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Dr Sarah Hill

Dr Sarah Hill

Senior Lecturer

School of Music

+44 (0)29 2087 0603
1.14, 37 Corbett Road
Welsh speaking
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I specialise in popular music studies, and have published work on Welsh-language popular music, female vocality, political pop, progressive rock, and the 1960s counterculture. I contribute regularly to radio and television programmes, in Welsh and in English, on aspects of Welsh and American pop history, American culture, and current events.

I am Co-ordinating Editor of the journal Popular Music, a member of the editorial boards of the journals Twentieth-Century Music, The Journal of Celtic Studies, and Malaysian Music Journal, and for the book series Alternate Takes (Bloomsbury Academic).

In 2016 I was elected chair of the UK/Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM).



  • 2002: PhD (Music) Cardiff University
  • 1998: MA (Music, Culture and Politics) Cardiff University
  • 1991: MA (Musicology) University of Chicago
  • 1989: BA (Music) University of California, Santa Cruz

Academic positions

  • 2007-present: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff Universtiy
  • 2002-2007: Lecturer in Music, University of Southampton

Speaking engagements

  • 'Gender and Taste in 1970s Rock Criticism,' University College Cork, November 2018
  • ‘A Historiography of Pop Historiography’, part of panel session on historiographies of popular musics, RMA, Liverpool, September 2017
  • ‘If you can remember the 60s….’, The Summer of Love conference, Northwestern University, San Francisco, July 2017
  • ‘Sŵn: History and Structure’, part of panel session, ‘One Weekend in October: The Sŵn Festival, Cardiff’, delivered by members of the Cardiff University Festivals Research Group, CHIME Conference, Siena, May 2017
  • ‘”An Enticing Experience”: Women Listening to Prog,’ Second International Conference of the Progect Network for the Study of Progressive Rock, Edinburgh, May 2016
  • ‘Teaching Popular Music and Protest from the 1960s’, Revolution in the Air, Université de Rouen, March 2017‘A Night at the Avalon,’ Glasgow University, February 2016
  • ‘Psychedelia and Its High Other in 1960s San Francisco,’ Newcastle University, October 2015
  • ‘Connecting the Dots: Pop Historiography Since One Chord Wonders,’ 30 Years of One Chord Wonders, Sellis Benney Theatre, Brighton, October 2015
  • ‘Psychedelic Aesthetic and Progressive Impulse: A Tale of Two Cities,’ ACADPROG, Dijon, December 2014
  • ‘Psychedelia and Its High Other in 1960s San Francisco,’ Oxford University, January 2014
  • Desert Island Discs, Beti a’i Phobol, and Britishness,’ Desert Island Discs and the Discographic Self, The British Academy, November 2013
  • ‘Choreographing In C,’ Left Coast Minimalism: Fourth International Conference on Minimalist Music, Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, California State University, Long Beach, October 2013
  • ‘The Heritage of Failure: Marginal Welsh Pop in the Capital City,’ Bridge Over Troubled Water, 17thBiennial IASPM Conference, Universidad de Oviedo, June 2013
  • 'Mapio Canu Pop Cymraeg / Mapping Welsh Pop', 11th Conference of the Centre for Advanced Welsh Musical Studies, Y Drwm, Aberystwyth, February 2012

Committees and reviewing

  • Co-ordinating Editor, Popular Music
  • Member, Peer Review College, AHRC
  • Chair, IASPM-UK/Ireland
  • Member, Advisory Board, Institute of Musical Research, London





My undergraduate modules include A History of Popular Music (year 1) and Issues in Pop (year 2). I supervise 3rd-year dissertations on popular music and Welsh topics.

I am Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, and my MA teaching includes the core modules, Introducing Music Studies and Studying Popular Music, and the optional module Music and Politics. I have supervised MA dissertations every year since 2007.

I have supervised PhD topics including popular music in Thatcherite Britain, the music scene in Portland, Oregon, and music and new rituals.

My research focuses largely on the historiography of 20th-century popular music. I have published on Welsh-language popular music, the cultural history of psychedelic music in San Francisco, progressive rock, female vocality, and popular music and cultural identity.

Along with Professor Allan Moore, I am co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Progressive Rock (forthcoming, 2020). Other current projects include a study of female rock critics and second-wave feminism in the 1970s, and a second edited volume of studies on Peter Gabriel.


I have supervised PhD projects in topics including popular music in Thatcherite Britain, the music scene in Portland, Oregon, and popular music and ritual. Current PhD projects I am supervising include the role of the Students' Union in 1970s rock music, and internet music.

I would welcome the opportunity to work with PhD students on topics including

  • politics and popular music
  • 'scenes'
  • minority-language cultures
  • progressive rock
  • counterculture
  • minimalism

Past projects

  • Eulalia Febrer Coll, Evolved Traditions: The Role of Music in the Search for Spirituality (submitted 2018)
  • Samuel Murray, An Ethnography of the Music Scene in Portland, Oregon (submitted 2017)
  • Joe O'Connell, 'Better Decide Which Side You're On': Authenticity, Politics and Post-punk in Thatcherite Britain (awarded 2014)