Christopher Haworth

Dr.

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am interested in hearing from potential PhD students with interests in any of the areas listed under my research and supervision. • Experimental music, electronic music, media art, sound art • History and critical theory of music technology • Digital musicology • British popular music • Music and politics • Practice-based research in above areas I am currently the lead supervisor for: • Gary Charles: ‘Composing Infinity: Speculative futures through creative practice in sound and vision’ • Jake Williams: ‘Composition with Digital DJ Technologies’ • Zach Dawson: X for Y Hours: Reimagining Open Duration After the Internet’ • Gabriel Montufar Gangotena: Portfolio of compositions • Sam Riley: ‘Late-Soviet Experimentalism’

20122021

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Personal profile

Research interests

Between 2019-21 I was an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow on Music and the Internet: Towards a Digital Sociology of Music. The project examined the changing cultural, aesthetic, social and political implications of the Internet and World Wide Web as they impact on musical and musicological practice from the mid-1990s to the present. A key contention of the project has been that the study of culture in the last 30 years necessities new methods as the medial and material nature of historical sources and ethnographic sites are transformed by digitalisation. The outcomes of this project will be an edited collection titled The Digital Sociology of Music: Music Studies After the Internet (co-edited with Edward Katrak Spencer and Danielle Sofer), a monograph, and several articles. 

I currently am the PI (researcher: Valentina Bertolani) on the Horizon 2020-funded project Archiving post-1960s experimental music: Exploring the ontology of music beyond the score-performance dichotomy. In late 2022, I begin work as a research on the ERC-funded Music and Artificial Intelligence: Building Interdisciplinary Studies Project (PI: Georgina Born). 

Previously I’ve written on such topics as early computer network music, Iannis Xenakis’s late computer music, signification and meaning in computer music, and electronic music and genre. In 2018 I was awarded the Westrup Prize jointly with Georgina Born for our article, ‘From Microsound to Vaporwave: Internet-mediated musics, online methods, and genre’.

My in-progress monograph examines music, subculture, and education in Britain from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s, looking at the transformations that countercultural musics underwent in the early years of the World Wide Web and what those changes can tell us about the possibility of ‘radical’ musics today. Where American cyberculture was bound up with the attempt by journalists and venture capitalists to bed down a remediated sense of American settler colonialism on the web (‘the electornic frontier’, ‘virtual homesteading’), British cyberculture took influence from the left-libertarian musical and artistic subcultures of the 1970s and 80s. As such, it has been celebrated for harbouring a more nihilistic (and thus contemporary) vision of modern communications and their capacity for disinformation, one that emphasises disinformation, conspiracies, surveillance, and control (cf Noys 2021). In the monograph I use a variety of interpretive and digital methods to analyse these associations. Chapters explore the echoes between libertarian industrial music zines from the 1980s and the the American Alt-Right of the post-2010s; the declining relevance of the Parisian Situationist International group in relation to British popular musics, and where ‘radical’ musics went after that; and the epistemological shock that the rave moment posed across subcultural and academic worlds. 

In addition to my musicological work I’m also a composer with interests in computer music, cybernetics and systems art, psychoacoustics and audio spatialisation. Earlier in my career I published widely on psychoacoustic matters in computer music, including the use of 'auditory distortion products' as musical material.

I am interested in hearing from research students with interests aligned to mine. I currently supervise PhD students who work across post-1945 music history, practice-based research, electroacoustic composition, sound art, popular music studies, music and media, and digital musicology (with an emphasis on social and cultural approaches). 

Biography

Christopher Haworth is an Associate Professor in Music with a specialism in twentieth and twentieth-century musics. Prior to arriving at Birmingham he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the universities of McGill, Calgary, Leeds, and Oxford. 

External positions

The Alan Turing Institute

Dec 2021 → …

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