Popular Music Research Unit (PMRU)

Group Leaders: Dr Jan Butler

Contact: jan.butler@brookes.ac.uk

Popular Music Research Unit (PMRU)

Oxford Brookes’ Popular Music Research Unit (PMRU) was established in 2009 by Drs Dai Griffiths, Jan Butler and Lisa Busby as a focus of popular music research in the department, and has particular expertise in pop music analysis, production analysis, popular music history, popular music on screen, music publishing and music journalism.  Our research has been disseminated at international and national conferences, through publication (both as authors and editors) and regionally, through support for events and media.  Our work has also been integral to the pop music modules on the BA in Music, MA in Music and now the MA in Creative Industries at Brookes.

PMRU has held regular events such as conferences, symposia and student study days since its inception, exploring different aspects of popular music according to the interests of current members of the unit, and has also collaborated with other researchers and journalists on various topics.  

Since 2020, we have expanded beyond the music department to bring together researchers from across Oxford Brookes with an interest in popular music from fields as disparate as philosophy, Japanese and psychology in search of fruitful interdisciplinary connections.  If you are a researcher with an interest in popular music at Brookes, we would love to hear from you.      

We have also supervised several PhD students to completion, and our PhD candidates are encouraged to get involved with PMRU activities. We welcome applications from postgraduate students, particularly in the fields of popular musicology, record production analysis, popular music analysis, popular music on screen and music journalism.  

Related courses

Research Impact

The Music department performed very well in the REF 2014 exercise, with 98% of our research being internationally recognised and 57% being rated world leading or internationally excellent.

Members of PMRU are often also members of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) and attend both national and international conferences.

We welcome applications from postgraduate students, particularly in the fields of popular musicology, record production analysis, popular music analysis and music journalism. 


Dr Jan Butler
Senior Lecturer in Popular Music
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