- Ex: 33180
16-18 Gordon Square
Faculty of Arts & Humanities
I seem for some reason to be particularly drawn to the long 19C and the early decades of the 20C - possibly because of that period's own, fascinating dynamic, but possibly also because so many of the underlying evaluations and approaches we live with today seem to stem from developments, negotiations (and in some cases entrenchments) from this period. It is therefore a period which is not only interesting to try and understand, but which is still with us today and highly present. I recently explored the choral communications in Brahms' German requiem, for example, and did so partly because I wanted to enhance the possible ways in which we hear it and engage with it today - much performed and loved as that particular piece is. The choral voice in classical music is also under-explored, and there is more work to be done here on how it functions and what it expresses.
Connections between musical expressions and activities and various places and spaces remain however as a particular fascination, and a seemingly particularly fruitful 'place' to investigate ideas and approaches of their contemporary societies. After having spent a degree of (academic) time in both the Swedish and Norwegian mountain-scapes, I started to long for the sea and am currently looking at how a general and historic relationship with the sea in Britain can be mapped and understood through various musical outputs and expressions. It has afforded an opportunity to consider the place of the sea in a wider British collective culture in itself, a study which has been particularly fascinating, and which is a long way from complete. It is in fact expanding ever further, and seems to lead in so many directions. Embedded somewhere in this enquiry is also the aspect of transport and movement - as much of the narratives around the mountains were conditioned by both 'slow travel' in the form of walking, and 'enabling transport' in the form of an expanding rail network, so all cultural preferences and cultural activities developed in conjunction with abilities and trends in travel and mobility. In Britain in particular, disused railway lines and still-open canal ways provide an opportunity to physically engage not just with our present modes of transport, but also explore and consider earlier conditions and connections. Lucky really, that apart from singing, my off-time preferred activities happen to be walking and cycling...
Master of Arts (Hons)
|University of Wales, College of Cardiff|
Swedish, German and Music
After teaching positions in Lampeter (Wales), Belgrade (Yugoslavia) and Dublin, I joined the department of Scandinavian Studies at UCL in 2001. Initially employed to teach all Swedish language related courses, as well as separate UG course on Swedish Cinema (later developed into Nordic Cinema), I have since gravitated more towards cultural study, and now teach courses on Nordic Landscapes, Nordic Histories & Cultures, and Hearing Cultures: Contextualised soundscapes in Europe 1770-1914, alongside advanced language courses and project-based courses.
My research focus runs along the same lines as these courses, and encompasses a range of enquiries into a variety of cross-roads between cultural expression and a wider set of contextual ideologies and behaviours. In some early work, I puzzled over a Swedish collective identity in relationship to its language policies at a particular point of time, and in another how it informed and conditioned the reception of very popular (at that time) film which drew heavily on the Swedish landscape for both enplacement and appeal.
From these early forays, I started to understand - or at least discern - more of the complexity that is involved in issues around collective identity, landscape (particularly in Nordic and British contexts) and cultural expressions and engagements through which concomitant ideas and approaches can be both forwarded and shaped. The Nordic Landscape course I developed gave me a chance to explore and discover - together with my students - a range of aspects and instances in which the landscape was appropriated, in both inherited and reformed forms, to become part of negotiations around place, space and identity.
Following on from this, I could finally start thinking about the place and voice of music in the context of a changing, dynamic and often highly ideologised society. The very nature of music makes it harder to 'pin down' to a particular place or time, but that does not mean it has no connections to the context from which it emerged, or in which it existed (or exist). In my first exploration of music and landscapes, for example, I found that a symphony from the early part of the 20C could be connected with a range of approaches to a particular place - in this case northern Sweden: its natural resources, an on-going and complex rhetoric around the value of the landscape, and a long-established (and in no way only domestically informed) idea of where the indigenous people that (also) inhabited that landscape belonged in that rhetoric.
Term1: Tuesday 3-4pm or by appointment on Thursday