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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

British Academy Postdoctoral Award for Kate Guthrie

Published: 23 May 2014

Dr Kate Guthrie has just been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the British Academy for a three-year research project to be undertaken at Southampton. Entitled 'Democratizing Art: Music, Leisure and Education in Interwar Britain', the project aims to deepen our understanding of interwar Britain's shifting and often contradictory cultural and intellectual values.


Kate's project will investigate initiatives to broaden access to elite musical culture in interwar Britain. It will focus on a number of organizations and networks through which music was disseminated, including Morley College, where Gustav Holst developed a programme of music education for working adults; the BBC with its educational broadcasts; and Robert Mayer's pioneering children's concerts.

Through this, ‘Democratizing Art' aims to address three particular concerns. First, it will explore the relationship between new technologies and an emerging middlebrow culture, born from the problematic intersection of art and popular music. Second, it will investigate how intellectuals and social-minded entrepreneurs sought to influence the public's consumption of culture. And third, it will consider how attempts to increase access to elite culture intersected with anxieties about the ‘Americanization' of Britain.

This project expands themes touched on lightly in the third chapter of Kate's doctoral thesis, a study of ‘Music and Cultural Values in 1940s London', which she recently completed at King's College London.

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