Academics Rocking On in New Book

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From Courtney Love to Petula Clark, Madonna to Grace Jones, two experts at the University of Gloucestershire are launching the first academic book to tackle the subject of ageing and popular music. Dr Ros Jennings and Dr Abigail Gardner’s Rock On: Women, Ageing and Popular Music is officially launched today (October 4) with Ashgate Press (Folk and Popular Music series).

Worried that their music taste wasn’t keeping pace with their age, they decided that they were also fed up with reading negative news reports about older female pop stars and their appearance. As members of the Women Ageing and Media (WAM) research centre at the University, they asked academics from across the world to put forward papers and edited the book as well as contributing individual chapters.

Dr Gardner said: “Although one of us now admits to listening to Radio 2 – we both continue to try and engage with a wide range of new music.” Dr Jennings added: “We both still go to festivals but now we take chairs.”

The Centre for Women, Ageing and Media (WAM) was established in 2007 and is a research group focusing on older women and popular media forms such as digital technologies, film, popular music and television.

Dr Jennings, Head of Postgraduate Research at the University of Gloucestershire and Reader in Cultural Studies, is the Director of WAM. She has edited the new book along with Abigail Gardner and written the chapter “It’s all just a little bit of history repeating: pop stars, performance and ageing-exploring the performance strategies of Shirley Bassey and Petula Clark.” Dr Gardner is Subject Group Leader for Media courses at the University and is currently involved in research on singer songwriter PJ Harvey. Her chapter is entitled “Framing Grace: Show and Awe and the Age(less) Black Body.”

The University of Gloucestershire gained official university status in 2001 but has existed as an educational establishment for nearly 200 years. Our heritage lies in the Mechanics Institutes of the 1830s, with our Francis Close Hall campus founded in 1847 as the Cheltenham Training College.

Today, we have three thriving campuses, Francis Close Hall and The Park in Cheltenham, and Oxstalls in Gloucester, which are occupied by approximately 10,000 students. In 2010, the University invested £5 million in teaching facilities including a new, state-of-the-art media and art and design studios.

The University of Gloucestershire delivers approximately 100 undergraduate course choices including accounting, law, business and management, fine art, TV production, humanities, leisure and tourism, social work and education plus and a diverse range of postgraduate and research degrees, and professional courses.

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Source: University of Gloucestershire

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