Research and Knowledge Exchange

Research projects undertaken as of 2016.

‘Post-digital’ Work in Major Record Labels of the UK Music Industry (2012-2016)

Umbrella PhD research project: focusing on work and worker understanding in this highly desirable but rapidly changing commercial environment, after the digital ‘crisis’. Drawing on (auto-)ethnography and a raft of interviews across the three majors. Funded by KCL’s Graduate School.

KCL researcher profile page.

Funding Collaborative Research Between Higher Education and the Cultural Sector (May-Jul 2016)

Commissioned report for King’s Cultural Institute, scoping emergent mechanisms and trends for funding collaborative research where both academics and industry partners are mutual contributors and beneficiaries. As discourses of cultural research push beyond linear “transfer” and “impact” metaphors, towards “exchange” and “ecosystem”, how might the underlying political economy of funding support, shape and/or (dis)incentivise collaborative knowledge production?

Creativity at Work (Apr-Aug 2016)

Assistance on a project developing an internal research network at KCL, aiming to promote interdisciplinary research on employment and creative practice – particularly within the university. Organisation, administration, communication and reporting.

Joining the Dots (Sep 2013 – Jul 2015)

Knowledge exchange relationship and collaborative role on a seed-funding and developmental support programme, enabling those working in independent live music to pursue ‘game-changing’ ideas for their industry. Four projects have been explored across three key themes: presenting and financing new music; harnessing digital technologies; driving young audiences. The four included a live music discovery app, a social gaming app, an online touring network, and a digital venue subscription platform. Beyond these, outputs revolved around knowledge sharing online and at conferences.

My role was to hone focus; offer guidance and a critical ear to individual projects; and help develop sharing potential from the programme as a whole. More pragmatically, I was involved in candidate selection, online content creation, and as a key contact-point for the KCL student community.

In collaboration with the hub and King’s Cultural Institute. More information on the programme here.

‘It’s always a real pleasure to work with Toby. His background in the industry, coupled with his academic track record, means his input into project thinking is really insightful. He’s brilliantly reflective and that’s contagious; every chat is a bit of a mental workout, and working with Toby always means that my thinking and analysis is more developed and less linear.’

Julia Payne, Director of the hub


Learning the Music Business: Evaluating the ‘Vocational Turn’ in Music Industry Education (Aug 2014 – Mar 2015)

Read the full final report.

Research report investigating the relationship between current music industry course provision and professional practice with a focus on new and emerging fields, against a fast-changing academic and commercial backdrop. Interviews with industry professionals and educators help draw together the scope of these challenges, making recommendations for improved mutual awareness and communication.

UK Music described the report as ‘fascinating and provocative‘, providing a ‘valuable evidence base‘ for cross-sectoral misalignments, making ‘important reading for music industry and higher education leaders‘.

Supported by UK Music; funded by King’s Cultural Institute’s ‘Collaborative Innovation‘ scheme.

Through Toby’s own knowledge and experience of the industry, and research, he really ‘got’ the problem and so he was very tuned in and focused‘.

Cathy Koester, Head of Research, UK Music


Conference Presentations

I have presented research on an international stage, including Lund University, the Royal Geographical Society, EU COST Action: Dynamics of Virtual Work and The Great Escape festival.



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