beat, Rolling Stone, and the Struggle Between Jazz and Rock.
- Watch a short video of Matt discussing the history of the drum kit
- Learn more about a new three-volume history of live music in Britain since 1950, the outcome of a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
- Course organiser:
- Intercultural Musical Performance
- Music 1A: Psychology of Music
- Music 1B: Instruments, Culture, and Technology
- Ways of Listening
- Music 2B: Music and Ideas from Romanticism to the Late Twentieth Century
- Research Methods in Music
- Course organiser:
- Making Sense of Popular Music