John Cumming OBE – Director, Serious

John-CummingJohn Cumming is one of three Directors of Serious, the organisation behind the London Jazz Festival.  John started in a theatre at the Edinburgh Festival before moving to a programming position at South Hill Park, Bracknell in the 1970s. From there he  took over the Camden Arts Festival, which eventually developed into the London Jazz Festival in the early 1990s; the Festival celebrates its 25th birthday in 2017.  He has been a member of a number of Arts Council and Regional Arts panels and committees, and until recently was a long-standing board member of Europe Jazz Network. He received Services to Jazz Awards at the 2005 BBC Jazz Awards, and in 2012 from the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group. John was awarded an OBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Services to Jazz.

Rachel Daniel – Project Administrator

Rachel Daniel provides administrative and event support for Prof George McKay and the Connected Communities programme from the University of East Anglia. Her background is in art and she is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD exploring the use of art in healthcare environments. Her website for art practice is here.

Louise Dennison – Head of Learning and Participation, Serious

Louise is the main point of contact between the researchers and Serious, and heads up the organisation’s education and participation work. Serious’ year round Learning & Participation programme brings professional artists and the wider community together, providing inspiration through music for everyone involved. Before joining Serious earlier in 2015, Louise worked for Artis Education, The Prince’s Foundation for Children, and for the Norwich and Norwich Festival.

Professor George McKay – Principal investigator

FestivalCultureGeorgeMcKay-430x430George McKay is Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. Prior to this, he was Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford (2005-2014); previously he held a similar chair at the University of Central Lancashire (2000-2005). In September 2012 he took up a three-year AHRC Leadership Fellowship for the Connected Communities Programme, which was renewed for a further three-year period in September 2015. His research and teaching interests are in alternative culture and media, the cultural politics of popular music, disability, festivals, and gardening.

Among George’s 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).

Dr Emma Webster – Research Associate

WP_20150801_002Emma Webster is an academic expert on live music and festivals and is also a music and comedy promoter in her spare time.  She received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in November 2011; the title of her thesis was Promoting Live Music: A Behind-the-Scenes Ethnography, and is the first academic account of what live music promoters do and the contexts within which they work. The research focuses on the live music scenes of Glasgow, Bristol and Sheffield, and involved ethnographic fieldwork at arenas, clubs, festivals, concert halls, and pubs, and interviews with promoters, venue staff, musicians and audiences. In 2012, Emma and colleagues at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow set up the Live Music Exchange, an online hub for anyone interested in live music research, which contains blogs and resources on a wide range of topics including festivals.

More recently, Emma worked on a census of live music in Edinburgh in 2015 and wrote the six-year report of the Association of Independent Festivals in 2014; she appeared with George McKay on the Festival Britannia panel at Kendal Calling 2015 and gave the keynote speech at the IASPM Postgraduate Conference 2015 in Cardiff. Emma is also an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University, where she worked for four years in a variety of roles before starting the Impact of Festivals project. Among her academic publications is the co-authored three-volume series The History of Live Music in Britain (Frith,  Brennan, Cloonan and Webster), of which the first, covering 1950-1967, was published by Ashgate in 2013.