Meet The Team – Ethno Research
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International Centre for Community Music

York St John University, York, UK

The International Centre for Community Music aims to provide a global forum through which community music research, teaching, scholarship, professional practice and pedagogy can be nurtured and developed.

  • Supporting the development of community music through research
  • Global forum for community music scholarship, teaching & learning
  • Creating diverse opportunities for community music partnerships

Professor Lee Higgins

ICCM, York St John University, UK

Professor Lee Higgins is the Director of the International Centre for Community Music based at York St John University, UK. As a community musician, he has worked across the education sector as well as within health settings, prison and probation service, youth and community, adult education, and arts organizations. As a presenter and guest speaker, Lee has worked on four continents in university, school, and NGO settings and was the President of International Society of Music Education (2016-2018). He is the senior editor for the International Journal of Community Music and was author of Community Music: In Theory and in Practice (2012, Oxford University Press), co-author of Engagement in Community Music (2017, Routledge) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Community Music (2018).

Principle Investigator

Sarah-Jane Gibson

ICCM, York St John University, UK

Sarah-Jane Gibson graduated with her PhD in Ethnomusicology from Queen’s University in 2018. Her thesis focused on how identity is constructed through singing in a community choir, and if this influences broader identity formations, with a focus on Northern Ireland.
Her research focuses on community and identity formation through amateur choral singing. She has an extensive background in music education, having taught a wide range of ages and abilities in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Since completing her PhD, she has been working at Queen’s University, tutoring a variety of anthropology and music courses and conducting the University Chamber choir.

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Millie Raw Mackenzie

ICCM, York St John University, UK

Millie Raw Mackenzie is Project Coordinator for the 3-year Ethno Research project at the International Centre of Community Music, based at York St John University. She has worked as a programme manager, administrator, evaluator and development worker in community arts contexts for the past decade, most recently at youth music development charity NYMAZ, where she coordinated networks of organisations and practitioners using music to affect change in young people and communities. Millie graduated with a BMus (Hons) in Music from Newcastle University in 2010, specialising in electroacoustic composition, after having completed a year abroad studying electroacoustic music at Concordia University in Montreal, QC, Canada.

Project Co-ordinator

Roger Mantie

University of Toronto, Canada

Roger Mantie’s teaching and scholarship, informed by his fourteen years as a school music educator in Manitoba, emphasizes connections between schooling and society, with a focus on lifelong engagement in and with music and the arts. He is on the editorial boards of Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, International Journal of Community Music, Journal of Popular Music Education, and the Canadian Music Educator, and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure (2016) and the Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (2017).


Ana Čorić

University of Zagreb, Croatia

Ana Čorić, born in Rijeka, Croatia, is an assistant in the Music Education Department of the Academy of Music, University of Zagreb, where she graduated in 2012., after finishing her bachelor studies in Music at Juraj Dobrila University of Pula. Now she is a PhD student in Education in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Her special artistic and educational interests and fields of research are artistic citizenship and citizenship education, professional identity, university civic (third) mission, community music, group music activities, interdisciplinary approach in music education and youth studies. As a musician she has much experience as a choir singer and conductor with various vocal groups. She collaborates with the Croatian National Television where she does tv programmes for children, teachers and parents. In November 2015 she researched Ethnofonik, the training program for artistic leaders of Ethno camps. As of 2019 she is a member of the working group “Music and Music Higher Education Institutions’ Role in The Society” in AEC (Association Europenne des Conservatoires, Academies de Musique et Musikschulen) as a part of the project “Strengthening Music in the Society”.

Research Associate

Catherine Birch

ICCM, York St John University, UK

Catherine Birch is a Lecturer in Community Music at York St John University, UK, and is also a regular practitioner for the York St John Prison Partnership Project. As a community musician, Catherine works primarily as a vocal leader, and has worked with all ages across the education sector as well as in community settings. Catherine is currently a PhD researcher through the ICCM, supervised by Professor Lee Higgins. The central research theme explores the use of vocal music as a means of promoting social change in complex community music settings with initial explorations seeking to unpack the processes by which participants can find their voice and the impact this can have on a renewed sense of identity, belonging and self-worth.

Research Associate

Élise Gayraud


Elise Gayraud graduated with a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Durham University, UK. Her thesis, entitled “Towards an ethnography of a culturally eclectic scene: Preserving and transforming Folk music in 21st-century England”, explores recent changes in the folk music scene in England. Through ethnographic fieldwork, it discusses new conceptualisations and redefinition of traditions, global perspectives, and intensified transmission of traditional cultures. She taught at the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, at Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany. Her post-doctoral project focuses on the Ethno-World initiative.

Research Associate

Helena Reis

Research Assistant

Jo Gibson

ICCM, York St John University, UK

PhD Researcher at the International Centre for Community Music, Jo is currently exploring questions related to the facilitator through her research strategy, practice-based-research. With a commitment to deepening understanding between practice and theory, her research focuses on facilitator experience, approaches to facilitation, and identity. As a facilitator Jo has led creative music making workshops in schools, prisons, hospitals and community centres R Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Barbican, LSO, Southbank, Museum of London, Music in Prisons, Aldeburgh Music and several London Music Hubs. Jo enjoys exploring the tuba in new contexts (from folk bands to improvisation groups) and a move to ‘bass’ playing through pedals and laptop. She taught as a music specialist in East London primary schools and currently teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the Creative Learning department. Through her research at ICCM, Jo is looking forward to building upon her practice, deepening her understanding and connecting with others in the field.

Research Associate

Laura Risk

University of Toronto, Canada

Laura Risk recently earned her PhD in Musicology from McGill University. Her research explores the intersection of musical genre, nationalism, recording technologies, and performance practice in fiddling cultures from Quebec to the British Isles. Laura has published articles in Ethnomusicology and MUSICultures, and is a co-author of the two-volume music collection The Glengarry Collection: The Highland Fiddle Music of Aonghas Grant. She also co-produced the CD Douglastown: Music and Song from the Gaspé Coast, which received the 2014 Prix Mnémo for the documentation of traditional music and dance in Quebec. She maintains an active career as a performer and teacher of traditional fiddle music and also served as program manager for the community music organization Encore!Sistema Québec.

Research Associate

Linus Ellström


Linus is a music teacher currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2016 he graduated with a Master of Arts in Upper Secondary Education (Teaching subject: Music) at Malmö Academy of Music. A couple of years earlier (in 2014) he came in to contact with Ethno during mutual friends, and it intrigued him so much that it led him to write his master thesis on it. There were simply too many questions that he wanted to explore within the concept of Ethno. Linus’ own musicianship has been coloured by his fascination with new perspectives, both musically and culturally. His main instrument is guitar but he also plays Tenor Banjo, Mandolin and Anglo Concertina. He believes that every musical genre has its own life and charm, and that has led him to dabble in Folk music, Jazz, Pop, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, Hip Hop, EDM etc.

Research Associate

Lisandra Roosioja

Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Estonia

Lisandra Roosioja is from Estonia. She holds a BMus in Traditional Music and a MSsc in Cultural Management from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT). Her master’s thesis focused on researching Ethnos and the experiences of the participants over the years. She currently works with cultural projects as a freelancer, while her full-time job is as a product specialist in the sector of financial technology. In addition, she is currently studying music pedagogy, with a focus on children at EAMT.

Research Associate
From the Ethno World