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Research group

Centre for Music Education and Social Justice

2 fingers pointing at sheet music on a piano

We are advocates for equality in music education. We bring together music practitioners and local, national and international partners in conversations about social justice and the alleviation of inequality, powerlessness and discrimination.

Part of Music


The Centre for Music Education and Social Justice (CMESJ) supports the University of Southampton’s strategic vision to strive for greater inclusivity in our communities, seeing equity and diversity as strengths. The Centre serves as a main point of contact between the University and communities of musical practice in our region, in the UK more widely and around the world who wish to explore the social justice implications of music education.

Through regular events – from talks to interactive concerts to workshops – we support innovative research on looking at music education from practical, pedagogical, therapeutic, theoretical and historical perspectives. We also seek to nurture the study of these areas at postgraduate level and to work on the interdisciplinary study of themes of pressing social justice matters.

The main aims and focus of CMESJ are:

  • promoting interdisciplinary and widening research
  • empowering ECRs and future leaders in music education research
  • educational and policy enhancement
  • improving community access
  • supporting continuing professional development

The Centre is directed by Dr Erin Johnson-Williams, a music historian whose research addresses decolonisation, the imperial legacies of music education, trauma studies, gender and maternity, hymns and race and soundscapes of colonial violence. The Deputy Director is Dr Chiying Lam, who works on music and inclusion, music education research methods and community music. Together they lead a team of scholars, practitioners, composers and performers all dedicated to the study of inequality in music education, and to action to create more inclusive and just access to music, for everyone.

News and events

Find out about our upcoming events

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People, projects, publications and PhDs


Dr Amy Williamson PhD

Teaching Fellow in Music

Research interests

  • Medieval English polyphony
  • Music and EDI (more specifically, Music and Class in HE and Music and Disability)
  • Gender and sexuality in popular music
Connect with Amy

Professor Andrew Pinnock


Research interests

  • Arts management and cultural policy; cultural economics
  • Seventeenth-century English opera
  • Aspects of organology, especially the early twentieth-century English recorder revival.
Connect with Andrew

Dr Benjamin Oliver

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Composition (Instrumental and Electronic)
  • Conducting Research
  • Sonification

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Benjamin

Dr Chiying Lam BEd, MA, PhD, FRSPH

Lecturer in Community Music and Scl Jstc

Research interests

  • Post-colonial discourses of power & identity within the music practitioners' community
  • Musicians' pedagogical practice
  • Music education research methods

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Chiying

Mr Dan Mar-Molinero

Principal Teaching Fellow
Connect with Dan

Dr David Bretherton

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Queer Music Theory
  • 19th-Century European Art Song
  • Theories of European Common-Practice Harmony
Connect with David

Dr Erin Johnson-Williams

Lecturer Music Educ and Social Justice

Research interests

  • Decolonisation
  • Imperial legacies of music education
  • Trauma studies

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Erin

Mrs Helen Dromey

Principal Teaching Fellow
Connect with Helen

Dr Hettie Malcomson

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Anthropology and sociology of music
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Analysing social inequalities through the ethnographic study of music
Connect with Hettie

Dr Liz Gre

Senior Teaching Fellow

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Liz

Related research institutes, centres and groups

Related research institutes, centres and groups

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Get in touch

We welcome enquiries.
Director of the CMESJ: Dr Erin Johnson-Williams Email: