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Durham University



Dr Erin Johnson-Williams

Assistant Professor in the Department of Music
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43160
Room number: Room 110, 48-49 North Bailey

(email at


Erin Johnson-Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at Durham University. Her research interests include nineteenth-century British music and visual culture, Empire and education, and the relationship of musical institutions to colonial and imperial culture. 

Erin received her PhD from Yale University in 2015, which examined the role of Empire and authority in constructions of musical education within late nineteenth-century Britain. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the Walter L. Arnstein Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies by the Midwest Victorian Studies Association. Previously, she received postgraduate and undergraduate degrees from Cambridge and Otago Universities respectively. Prior to working at Durham, Erin was a lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, and was also a Visiting Research Associate to the interdisciplinary ERC-funded project ‘Music in London 1800-1851’ at King’s College London, for which she organised an interdisciplinary conference entitled ‘Sonic Spaces: Music and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century London’. In 2016, Erin became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Ongoing research projects include a forthcoming monograph that examines how constructions of imperial authority have influenced the writing of music history. Erin also has articles under review on the history of missionary music as a means of control in nineteenth-century South Africa. Erin is pleased to announce that in May 2020 she will be taking up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Durham, for a project entitled 'Audible Incarceration: Singing Communal Religion in Colonial Concentration Camps'.


Chapter in book

  • Johnson-Williams, Erin (2019). Musical Discipline and Liberal Reform. In Music and Victorian Liberalism: Composing the Liberal Subject. Collins, Sarah. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Book review

Journal Article