Researcher, Developer and Technical Coordinator
Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Birmingham School of Media
Faculty of Performance, Media & English
Areas of Expertise:
Popular music studies
Film and television
Simon Barber researches and publishes work on popular music, the music industries, film and television, digital culture and jazz. He plays a key role in developing the research profile of the centre and coordinates our team of technical developers. Prior to joining the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Simon studied music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and was a broadcast journalist for the BBC. He holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool and is a practicing songwriter, composer and producer. His PhD was a case study of the independent New York based jazz label GRP Records, founded in 1982 by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen. The work analysed the role of the music industries in all aspects of jazz production. He is one half of the songwriting team Sodajerker and the producer and co-presenter of the popular iTunes podcast Sodajerker on Songwriting.
Simon’s recent work has included research into the practices of cult film fans in file-sharing communities, the introduction of digital audio in the United States and the culture of jazz collectives in the UK. He developed the Video Cultures project (videocultures.org) with Oliver Carter, which explores academic approaches to VHS and video shop culture. He has also played a key role in the following projects: Cities and Science Communication (eucasc.eu) for Birmingham City Council and its European partners; Doing Media Studies (doingmediastudies.org), a web portal containing supplementary materials for a textbook published by Pearson Education; the Tony Levin archive (tonylevin.org) which aims to contextualise the work of the British jazz drummer, and a live blogging event around the Scarborough Jazz festival (justlikejazz.org). He is currently working with British jazz label Edition Records on a three-month knowledge exchange project funded by the AHRC.
‘The Collective Organisation of Contemporary Jazz Musicians in the UK’ [with Tim Wall], Jazz Research Journal, Vol 5.1/5.2, November 2012, Equinox, ISSN: 17538645.
‘Soundstream: The Introduction of Commercial Digital Recording Technologies in the United States’, Journal on the Art of Record Production, Issue 7, November 2012, ISSN: 1754-9892 (online).
‘Smooth jazz : A case study in the relationships between commercial radio formats, audience research and music production’, The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media, 8/1, 57-70, 2010.
‘Industrial Mediation in Jazz Production: A Case Study of GRP Records’, The University of Liverpool, 2009 (PhD).
‘Edition Records: Re-imagining Jazz Culture in the Digital Age’, Rhythm Changes II: Rethinking Jazz Cultures, MediaCityUK/University of Salford, April 12, 2013.
‘Live Jazz in Birmingham’, Live Music Exchange, Leeds College of Music, May 5, 2012.
‘CineTorrent: The Remediation of Cult Film in Online Filesharing Communities’, Online Mainline, Birmingham City University, September 15, 2011.
‘The Agency of the Amateur Archivist in Online Communities’, Transforming Audiences 3: Online & Mobile Media, Everyday Creativity and DIY Culture, University of Westminster, London, September 1, 2011.
‘CineTorrent: Remediating Cult Images in Online Communities’, Cine-Excess V: The Politics and Aesthetics of Excess, Odeon Covent Garden, London, May 26, 2011.
‘Soundstream: The Introduction of Commercial Digital Recording in the United States’, The Art of Record Production Conference, Leeds Metropolitan University, December 3, 2010.
‘Creating British Jazz Archives: Experimenting With Online Media’ with Professor Tim Wall, MeCCSA, London School of Economics, January 7, 2010.
‘Industrial Mediation in Jazz Production: A Case Study of GRP Records’, Mediating Jazz, Popular Music Research Centre, University of Salford, November 27, 2009.
Jazz and the Media II, Mac, Birmingham, September 30, 2011
Jazz and the Media, Birmingham School of Art, October 15, 2010.
IASPM UK and Ireland (webmaster to the executive committee)
Audio Engineering Society (AES)
Performing Rights Society (PRS)
Screen Cultures research group