Ice skating at Lytham

Ice skating at Lytham

Currently, I hold the position of Honorary Researcher in History at Lancaster University.  I am working on sixteenth-century ballad production and representations of gender in Tudor ballads in order to turn my doctoral research into the go-to book on sixteenth-century ballads.

In 2011 I applied to Manchester University to research a PhD on the dynamics of religious persecution under King Philip and Queen Mary.  However, along the way the nature of the project  changed rather dramatically several times for several reasons.  Suffice it to say here that my thesis finished up with the title of ‘Mid-Tudor Ballads: Music, Words and Context’ and I’m very happy with it.  It’s nicely interdisciplinary, for one thing, combining my two passions: history and music.  It was completed in 2 years, 11 months and examined in January 2015 by Professor Thomas Schmidt (University of Manchester) and Professor Joad Raymond (Queen Mary, University of London).  My thesis took the ballads of the ‘mid-Tudor crisis’ period (and we can discuss whether there really was a mid-Tudor crisis in greater detail at another time!) and situated them squarely within their musical context to show that, on occasion, popular song formed part of a proto-public sphere. The thesis provided musical analysis of ballad tunes, as well as demonstrating that during this period of political, religious and social upheaval, ballads were a medium through which people could debate the causes and consequences of changes in the world around them.  Much as I love ballads, I do hope to go back to Philip and Mary at some point in the future.

I also love to sing, and I aim to take my ABRSM Diploma as a classical soprano.  One of my claims to fame is that Babara Robotham once described my voice as “pure bel canto”! I have performed as soprano soloist for choral works and at weddings, as well as recording a folk music CD, ‘Aisling’s Dream’, with my former band, Triptych.

I  sit on the Branches and Members Committee of the Historical Association, and I am the secretary of the H.A.’s Bolton Branch.  I am a Trustee of the Association and was appointed Associate Vice-President in 2016.

I am a qualified secondary school teacher and a primary school governor.


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