Biography

George McKay joined UEA as Professor of Media Studies in November 2014. Previously he was Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford (2005-14), where he established and directed the Communication, Cultural & Media Studies Research Centre, and Professor of Cultural Studies at UCLan (2000-05). He has a First Class BA (Hons) from Hull College of Higher Education (1984) and a PhD from the University of Glasgow (1992). Going further back, he attended secondary schools in Norfolk: King Edward VII Grammar School, King’s Lynn (1972-75), and Blyth-Jex Comprehensive School, Norwich (1975-80). 

He is currently engaged on a 0.8 role as an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Leadership Fellow for its Connected Communities Programme (2012-18). In 2015-16 this includes The Impact of Festivals project, in collaboration with research partner EFG London Jazz Festival, and postdoctoral research assistant Dr Emma Webster. He is also co-investigator (2015-18) on the EU Heritage+ project, Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME). 

Among his books are Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties (Verso, 1996), DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain (ed., Verso, 1998), Glastonbury: A Very English Fair (Gollancz, 2000), Community Music: A Handbook (co-ed. with Pete Moser, Russell House, 2004), Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain (Duke UP, 2005), Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden (Frances Lincoln, 2011), Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability (University of Michigan Press, 2013), and The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture (ed., Bloomsbury, 2015).

He was founding co-editor in 2002 of Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest (Routledge), and associate editor (1993-2002) of the BAAS Paperback Series (Edinburgh UP). He was special issue editor of the journal Popular Music (28:3; 2009) on the theme of popular music and disability. He currently co-edits the Connected Communities: Creating a New Knowledge Landscape series for Policy Press, is a member of the editorial board of Jazz Research Journal and consulting editor of Social Movement Studies.

Professor McKay’s website is georgemckay.org; it contains comprehensive information about his research—including lots of open access links—books, events, reviews, even a little about his music (semi-pro jazz double bassist). His academia.edu page is here—again, open access links. You can also, if so minded, follow him on Twitter @george_mckay

All Publications

McKay, G.

(2018)

Skinny blues: Karen Carpenter, anorexia nervosa and popular music,

in Popular Music

37

(1)

pp. 1-21

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Webster, E., Mckay, G.

(2017)

Music From Out There, In Here: 25 Years of the London Jazz Festival,

AHRC/UEA

Full Text UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


McKay, G.

(2016)

Gee Vaucher's punk painting as record sleeves,

in Gee Vaucher: Introspective.

Firstsite

pp. 64-74

ISBN 978-1-57027-315-5

Full Text

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


Mckay, G.

(2016)

Pop Music and the Disabled Body, film of inaugural lecture,

Full Text

(Other contribution)

(Published)


McKay, G., Webster, E.

(2016)

From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury: The Impact of British Music Festivals,

AHRC/UEA

(Other report)

(Published)


McKay, G.

(2016)

4WORD: AN.OK4U2@32+1984,

in The Aesthetic of Our Anger. Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music.

Autonomedia

pp. 1-7

ISBN 9781570273186

Full Text

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


McKay, G.

(2015)

Punk Rock and Disability: Cripping Subculture,

in Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies.

Oxford University Press

pp. 226-245

ISBN 9780199331444

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


Mckay, G.

(2015)

The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture,

Bloomsbury Academic

ISBN 9781623568207, 9781623569594

Full Text

(Anthology)

(Published)


McKay, G.

(2015)

'The pose is ... a stance': popular music and the cultural politics of festival in 1950s Britain,

in The Pop Festival : History, Music, Media, Culture.

Bloomsbury Academic

ISBN 9781623569594, 9781623568207

Full Text

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


Webster, E., McKay, G.

(2015)

The impact of (jazz) festivals: An Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research report,

in Jazz Research Journal

9

(2)

pp. 169-193

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


McKay, G.

(2014)

Winifred Atwell and her 'other piano': 16 hit singles and a 'blanket of silence', sounding the limits of jazz,

in Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance.

Ashgate

pp. 153-172

ISBN 9781472417565

Full Text

(Chapter (peer-reviewed))

(Published)


Mckay, G.

(2013)

Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability,

University of Michigan Press

ISBN 9780472052097, 9780472072095

Full Text UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Mckay, G.

(2011)

Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden,

Frances Lincoln

ISBN 9780711235380, 9780711230309

Full Text UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Key Research Interests

‘Cultural studies with a soundtrack’ is how his website strapline describes his research interests.

More specifically: alternative cultures/ counterculture, popular music, jazz, disability in culture and media, subcultures and post-subcultures, festival and the carnivalesque, social movements and protest, gardens and gardening, autonomy/anarchism, community music, participatory arts, practice/production-as-research. 

Selected recent keynote lectures

  • 2016:MeCCSA annual conference, Canterbury Christ Church University.
  • 2015: Westminster University, Re-Imagining Rurality conference.
  • 2014: University of Porto/Casa da Musica, Portugal. Keep it Simple, Make it Fast: Underground Music Scenes and DIY Cultures conference: ‘Cripping punk.’
  • 2014: Marabouparken art space, Stockholm, Sweden. Part of the On Invasive Grounds exhibition.
  • 2013: University of Aveido, Portugal. Jazz Messengers conference, politics and European jazz.
  • 2013: University of Murcia, Spain. Iberian Association of Cultural Studies biennial conference. Theme: Politics and Space.
  • 2013: AHRC Connected Communities Showcase, London: An Evening with George McKay, Spitalfields City Farm.
  • 2012: University of Glamorgan, AHRC Live Music Exchange project conference. Lecture: ‘Festival, place, industry, community’.
  • 2012: dOCUMENTA13, Kassel, Germany. Lecture, ‘Multispecies and Seeds’ during the closing conference.
  • 2012: Freie Garten Akademie no. 8, Münster, Germany: Lecture: ‘Horticounterculture’. 

 

Recent / current grants, awards, projects 

date           

total award  (personal allocation)

awarding body, grant type

project title and information

role

2015-18

€650,000 (c. £40,000)

EU Heritage+ 

Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals

Co-I

2015-18

£480,760

AHRC 

Connected Communities Leadership Fellowship stage 2 

PI

2015-16

£73,983

AHRC

Postdoctoral RA, Impact of Festivals

PI

2014

£2,000

(£1,000)

University of Salford

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence

Joint prize-winner

2014

c. £1,000

British Council

Tunisia-UK University Networking, Tunis

PI

2014

£7,270

AHRC

Carnivalising the Creative Economy: Festivals & KE

PI

2013

£500

MSN survey consultancy

MSN Festival-goers Survey, expert media commentator

Consultant

2012-15

£359,888

AHRC fellowship

Connected Communities Leadership Fellowship

PI

2012-13

£79,588 (£9,079)

AHRC follow-on funding

Community Gardening … & Everyday Culture

Co-I

2011

£26,773

AHRC scoping study

Community Music: History & … Digital Turns

PI, report co-author

2010-13

€1,000,000 (c.£42,682)

HERA / EU FP7

Rhythm Changes: European Jazz & National Identities

Researcher

2010-11

£39,597

AHRC research leave

Spasticus: Popular Music & Disability

PI, book author

External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

Internationally, Professor McKay has been a visiting scholar at University of Southern Maine (1994), University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria (1996) and University of Sydney (2008), and has worked on local British Council projects and events in Bulgaria, Poland and Tunisia. Major European projects he has been part of are EUFP6 Society and Lifestyles: Towards Enhancing Social Harmonisation through Knowledge of Subcultural Communities (2006-08; €1.6m) and HERA/EUFP7 Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities (2010-13; €1m). He is currently co-investigator on an EU project under the Cultural Heritage initiative, Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME; 2015-18; €650k).

Public engagement and collaboration

Professor McKay is committed to public engagement: he has been Professor in Residence at the award-winning Kendal Calling pop festival (2011), and at EFG London Jazz Festival (2014). He has curated (2014) and chaired (2014, 2015) AHRC talks at the 2013 Cheltenham Jazz Festival. He is working with EFG London Jazz Festival and an AHRC-funded postdoc on a project entitled The Impact and Value of Festivals.

As a researcher he has worked with a range of cultural and media organisations, including Community Media Association, Cheltenham Festivals, Community Music East, More Music, British Council, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Serious Music, and MSN.

He has appeared on all major BBC radio stations, BBC TV and ITV, various community radio stations, discussing his work or as an academic ‘expert’. He has written for the GuardianIndependentNew Statesman, and currently reviews for the Times Higher. 

Conference organisation

To date, he has been involved in the organisation of more than 15 UK and international academic conferences, including notably as lead organiser of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (UK & I) 2012 and Media, Communication & Cultural Studies Association 2011 conferences. He was lead organiser of the Festival Cultures symposium and the Sounding and Findings Connected Communities conference at UEA in 2015, and is a member of the organising committee for the 4th Rhythm Changes conference on the theme of Jazz Utopia at BCU, and of the scientific committee for the 3rd Keep It Simple, Make It Fast conference in Porto, both in 2016.