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Research Associate, Teesside University

Sam Murray is PhD Student at Cardiff University currently studying the independent music scene in Portland, Oregon with a focus on how the city perceives music as a resource be it economic, political, educational or social. He is working under the supervision of Dr Sarah Hill at the university’s school of music. Sam has previously studied a BA in Popular and World Music at the University of Leeds and gained a distinction for an MA in Popular Music Studies at the University of Liverpool under the supervision of Professor Sara Cohen.

As part of his research Sam has created a research blog which features videos text and image from his fieldwork. In September 2013 he combined his research with Portland-based non-for-profit organisation Know Your City to create the Sing-a-Song of Portland Walking Tour, a tour which combined social and musical histories, ethnographic research and reflections on the current state of the music scene with a sing-a-long element where tour groups would sing song that have been crucial to Portland’s musical identity.

Sam has also conducted an MA thesis into Songwriter and Performer Identity in the Eurovision Song Contest under the supervision of Prof Cohen at Liverpool University. This involved him attending the 2011 contest in Düsseldorf as well as interviewing former contestants from 2003 to 2012 about their experiences form a variety of nations across Europe, using a variety of mediums including Skype, Email and in person interviews.

He was recently selected by Creative Exchange Network Wales, BBC Wales and S4C executives to be part of several HE Connected Studio industry workshops with the challenge of innovating new ways to present existing classical music metadata to a new audience with a potential for these innovations to be commissioned.


  • –present
    PhD Student of the Ethnography of Popular Music, Cardiff University
  • 2017–present
    Research associate, Teesside University


  • 2012 
    University of Liverpool, MA Popular Music Studies
  • 2011 
    University of Leeds, BA Popular & World Musics


  • 2017
    Creative Cardiff: Utilising cultural mapping for community engagement, City, Culture & Society

Professional Memberships

  • Musician's Union
  • Performing Rights Society
  • International Association for the Study of Popular Music