Register for Slow Train Coming: One Year On

Setting a research agenda for exploring inequalities in higher music education

Centre for Research in Music Education and Social Justice, University of Southampton and online, 24th November 2023

In November 2022, the Equality, Diversity and Music Studies Network published its report Slow Train Coming: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in UK Music Higher Education. This report drew on data on students and staff in UK music higher education between 2016–20 to reveal who is represented – and who is not represented – in music higher education. It also described the EDI work that departments are carrying out to address these issues.

This one-day event –- the first conference to be hosted by the new Centre for Music Education and Social Justice at the University of Southampton –- aims to set a research agenda to explore, explain, and contextualise these findings. 


Click here to register for attending either in person at the University of Southampton campus, or online (via Teams). 

Registration deadlines: 17 November for in person attendance; 23 November for online attendance. 


Exact room numbers on Southampton’s Highfield Campus will be circulated to participants registered to attend in person in advance of the conference. 

10am Coffee 

10.30am Introductions and welcome

Tom Irvine: welcome from the music department 

Erin Johnson-Williams Introduction and welcome 

Amy Blier-Carruthers Welcome from EDIMS

10.40am Anna Bull (University of York) Introducing Slow Train Coming and outlining research pathways forward

11.15am Roberta Comunian (King’s College London): new research into inequalities in creative arts higher education

11.40 Respondent: Professor Anamik Saha (Leeds University) 

11.50 Discussion and questions

12.15pm Lunch (provided)

1.15 Panel 1 – Intersectional gender inequalities in UK music higher education (Chair: Anna Bull?)

Description: Slow Train Coming outlined the under-representation of women among undergraduate and PhD students and academic staff, despite relatively high numbers of women doing postgraduate (non-doctorate) music degrees. This panel aims to illuminate the ways in which these gender inequalities manifest in different areas of UK music higher education. Key questions:

  • How do the wider patterns of gender inequality in Slow Train Coming relate to local patterns of gender inequalities within specific institutions or areas of music higher education?
  • How do these inequalities affect different intersectional groups, including those with marginalised gender identities?
  • How do these inequalities affect the pathways of women, non-binary and trans people through music higher education and into the industry?


  • Elizabeth MacGregor 
  • Enya Doyle 
  • Vick Bain 

2.30pm Short break 

2.45pm Panel 2 – Legacies of inequality / pathways to inclusion (Chair: Erin Johnson-Williams)

This panel explores some of the historical legacies and experiences of exclusion that have shaped contemporary patterns of inequality in UK Music. Drawing on the EDIMS Slow Train Coming report, the panellists will explore patterns of social inequality that pervade the UK music industry and UK higher education, and pathways to inclusion based on their research and / or practice.

Questions for the discussion include:

·  How do social inequalities shape UK music higher education?

·  How did the EDIMS Slow Train Coming 2022 report reflect some of the inequalities explored in your research / practice?

·  How are these inequalities formed through historical legacies?

·  What pathways to inclusion could make a difference in the future?

·  Is a focus on ‘the music itself’ a barrier to change?


  • Sarah Scarsbrook & Danielle Child 
  • Howard Monk
  • Amy Williamson
  • Hyunah Cho

4pm Next steps for research into inequalities in music higher education from authors of the report and from EDIMS founder(s) (Chair: Chiying Lam)


  • Diljeet Bhachu
  • Helen Minors
  • Amy Blier-Carruthers
  • Anna Bull

4.30pm Close / Refreshments

To read a short overview of the report, see the WonkHE coverage here.

To read the full report or watch a presentation based on the findings, please see here

We aim to ensure everyone has equal access to public events. If you need alternative formats or other reasonable adjustments, please email or with your request so that arrangements, where possible, can be made.

Speakers and chairs:

Vick Bain 
has worked in the music industry for twenty-five years. She is the author of an influential industry report Counting the Music Industry, and founder of The F-List directory of UK female musicians, and a director of the board of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. She is currently undertaking PhD research into women’s careers in the UK music industry at Queen Mary, University of London.

Diljeet Kaur Bhachu is a co-author of the Slow Train Coming? Report and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Musicians’ Union. 

Amy Blier-Carruthers specializes in musicians’ experiences of performance on stage and in the recording studio, combining ethnography and performance analysis to examine music-making, and collaborating with performers and recordists to gain new insights into performing for recording. She is Doctoral Programme Leader at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Lecturer in Music Performance (Education) at King’s College London, and Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Anna Bull is Senior Lecturer in Education and Social Justice at the University of York. Her research interests include inequalities in classical music as well as sexual harassment in higher education and the creative industries.

Danielle Child is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Manchester School of Art; her research focuses on labour and social class in contemporary art.

Robert Comunian is Professor of Creative Economies in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. Her research interests include higher education and the creative economy  including creative graduates and creative careers.

Enya Doyle is an inclusion and anti-harassment consultant working in the arts and education sectors. Her doctorate was on gender diversity in cathedral music, and she is currently writing a book on sexual violence in schools.

Thomas Irvine is Professor and Head of Music at the University of Southampton. His research interests include global music history, music in the Anthropocene and musical Science and Technology Studies.

Erin Johnson-Williams is Lecturer in Music Education and Social Justice at the University of Southampton. Her research interests include the imperial history of music education, decolonisation, mission history, and gender and maternity. 

Elizabeth MacGregor is the Joanna Randall-MacIver Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford. Her current research explores how teachers and pupils are affected by classroom music-making, through the lens of ‘musical vulnerability’.

Helen Minors is Professor and Head of the School of Arts at York St John University. She was one of the founders of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music Studies network (EDIMS) alongside Laudan Nooshin.

Howard Monk is Senior Teaching Fellow at University of Southampton, and is an educator, musician, promoter and expert on the live music industry with a keen interest in supporting those for whom a career in the creative industries seems out of reach (for reasons we will discuss), make their first steps into the music industry. 

Sarah Scarsbrook is an artist, researcher, and lecturer whose work centralises marginalised artists’ voices, perspectives, and experiences of educational pathways into the creative industries.

Anamik Saha is Professor of Race and Media at Leeds University. His research has a particular focus on issues of ‘diversity’ in the creative and cultural industries.

Amy Williamson is a Teaching Fellow in Music. She teaches across several undergraduate and postgraduate modules and is also Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for the Music Department. Her research interests include medieval English polyphony, music and EDI, and gender and sexuality in popular music.