I joined the University of Salford in 2005, as Professor of Cultural Studies; before that I held the same position at UCLan. I was 2005-2013 Director of the Communication, Cultural & Media Studies Research Centre. In 2012 I was appointed to a 3 year Leadership Fellowship b the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the Connected Communities Programme. My work has been awarded funding from the AHRC (six awards to date–seven if we include HERA), British Council, European Commission (Framework 6), Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, HEFCE, among others. I was until 2013 a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, for Media, and for Music. I have been (2010-12) an elected member of the Media, Communication & Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) executive–MeCCSA being the national UK association for scholars and postgraduate students in the field. I have undertaken external examining responsibilities at around 15 institutions, at PhD, MA and BA levels. I have been a Visiting Fellow at University of Southern Maine, USA (1994), University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria (1996), and at University of Sydney, Australia (2008).
In 2011 I was lead organiser for the MeCCSA annual conference at Salford in the UK. In 2012 I was lead organiser for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-UK & Ireland) biennial conference at Salford (this followed the sad death of original organiser Prof Dave Sanjek). The theme of the IASPM conference will be of interest to Rhythm Changers: Imagining Communities Musically: Putting Popular Music in its Place.
In terms of public engagement, I am a fairly frequent contributor to British and some international media, including BBC and independent radio, having appeared on programmes as varied as Thinking Allowed (several times) and The Johnnie Walker Show. I have also appeared on numerous television programmes–news and documentaries–and written for publications such as the Guardian, Independent, Times Higher Education, New Statesman. A two-part ABC radio documentary in 2009, on the leading Australian music programme Into the Music, focused heavily on my research on street music and popular protest.
My areas of interest and expertise are as follows, and I highlight points that I think will be of particular interest to Rhythm Changes scholars and fans:
Cultures of transatlanticism. Besides the co-edited Issues in Americanisation(Edinburgh UP, 2004), my key work in the field is probably the AHRC-supported Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain (Duke UP, 2005). Transcriptions of interviews undertaken with many British or UK-based jazz musicians and organisers for that book can be read via links on the ‘Team members’ publications’ page of the Rhythm Changes website. and Culture I am also a member of the editorial board of Jazz Research Journal. I have written a chapter on the neglected Triniadian honky-tonk pop pianist Winifred Atwell for Jason Toynbee et al‘s collection Black British Jazz.
Festival, music and social change. I havewritten several chapters and articles about jazz festivals in Britain, as well as about the use of jazz in social protest (particularly marching jazz bands on political demonstrations–see ‘A soundtrack to the insurrection’ article). More generally I’ve written books that feature or focus entirely on festival culture, such as Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties (Verso, 1996) and Glastonbury: A Very English Fair (Gollancz, 2000). I was Professor in Residence at the 2011 Kendal Calling festival, in the English Lake District (which was voted Best
Small Festival in UK in 2010). Currently editing a new collection about festival culture, music and media probably entitled Carnivalising Pop, which includes several Rhythm Changes authors. I co-edited Community Music: A Handbook (Russell House, 2005), which includes my chapter on free improvisation and the development of community music in Britain. (I used to work as a community musician; double bass is my instrument–I still play and enjoy playing.) I’ve recently been awarded an AHRC grant in the new Connected Communities programme to produce a research review on community music and digital cultures.
Disability and cultural studies. My current work draws on a special issue of Popular Music I edited on the topic in 2009; it’s an AHRC-funded monograph entitled Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability), being published by University of Michigan Press in its Corporealities series in 2013 . The book includes some jazz figures, e.g. I was intending to write a chapter on visual impairment with particularly interest in the English pianist George Shearing and the African-American multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Alternative cultures, (post)subcultures, protest and social movements. Not so much jazz in this one, but, hey, do look out for my recently published book on polemic landscapes, floriculture and horticultural politics, Radical Gardening (Frances Lincoln, 2011). ‘A truly important book’, wrote the Times Higher Education. I was founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, which celebrated its 10th aniversary in 2011. Also an EU FP6 project I was involved in, Society & Lifestyles, resulted in a co-edited collection exploring cross-cultural and comparative studies in Europe, Subcultures and New Religious Movements in Russia and East-Central Europe.
You can find out more and read quite a lot of my work on my personal website, including six or seven Google books:
http://georgemckay.org lots of material here, including transcriptions of interviews with British jazz musicians for different projects over the past decade.
http://salford.academia.edu/GeorgeMcKay (articles and book extracts accessible)