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portrait of Dr Joseph Browning

Dr Joseph Browning

Lecturer in Music

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Music

Contact Information


Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Dr Joseph Browning is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Music and Lecturer in Music from February 2021. His work explores the ecological dimensions of musical practice, from "nature" and "environment" as themes in contemporary compositions through to more-than-human perspectives on instrument-making and site-specificity. Other interests include cultures of creativity and reception within late capitalism, and processes of cultural encounter in cosmopolitan musical scenes. His research examines these issues in a range of genres and settings, including music for the Japanese shakuhachi, Western art music, contemporary classical music, and sound art.

Joe's current British Academy project is an ethnographic study of the UK 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.

After an undergraduate degree at the University of York, Joe studied for a Masters in Music and then a PhD in Ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London. His PhD thesis was an ethnographic study exploring themes of nature, place and materiality in the transnational shakuhachi scene. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (University of Melbourne) and was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford and St Hilda's College, Oxford.

Joe performs a range of traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi and has collaborated with composers, choreographers and dancers on new pieces for the instrument. He studied Javanese gamelan as a Darmasiswa scholar at ISI Surakarta (2009-2010) and has played with gamelan groups in Australia, the UK and Indonesia.


  1. PhD Ethnomusicology, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom, 2015
  2. MMus Ethnomusicology (Distinction), SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom, 2008
  3. BMus (Distinction), University of York, United Kingdom, 2006


  1. British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford, 2018 – 2020
  2. Postdoctoral Research Fellow (part-time), Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (University of Melbourne), 2015 – 2017
  3. Teaching Fellow/Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS, University of London, 2011 – 2015


Journal articles (6)

  1. Browning, J. (2020). Meeting the garden halfway: Ethnographic encounters with a sound installation microculture. Ethnomusicology, 64(3), pp. 498–526. doi:10.5406/ethnomusicology.64.3.0498.
  2. Browning, J. (2020). Involving experiences: audiencing and co-reception in Pleasure Garden. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 145(1), pp. 191–227. doi:10.1017/rma.2020.10.
  3. BROWNING, J. (2020). Remaking Classical Music: Cultures of Creativity in Pleasure Garden. Twentieth-Century Music, 17(1), pp. 23–61. doi:10.1017/s1478572219000355.
  4. Browning, J. and Davidson, J.W. (2019). Between Realism and Re-enactment: Navigating Dramatic and Musical 'Problems' in Voyage to the Moon. Parergon, 36(2), pp. 17–38. doi:10.1353/pgn.2019.0053.
  5. Browning, J. (2017). Mimesis stories: composing new nature music for the shakuhachi. Ethnomusicology Forum, 26(2), pp. 171–192. doi:10.1080/17411912.2017.1350113.
  6. Browning, J. (2016). Assembled landscapes: The sites and sounds of some recent shakuhachi recordings. Journal of Musicology, 33(1), pp. 70–91. doi:10.1525/JM.2016.33.1.70.