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Principal Investigator, Black Music Research Unit, University of Westminster

Mykaell S. Riley began his career in the late seventies as a performer with pioneering Reggae outfit 'Steel Pulse' who went on to achieve a Grammy. In the nineties he founded the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, who represent the most visibly black/multicultural collection of classically trained musicians in the UK.

He has been a professional writer/producer and performer for over 25 years. Over this period he has achieved Silver, Gold and Platinum awards and contributed to four number 1 singles and seven number 1 albums via his production and writing work.He works as a music industry consultant and a content developer for music related educational programmes. He is a subject specialist (music/production) for the Open University, University of West London validation panels. and is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

His current research involves developing the subject area of British black music, and creating a national archive of related content.

He is the director of the Black Music Research Unit and his key objectives are to promote workshops, seminars, guest lectures and collaborative research projects, as well as to encourage networking of media scholars, practitioners, policy-makers and students of Caribbean music. His first AHRC project, entitled 'Bass Culture', aims to highlight Black British popular music heritage.

Additional ongoing projects include the development of a large scale exhibition and film festival on the impact and legacy of Black British Music. Past research includes: The Value of Jazz in Britain Report - the first national mapping of UK jazz - The creation of BBMX an interactive educational DVD exploring the history of black music in the UK - Dub Sweat & Tears, a major photographic exhibition, reflecting 60yrs of Black British music.


  • –present
    Principal Investigator, Black Music Research Unit, University of Westminster