Dr Joseph Browning

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow; Non-Stipendiary Junior Research Fellow, St Hilda’s College

BMus (University of York), MMus, PhD (SOAS, University of London)


Contemporary classical music and sound art; the shakuhachi; Japanese music; music and environment; musical organicism and vitalism; materiality and organology; cosmopolitanism, place-making and transnational scenes; creativity and collaboration; ethnography.


Joe Browning is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Music. His current project is an ethnographic study of the British contemporary music scene, exploring how ideas about musical organicism and vitalism – which imagine music as patterned or animated like the natural world – relate to debates around environmentalism, biopolitics and the role of contemporary music in today’s society. Prior to his British Academy Fellowship, Joe was a part-time Postdoctoral Fellow of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, based at the University of Melbourne, where he conducted research into creative processes in Western art music and sound art. He received his PhD from SOAS, University of London, where he undertook an ethnographic study of the transnational shakuhachi scene. He has published articles on shakuhachi music in Ethnomusicology Forum and the Journal of Musicology and has publications in preparation or forthcoming on topics such as rehearsal practices in Western art music, site-specificity in the mixing of sound art, and new Australian music for the shakuhachi. Joe is active as a performer of traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi and has played with several Javanese gamelan groups in Australia, the UK and Indonesia.