Research Associate (Musicology) in the Department of Music

London (Greater) (GB)
£40,386-£43,745 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
19 Oct 2022
End of advertisement period
01 Dec 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The department of Music in King’s College London invites applications for a 4-year position as Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project DORMEME – Dissemination, Ownership and Reading of Music in Early Modern Europe. This project, led by Dr. Elisabeth Giselbrecht, aims to rewrite the history of the printed musical source from the perspective of its consumption – the owners and readers of music books. Operating in the intersection of musicology, book history (in particular, the history of reading) and bibliography, it offers new ways of assessing who owned music in early modern Europe and how they read it, bringing music into the discourse around early modern literacies.


At the heart of this project (originally funded by the ERC, now UKRI) stand sources of 16th century polyphony and the marks of ownership and use they contain. Together with the PI, the two postdocs will survey these sources across European libraries (and online) and use their findings to investigate patterns of dissemination and ownership of 16th century music books as well as different ways in which these books were read and used. One major component of the project is the development of a knowledge base (in conjunction with a digital humanities agency) and to develop a language to describe signs of use in music books. Therefore, the postholder is expected to work on the database collaboratively with the PI and a second postdoctoral researcher.  Alongside, postdocs are expected to publish their own articles in line with their specific interests as well as contribute to collaborative publications. Research questions to explore will centre around the three main strands dissemination (book trade networks, book dealers etc.), ownership (specific libraries, individual collectors) and use (different types of ‘reading’, performance, collecting etc.).


The post holder will also be expected to maximise the academic impact of this project by leading and designing workshops, planning conferences and presenting work in a broad variety of settings. The ideal candidate for this position is ambitious, imaginative and flexible, able to work collaboratively and independently. This scope of this project is trans-regional and to assist Dr. Giselbrecht in her work, the PDRA will ideally add linguistic and archival competency in a European language beyond German, English and Italian.


This post will suit a researcher with a background in historical musicology (early modern/ late medieval) and extensive experience of working with original musical sources. Ideally, the candidate has a demonstrable interest in book history and palaeography. A good working knowledge of English is required, knowledge of an additional language and/or Latin are desired.


 Interviews of shortlisted candidates with a presentation on their work will be held in early 2023. The start date for the post is 1st of April 2023 but an earlier or later start date may be possible. The duration is four years on a full-time basis. However, the latest possible end date for this post is 30th September 2027.


The post-holder is required to live in/ near London for the duration of their employment and be able to undertake some travel for conferences and archival work


Key responsibilities

  • Identify relevant literature and locate primary sources 
  • Collect and analyse copy-specific data from primary sources (mainly 16th century polyphonic music books) for the database, collaboratively developed and filled by the PI and the postdocs 
  • Carry out research trips to libraries across Europe 
  • Continually engage with intellectual themes, questions and hypotheses related to the sources and the three main themes of dissemination, ownership and reading of music  
  • Publish results both individually and together with PI and second postdoctoral researcher 
  • Collaborate with digital agency in development and expansion of database 
  • Prepare presentation materials for various events, conferences, and meetings 
  • Organise workshops, meetings and events related to the project 
  • Work with the PI and other project members on all aspects of the running of the project, eg by participating in project meetings and preparing reports 

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience 

Essential criteria

1.       PhD in musicology or equivalent qualification  

2.       Experience of working with primary musical sources 

3.       Demonstrable interest in book history or bibliography 

4.       Experience of undertaking high quality research 

5.       Ability to work in a team in an open, sharing manner & to engage in independent working 

6.       Excellent written and spoken command of English 

7.       Capability and willingness to undertake administrative tasks necessary for the effective management of the project 


Desirable criteria

1.       Knowledge of one other European language other than German and Italian   

2.       Knowledge of Latin 

3.       Experience reading sixteenth century archival material 

4.       Experience working with databases  


Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information

Interviews of shortlisted candidates with a presentation on their work will be held in early 2023. We welcome applications from all and especially encourage applications from members of groups underrepresented in UK academic music and from people marginalised on any of the grounds listed under the UK Equality Act 2010. 


Please submit the following materials with your application:  

  1. Curriculum Vitae with a list of publications 
  2. A recent piece of research (published or in manuscript) of no more than 8,000 words (these may be an indicated portion of a larger piece of work). 
  3.  A short research plan of questions you would be interested to explore in the context of this project (no more than 500 words) 
  4. Cover letter (no longer than 250 words) explaining your suitability to the post 
  5. Names and contact details of two referees