Katie Bank



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Katie's research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), the AHRC, and the Reid Scholarship. In 2019, she was a long-term Fellow at the Newberry Library and in 2020, she won the Hakluyt Society Essay Prize for her piece on travel literature and Thomas Weelkes's madrigal 'Thule, the period of Cosmographie'.

A native of California, Katie spent several years as a full-time music teacher and arts administrator before her life as a musicologist and continues to draw liberally from this foundation in her work in higher education. In addition to Birmingham, she has taught undergraduates and/or postgraduates at the University of Oxford (Magdalen, Lady Margaret Hall, Oriel, Somerville), UCL (MA in Early Modern Exchange), and Royal Holloway, with guest lectures at University of Surrey, Imperial College, and De Paul University.

Supervised by Dr Helen Deeming (RHUL) and Professor Lisa Jardine (UCL), Katie completed her doctoral studies at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016 and was examined by Regius Professor Julian Johnson and Professor Richard Wistreich. She collaborates regularly with colleagues at the Courtauld Gallery, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (UCL), and various choral ensembles around London. Katie is also an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield.

Research interests

'Musical-Visual Culture in Early Modern England' marks the first dedicated study of depictions of music making in late-Elizabethan, early-Stuart England. It will not only deepen our understanding of early modern emotion but revise narratives about the role of aesthetic experience in seventeenth century intellectual history. For historiographical reasons, art historians and musicologists have yet to analyse together the large body of song and visual culture that explores shared metaphysical topoi, including sensing, dreaming, and love. Focusing on song and musical imagery, my project contributes to our understanding of how visual and auditory sensing built interiority in the home and the self.

My first piece of published work from this larger project is "(Re)Creating the Eglantine Table". The Eglantine Table at Hardwick Hall (c.1568) was probably crafted to commemorate marriages made between the Hardwick-Cavendish and Talbot families. In addition to various heraldic symbols, the table’s friezes depict gaming paraphernalia, thirteen musical instruments, and several music books, including a stacked score of a devotional song perhaps by Thomas Tallis’s 'O Lord in Thee is all my trust'.

While there is thorough existing scholarship on what the Eglantine Table depicts, this article explores what can be inferred about the contemporary value of musical recreation from how meaning was produced in the table’s iconography using a ‘material approach’ to music as both an object and also a sounding body. This article demonstrates why recreation, including music making, is defined most prominently by why people choose to engage in it and the human actions that make recreation happen. Viewed in this fresh light, the Eglantine Table, including its musical iconography and notation, offers insight into the meaning of musical recreation and the values that shaped domestic interiors, objects, and social bonds in an early modern English aristocratic home.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, Bowdoin College

Master of Music, King’s College London

Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Holloway University of London

Master of Teaching and Learning, University of California


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