LGBTQ+ Music Study Group

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The LGBTQ+ Music Study Group's logo

The LGBTQ+ Music Study Group was established in 2016 and receives support from the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE), the Royal Musical Association (RMA), the Society for Music Analysis (SMA), and the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI). It is a broad, cross-disciplinary body distinct from (but working on collaboration with) the RMA LGBTQ Study Group.

The Group’s mission is threefold:

  1. to promote academic inquiry into issues of gender and sexuality in the study of music
  2. to create a safe space and support system for LGBTQ+ people within the scholarly community; and
  3. to serve as a consulting body for wider issues of diversity and inclusion within music research, education and performance.

Through symposia, regular reading group meetings, online networks and an active presence at international conferences, we seek to advance academic and public understanding of music in relation to issues including but not limited to those surrounding gender, sexuality, queer theory and feminism, and how they pertain to music. In addition to supporting work that helps dismantle heteronorms and subvert gender binaries, we would especially like to nurture queer scholarship in music studies addressing a broad range of concerns – including the body, geography, family, activism, environment, temporality, physical and mental health and well-being – that intersect issues of gender and sexuality in dialogue with feminist, postcolonial and critical race studies. Not only do we encourage scholars working across sub-disciplinary, disciplinary, institutional and national boundaries, but also those addressing and collaborating with non-academic institutions and wider publics.

The Study Group aspires to create and maintain safe and inclusive spaces for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and welcomes allies and those of us who may not identify as LGBTQ+. We strive in particular to create a space that is supportive of those of us who are trans (binary or otherwise) and/or POC, and those of us living with (invisible and visible) disabilities and/or (physical or mental) health issues.

Ongoing Activities[edit]

Open Call for Scores[edit]

In collaboration Sound and Music, we have launched a paid open call for works by LGBTQ+ composers. Two £500 grants are available.
Full details can be found here.
Deadline for applications: 14 March, 11:59pm.

Mutual Mentoring Scheme[edit]

The Queer Mutual Mentoring (QMM) pilot scheme is a resource for all students, scholars, and musicians who identity as LGBTQ+ or their allies in addressing challenges of our work and student lives. It allows for participants to engage in mutual sharing, learning, supporting, and inspiring, processes that can flow in different directions depending on the individual participants. One of the central aims of the scheme is to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and skills for dealing with issues that relate to, or are shaped by, issues of gender and sexuality, as they intersect with other aspects of our identities and biographies. Mentoring can include a wide range of points of discussion, including but not limited to the following issues:

  • Coming out to fellow students/colleagues
  • Career guidance both within and beyond the academy and music industry
  • Discrimination and bullying (among student and/or staff)
  • Discussing queer theory
  • Expanding networks
  • Self-care strategies
  • Challenging trans-, bi- and homophobia among peers
  • Negotiating new roles and institutional structures
  • Queering the syllabus and/or teaching methods
  • The needs of a student body that's diverse across gender and sexuality

The QMM pilot scheme involves participants being matched with one, two or three other people. Mentoring will last for six months and will consist of roughly one online meeting per month, each meeting lasting around one hour. Participants will be invited to a group discussion with all other participants at the end of the period. Following completion of the scheme, participants will be asked to offer feedback. All meetings are confidential.
The full call for participants can be found here.
Deadline for applications: 8 March 2021.

Podcast and Blog[edit]

The study group runs an active podcast, Bent Notes, as well a blog.
Both aim to provide a broad platform for the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in music, including and not limited to:

  • Music research, teaching and performance
  • Upcoming performances and CD releases
  • Perspectives on the music industry and academy (including issues of inclusion, equality, diversity and decolonisation)
  • Artist/researcher profiles

Each episode of the podcast is approximately 40 minutes long, and may include musical examples subject to copyright. Blogposts are around 1000 words in length and can include audio-visual material. We encourage applications from music researchers (from all subdisciplines), composers, performers, teachers, collaborators, and anybody whose work engages both music and LGBTQ+ issues. Zoom podcast interviews from anywhere in the world are most welcome.

If you are interested, please send a 100 word proposal and 50 word bio to either george.haggett[at] (Podcast) or thomas.r.hilder[at] (Blog)
Previous blog posts can be found here.
You can listen to Bent Notes: Queer Musicology Podcast here, or search for it on any other major podcast hosting platform.

Current Committee Members[edit]

Thomas Hilder (chair)
Marie Bennett (event liason)
David Bretherton
Robert Crowe (performance officer)
Naomi Orrell
George Haggett
Rachel Cowgill (RMA Chair)
Flo Toch (webmaster)
Ryan Persadie

Advisory Board[edit]

Shzr Ee Tan
Richard Witts
Freya Jarman

Past Symposia[edit]

2017: Music, Queer, Intersections. 26-27 May 2017, Edge Hill University.
2018: Queerness, Voice, Embodiment. 20-21 April 2018, Maynooth University.
2019: Legacies of Resistance, Responding to Oppression: Changing Dynamics in LGBTQ+ Music Activism and Scholarship. 26-27 April 2019, University of Southampton.

Other Past Events[edit]

2021: LGBTQ+ History Month edit-a-thon at the British Music Collection


Email: lgbtqmusicsg[at]
Twitter: @lgbtqmusicsg