Rowan Bayliss Hawitt profile picture


Music - PhD/MSc by Research

Start date:


Mode of study:

Full time


Rowan Hawitt is a PhD student in the Reid School of Music at the University of Edinburgh, funded by an Edinburgh College of Art Research Award.

Her research considers how contemporary folk musicians in Scotland and England conceptualise questions of time around the current environmental and climate crises. She received a Starred First-Class BA(Hons) in Music from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and an MPhil (Distinction) in Music from Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 2019 with the William Barclay Squire Essay Prize.

Rowan has published in the journals Ethnomusicology Forum, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, and IASPM Journal, and has presented her work at national and international conferences. These include the International Temporal Belongings Conference, the RMA-BFE Research Students’ Conference, the inaugural IASPM UK ECR Conference, the Responses in Music to Climate Change Conference, and the annual meetings of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Musica Scotica.

She is a saxophonist, cellist, and singer and has performed across Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the USA. She teaches instruments to young and old alike. Rowan also campaigns for social and climate justice, sits on the EDI Working Group for St Mary’s Music School, and has further research interests in species conservation and decolonial approaches to music and time.


Course Tutor MUSI08078 Topics in Popular Music (2021/22)


Over the course of my PhD, I am researching environment and time in contemporary Scottish and English folk music. Drawing on ethnography with musicians and audiences, I ask how folk musicians are using multispecies and more-than-human temporalities to further their understanding of environmental issues. This includes a consideration of the following: how folk’s current ‘progressive’ orientation stands in relation to its (frequently problematic) associations with an idealised, anti-modernist past; how ‘deep’ or ‘geologic’ timescales are mobilised by musicians to comment on the climate crisis; the multispecies temporalities which shape musicians’ understandings of seasonal patterns, migrations, and food growing; the times of extinction folk musicians are inhabiting; and issues of responsibility to future generations and long-term thinking in this repertoire.

Research interests

  • Music and the climate crisis
  • Folk and traditional music
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Critical time studies
  • Feminist methodologies
  • Cultural narratives of extinction
  • Music and breath
  • Multispecies methodologies
  • Decolonising music and time
  • Cultural narratives of conservation
  • Popular music and environment


Bayliss Hawitt, Rowan. 2020. '"It's a part of me and I'm a part of it": ecological thinking in contemporary Scottish folk music'. Ethnomusicology Forum 29(3): 333-355. DOI:

Bastian, Michelle, and Rowan Bayliss Hawitt. 2022. 'Multi-species, ecological and climate change temporalities: Opening a dialogue with phenology'. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. OnlineFirst. DOI:

Bayliss Hawitt, Rowan. 2022. Review of Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches. 2010 onwards. Audio archive and                           educational resource. Ethnomusicology Forum. DOI:

Bayliss Hawitt, Rowan. Forthcoming. [Forthcoming]. ‘Musical ecologies of grief: breathing and environmental justice in Love Ssega’s “Our World (Fight for Air)”’. IASPM Journal.