Dr Victoria Williamson is an independent authority, scholar and consultant on the psychology of music; how music is processed by the brain and the ways in which music impacts on our minds and behaviours. She is author of ‘You Are The Music’ (Icon Books). To date, she has published 30 peer reviewed research articles, 3 e-books, 4 book chapters, as well as numerous public facing articles, presentations to worldwide universities, festivals, medical professionals, public groups, radio and TV programmes, and schools.
BACKSTORY: I completed my psychology degree at the University of York (UK) where I studied the effect of music in computer games. I gained a Psychology of Music MA at the University of Sheffield where I investigated music and driving behaviour, and music memory.
In 2004 I was awarded a University of York PhD Studentship to study musical memory and the impacts of expertise, with supervision from Profs. Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch. After my PhD I won an ESRC Fellowship at Goldsmiths, University of London where I studied memory function in congenital amusia (tone deafness).
I spent 2011 – 2013 working as a lecturer, researcher and course director on the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths, including as a Leverhulme Associate on an earworm project (tunes that get stuck in the head).
From 2013-2014 I was Visiting Professor of Performance Science at the Hochschule Luzern (Switzerland). Luzern is beautiful and it was a pleasure to work among the fine researchers at the Hochschule Luzern – Musik. Through to 2021 we worked on a Swiss National Science Foundation grant, looking at the role of critical review in the modern classical music market.
In September 2014 I began a Visiting Fellowship for the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. The SAS is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. From 2014 to 2017, I was the Vice Chancellor’s Fellow for Music at the University of Sheffield (UK). As part of my Fellowship I worked on a program of research about music in the medical humanities. In 2017 I was promoted to a full-time Lectureship in Music Psychology.
In 2015 I launched a research unit for Music and Wellbeing at an event lead by Professor Lord Robert Winston and Nordoff Robbins. In that year I was also based at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, with Professor Betsy Marvin completing a study of music memory in absolute pitch. While in the US I conducted a speaking tour, visiting Bucknell, Buffalo, Tufts, Northwestern and Cornell.
I took maternity leave from May 2017 – July 2018 and March 2019 – April 2020, and thoroughly enjoyed the early years of my childrens’ lives. This marked a turning point in my career/ life goals. From September 2020, I left Sheffield to work as an independent academic, conducting research, and teaching and writing about music psychology and music wellness.