Simon is a lecturer in Ethnomusicology and specialises in the field of contemporary English folk and traditional music. He has published on the ways in which the English folk arts relate to English national identity, with a particular interest in how they are taught, institutionalised and performed in non-traditional contexts. Performing Englishness (2013) was co-authored by Simon and Trish Winters (University of Sunderland) and is now available in [paperback].
Simon graduated from Durham University in 2002 with a BA in Music and was subsequently awarded an MA by Research in Ethnomusicology in 2004. After receiving a Doctoral Award from the AHRC, Simon completed a PhD in Ethnomusicology at Newcastle University in 2008, with a thesis titled ‘Teaching Folk; the Educational Institutionalization of Folk Music in Contemporary England’. From 2007-9 he worked as the Project Researcher on the AHRC funded project ‘Performing Englishness in New English Folk Music and Dance’ at the University of Sunderland. He then worked as a Teaching Fellow in Ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield from 2009-12, before being made Lecturer.
Simon’s interests include the relationships between the recent resurgence of the English folk arts, England’s folk music industry and constructions of Englishness. He has also conducted research on Balkan identities in Romanian pop music, and on regional identity, educational institutions and Celtic repertories in the folk music of the North East of England. This research all informs his teaching on the module ‘Traditional Music in the Modern World’.
As a secondary research interest, Simon studies the relationship between music and comedy in contemporary popular culture, and teaches a module entitled ‘Music and Comedy’
Simon is interested in the history and development of free-reed instruments, and he is an experienced performer on the English concertina and piano accordion. Simon also performs regularly as a jazz pianist, and less regularly on guitar, ukulele, tenor banjo, trumpet, double bass and percussion.