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Dr Victoria Armstrong

Programme Director

Victoria originally trained as a classical musician at one of Europe’s leading conservatoires, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She combined a professional performing career as a singer (specialising in contemporary music and opera) with teaching music and the performing arts before gaining an MA in Music Education (1999) and a PhD in the Sociology of Music and Education (2005) at the Institute of Education, University of London, supervised by Professor Lucy Green. During the period 2004-2007 she worked as a Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, EFPS Institute of Education, University of London and the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL. She joined the School of Management and Social Sciences in 2007.

Victoria is a sociologist who teaches on all aspects of the programme, with a particular focus on gender and feminist theory, the sociology of education, creativity and music education, youth culture and feminist science and technology studies. She is an active researcher and her teaching reflects her research specialisms.

Academic Responsibilities:

  • Programme Director for BA Education and Social Science 
  • Programme Director for MA Education, Culture and Society


Undergraduate Teaching:

  • ESS4001 Nature, purposes and politics of education 
  • ESS5002 Social Justice and Inclusive Education 
  • ESS5003 Creativity and the Arts in and across the Curriculum 
  • ESS6002 Youth cultures and new media in educational contexts 
  • ESS6000 Dissertation supervision

Postgraduate Teaching:

  • ECS7000 Research Methods and Educational Enquiry 
  • ECS7005 Gender: theory and practices in context


Victoria's work is primarily concerned with issues of educational inclusion, with particular focus on gender and education. Her monograph, Technology and the Gendering of Music Education (Ashgate), which has drawn widespread critical acclaim, brings together feminist perspectives from the sociology of science and technology studies (STS) and musicology to explore how gendered identities are constructed and performed in relation to digitally-mediated compositional processes. It considers the ways in which gendered discourses of technological use and expertise contribute to young peoples' musical identities. She has continued to research gender and music, and is currently working on a project entitled Women’s Musical Lives which explores the experiences of female, classical musicians working in a freelance capacity. This has resulted in a recent conference paper and a published article in the journal Women: a cultural review.

She is currently working on a funded research project entitled ‘Transitions and Trajectories’, which examines the musical experiences of pupils as they transfer into the first year of secondary education, focussing on motivation and music progression.  The pupils have all participated in a specialist music programme which provides high quality instrumental and musicianship training to children in inner-city primary schools in London. Using focus group interviews, individual case studies, teacher, pupil and parent interviews, the project aims to critically explore the extent to which the children’s involvement in the programme supports and sustain children’s involvement in music-making as they enter secondary education. In addition, it examines the barriers to participation they face as it relates to wider cultural and structural factors.  The project began in July 2014 and is due to be completed by April 2016.

In autumn 2015, Victoria was an invited Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Music, Theatre and Art, Örebro University, Sweden.

PhD supervision:

Victoria is interested in hearing from potential PhD candidates in the following areas:

  • Music Education, inclusion and social Justice
  • Sociology of Music
  • Gender and Education
  • Technology and Education in Secondary and Higher Education

External activity Peer reviewer:

  • Women: a cultural review
  • Gender and Education
  • Music Education Research

Editorial Responsibilities:

External Examining:

  • UCL/IoE University College London 2015-19
  • University of Goldsmiths, 2012-15
  • University of Westminster, 2007-09

Professional memberships:

  • British Sociological Association 
  • Gender and Education Association 
  • National Association for Music Education 

Invited Speaker:

  • November 2017: Keynote at the Loop Festival in Berlin, to be titkes: 'What do we mean by inclusion in Music Education'.
  • May 2015: Composers’ careers, a public research event with Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music.
  • May 2015: Keynote at Athena Swan - Women in Music Technology: FemMuseTech public seminar, London.
  • Keynote, March 2014: ‘Challenging technological determinism in the music education classroom’, Örebro University, Sweden.
  • July 2013: contribution to expert panel at the 'Music, Digitisation, Mediation' conference, July 11-13 2013, Oxford.
  • Keynote, December 2012: 'Gendering the musical idea: issues of value and compositional appropriation', given at the Musical Appropriation: transformations, fusions, ownerships and ethics conference, Grieg Academy of Music, Bergen, Norway.

Publications Books and Book Chapters:

  • Armstrong, V. (due for publication 2016). ‘Gendered perspectives’, In King, A, Ruthmann, A. and Himonides, E (eds), The Routledge Companion to Music, Technology and Education,Routledge.
  • Armstrong, V. (2011). Technology and the Gendering of Music Education, Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4094-1784-2.  Praise and international recognition for this book (PDF file)
  • Armstrong, V. (2010), ‘Hard Bargaining on the Hard Drive: Gender Bias in the Music Technology Classroom’, in D. Raferty and M. Valiulis (eds), Gender balance and gender bias in education: International Perspectives, Routledge, ISBN: 978-0-415-55990-4.

Selected Journal Articles:

  • Armstrong, V. (2013). ‘Women’s Musical Lives: self-managing a freelance career’, Women: a Cultural Review, 24(4), pp 297-313.
  • Armstrong, V. and Morris, N. (2009). 'Boundary setting in breast cancer research: a study of the experience of women volunteer research subjects', Sociology of Health and Illness, 32(1), pp 1-15.
  • Morris, N., Armstrong, V. and Balmer, B. (2009). 'Constructing a safe research environment: technology talk between researchers and volunteer research subjects', Health, Risk and Society, 11(2), pp 99-116.
  • Armstrong, V. (2008). 'Hard Bargaining on the Hard Drive: Gender Bias in the Music Technology Classroom', Gender and Education, 20(4), pp 375-386. Abstract available at Taylor & Francis Online.
  • Armstrong, V., Barnett, J., Cooper, H., Monkman, M., Moran-Ellis, J. and Shepherd, R. (2007). Public Attitudes to Research Governance: a qualitative study in a deliberative context, University of Surrey/Wellcome Trust. 
  • Armstrong, V. and Curran. S. (2006). 'Developing a Collaborative Model of Research using Digital Video', Computers and Education, 46, pp 336-347.
  • Sutherland, R., Barnes., S. and Armstrong, V. (2006). A Digital Approach to Distilling the Complexities of Teaching and Learning.
  • Armstrong, V. (2005). 'Techno, Identité, Corps: Les expériences féminines dans le dance music', Mouvements: Sociétés, Politique, Culture, (42), pp 32-42.
  • Armstrong, V., Barnes, S., Sutherland, R., Curran, S., Mills, S. and Thompson, I. (2005). 'Collaborative Research Methodology for Investigating Teaching and Learning: The use of Interactive Whiteboard Technology', Educational Review, 57/4, pp 457-469.
  • Sutherland, R., Armstrong, V. Barnes, S., Brawn, R., Gall, M., Matthewman, S., Olivero, F., Taylor, A., Triggs, P., Wishart, J. and John, P. (2004). 'Transforming Teaching and Learning: Embedding ICT into every-day classroom practices', Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Special Issue, Vol. 20/6, pp. 413-425.

Funded Research Reports:

  • Armstrong, V., Barnett, J., Cooper, H., Monkman, M., Moran-Ellis, J. and Shepherd, R. (2007). Public Attitudes to Research Governance: a qualitative study in a deliberative context, University of Surrey/Wellcome Trust. 
  • Moss, G., Jewitt, C., Levaaic, R., Armstrong, V., Cardini, A. and Castle, F. (2006) The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy and Pupil Performance Evaluation: An evaluation of the schools whiteboard expansion (SWE) project (London Challenge), Institute of Education, University of London.

Selected Conference Papers:

  • ”Armstrong, V. (2016). ‘I don’t want to sink back down to the bottom because I don’t think I have the energy to get myself up again”: exploring the working lives of contemporary female freelance musicians’, paper to be given at the conference Working in Music: the Musicians’  Union, musical labour and employment, 14-15 January 2016.
  • Armstrong, V. (2015). You’re on show and you can’t fail in this unforgiving profession’: the challenges for women working as freelance musicians’, 12th conference of the European Sociological Association, Prague, 25-28 August 2015.
  • Armstrong, V. (2015). ‘Exploring the notion of “good work” in the lives of female professional musicians’, Women in Music since 1913 Symposium, 21st March 2015, Liverpool.
  • Armstrong, V. (2014).  ‘Agency, autonomy and creative fulfilment in the lives of professional female musicians’, Classical music as contemporary socio-cultural practice: critical perspectives conference, 23rd May 2014, King’s London.
  • Armstrong, V. (2013). ‘”Can’t escape my classical education”: women’s experiences of sustaining a professional career in music’, 3rd Annual conference of the Society for Music Education in Ireland, 1st-3rd November 2013, Dublin.
  • Armstrong, V. (2013). ‘The construction of gendered identities in the music technology classroom’, Education and Learning: Sociological Perspectives conference, 25th September 2013, University of Surrey, Guildford.
  • Armstrong, V. (2012). ‘Gendered identities in the music technology classroom’, Biennial Music Educators National Conference, 29-31 March 2012, St. Louis, USA.
  • Armstrong, V. (2010). ‘A socio-cultural approach to understanding students’ use of podcasting in Higher Education’, Sixth International Conference of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Berlin, German, 15-17 January 2010.
  • Armstrong, V. (2008). 'Gendering Technological Expertise in the Music Technology Classroom', Fourth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society, North Eastern University, Boston, USA, 18-20 January 2008.
  • Armstrong, V. (2007). 'Hard Bargaining on the Hard Drive' paper given at the Gender and Education Conference, Dublin, 28-30 March 2007.
  • Armstrong, V. (2007) 'Gender Ideology and Technological Expertise in the Music Technology Classroom', British Sociological Association Social Connections Conference, UEL, 12-14 April 2007.
  • Armstrong, V and Morris, N . (2007). 'Technological Talk: Understanding the Researcher-Subject Relationship', British Sociological Association Social Connections Conference, UEL, 12-14 April 2007.
  • Armstrong, V. (2006). 'Bodies, Boundaries and Breast Cancer: Women Volunteers in Biomedical Research', paper EASST conference, 23-26 August 2006, Lausanne, Switzerland.