Our Committee

Original on Transparent.png

MMRN was established by four M4C (Midlands4Cities)-funded PhD students each sharing an enthusiasm for expanding communication and collaboration across a variety of music-related topics, institutions and research contexts. You can find out more about our steering committee through their profiles below.

Call for Committee Members 2022-23

The Midlands Music Research Network (MMRN) invites applications from postgraduate and early career researchers for roles in its Organising Committee. We particularly welcome applications from researchers funded by the Midlands4Cities doctoral training partnership, although this is not a requirement. We are looking for people who are interested in taking on one or more of the following roles as part of our Organising Committee:


  • Organising events, such as research seminars and networking sessions.

  • Communicating with our members through email, mailing-lists, newsletters etc.

  • Developing relationships with relevant arts organisations and institutions in promoting MMRN events and activities.

  • Managing the Network’s accounts and finances.

  • Running, hosting, and writing episodes for the MMRN podcast.

  • Writing blog posts and/or reviewing and editing guest blogs.

  • Creating promotional materials for MMRN’s events and activities including leaflets, posters, and social media images.

  • Creating and uploading videos to the new MMRN YouTube channel. Running and creating engaging posts on our social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter.

  • Organising and delivering our Third Annual Conference in spring 2023.


If you would like to get involved, please email us at midsmusicnetwork@gmail.com with a brief statement about your research background, why you are interested in joining the MMRN committee, relevant skills and experience, and which roles you would be interested in by 21 October 2022 (suggested 250-400 words). We will appoint new committee members on a rolling basis, so please apply as soon as possible. We are also very happy to answer informal queries about committee membership via email.


The PDF version of the Call for Committee members can be found here.

MMRN Committee 2021-22

Daniel Johnson - Director


I’m a fifth year, part-time history PhD student at the University of Leicester. I am studying the intellectual context and content of the hymns of Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Alongside my studies, I am Head of Academic Development at Nexus ICA, where I lecture on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. I achieved a first class degree in Popular Music and Music Technology at the University of Derby, before completing my Masters of Research in Theology at the University of Nottingham, where I studied Isaac Watts’ interpretation of the psalms. I am also a visiting lecturer for the London School of Theology. I’m married to Rosanna and we have four young children.


I worked for many years as a professional musician. While my own work and experience largely concentrates on the role of music within the Christian tradition, I enjoy studying the way different societies use music. The MMRN is an exciting environment in which I can both share my own research and learn from others. I’m looking forward to the networking opportunities the MMRN will provide.

Caroline Ridler - Website Manager

profile picture with molly.jpg

I'm a third-year M4C-funded PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham in the department of Russian and Slavonic studies. My research focusses on the Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi who was a youth icon for perestroika-era youth, and remains a cult icon in the former Soviet space to the present day. Through study of his life and legacy, I am exploring the huge cultural and political shifts which occurred during glasnost and perestroika. My research interests include popular music studies, youth culture, subcultures and marginality, and the cultural politics of the late Soviet Union.

Nicholas Ong - Podcast Organiser

Nick Ong.jpeg

I am a MSt in Music (Musicology) graduate of the University of Oxford where my research focussed on German idealism in the music criticism of nineteenth-century Russia. Whilst completing my master's, I co-produced the podcast Crafting Musical Lives (https://spoti.fi/3Aggj1N) which explored the life-writing process of musical figures. Prior to my postgraduate studies, I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BA (First Class) in Music and was awarded the Philip Weller Dissertation Prize for my dissertation on the cosmopolitan national identity in music of Singapore.


Before moving to the UK (from Singapore), I completed my national service as a trumpeter in the Singapore Armed Forces Band. Since then, my music-making activity mainly involves singing in choirs. Outside of music, I enjoy – like many others – visiting cathedrals. I am currently on a (not-so-absolute) hiatus from academia, working in administration at the University of Lincoln Students' Union.

Lee Griffiths - Events and Publicity Officer

Lee Griffiths.jpg

I graduated with a BMus (Hons) in Jazz Saxophone from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2016 and have performed around the UK and Europe with groups such as the Rachel Musson Ensemble and Birmingham Improvisers Orchestra. I was awarded an MA in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University where I am currently studying for an M4C-funded PhD exploring the intra-actions between words and music in jazz practices. My research explores my own practice as an improvising musician and broader issues of meaning construction in jazz practices, by drawing on contemporary philosophical frameworks.