Simon Strange

About me

Simon Strange is a PhD research student at Bath Spa University, as well as working in the University's Writing and Learning Centre.

His area of research is based on the pedagogical philosophies of twentieth-century art schools and how these might link to the development of popular musicians such as Brian Eno, David Byrne, Malcolm McLaren, Green Gartside, and others. He is interested in looking at how higher popular music education can utilise some of these ideals and techniques in its teaching and learning.

The best thing about being a postgraduate researcher at Bath Spa are the multi-disciplinary courses focused on creative development.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD research student, Institute for Education, Bath Spa University
  • Diploma, Audio Engineering, School of Audio Engineering
  • BA (Hons) Social Science, Bristol Polytechnic

Qualifications, skills and experience

Simon was previously head of music at City of Bath College and Education Manager at BIMM Bristol. 

Other external roles

Professional trombone player and producer. 

I recommend Bath Spa because it is a beautiful place with great courses.

Thesis title

The philosophies, values and practices of twentieth-century-art schools: How have they influenced the development of popular musicians within Germany, the US, and the UK?

Research supervisors

Mary Stakelum, and Jim Dickinson

Research overview

This work looks at the history of Art School (AS) education to see what elements of pedagogy that existed within these schools might have assisted the creative development of a vibrant popular music industry. My research investigates the changes that occurred within art education from Staatliches Bauhaus to Central St Martins and the influence this had on creative arts education. 

I will examines the role that AS pedagogical techniques and ethos had on the development of a new wave of art and how this corresponded to the explosion of popular musicians who appeared from its different centres. In essence, why did so many of the stars of popular music come through, and creatively sparkle, in the AS system and what lessons can HPME learn?

I will also investigate how Art School ethos and pedagogies influenced this interconnection both within physical schools and wider artistic communities, looking at links between developments within twentieth century art and this explosion of creative pop music. Historical studies of popular music have generally looked at its development through the blues, jazz and rock and roll, but there is a large role played by experimental artists and musicians, that has been under investigated. 

Research interests

Music education, creative musical development, art schools. 

Research outputs

Book chapter

Strange, S (2017). "What lessons can Higher Popular Music Education learn from Art School pedagogy?" In: Merrill, J, ed. Popular Music Studies Today, pp. 271-280. 

Conference or workshop item

Strange, S. Blank Canvas Theory. IASPM, Kassel, 2017. 


Strange, S. Intra (album), 2017. 


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