This week we talk to one of our Senior Lecturers in Music, Dr Vanessa Hawes!
The next in our quest for helping you find out the most about our lecturers here at Canterbury Christ Church University is Chris Price!
What is your teaching specialism?
Vocal Studies, Critical Studies
What made you want to start teaching here at Christ Church?
I originally joined the University to start up the Performing Arts degree programme. It was an exciting career move for me – I’d been teaching in secondary schools up till then – and the opportunity to get a new venture going in an innovative Department was too good to miss.
What kind of research do you do outside of university?
I’m a performing musician as well as an educator – I sing in the Cathedral Choir here in Canterbury – and spend quite a bit of my time finding and transcribing all sorts of music. Recently my work has focused on the Canterbury Catch Club. It was a musical/social club which thrived in the city from 1779 to 1865, and it’s a fascinating slice of the city’s cultural and social history. So far, I’ve produced a book and CD, mounted several performances, including a full-scale re-creation of a typical Catch Club evening – updated for the 21st century! – as part of last year’s Canterbury Festival), and curated an exhibition in the city Library (the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge) which ran for two months from September to November last year. It’s also the subject of my PhD studies, and I’ve been delivering conference papers as far afield as Salzburg, Glasgow and Venice.
How do you feel this work influences your teaching?
Well, the most obvious example is the fact that my students often find themselves singing – much to their surprise – some music which has been completely unknown for about 150 years. So far, it all seems to have gone down very well.
There’s another sense in which my work has an effect on our students, though, and that is the very strong feeling I think it gives that studying at CCCU isn’t just a question of getting a qualification; I think our students get a sense of place and a feeling of belonging to a community – not just academic, but cultural and historical. I’d hope they develop an affection for the place which goes beyond their few student years here.
What would you say to any prospective students coming to Canterbury Christ Church?
Make the most of us! We have a truly remarkable range of curricular, extra-curricular, and enrichment activity running throughout the year: performances by fellow-students and professional practitioners; visiting professional residencies; links with a major Arts festival (the Canterbury Festival and its Fringe); two other professional theatres in the city offering year-round programmes of dance, drama and music in the city, with which we have good relations; and the combined creative energies of you, our students. Get stuck in. Don’t think that a degree course is just a set of lectures interrupting a social life; what you give to your years of study at CCCU will determine what you get from them. What you do here will go a long way towards defining not only the kind of professional practitioner you become, but the kind of human being you are.
It’s that time of the week again! Here is our interview with Robert Stillman who teaches Commercial Music over on our Broadstairs Campus.
This week, we spoke to our Senior Lecturer and Technical Director Andy Hurst about his work here at Canterbury Christ Church University, and his personal research.
The next in our series of Tutor Tuesdays is Stina Sommerlade, one of our lecturers in dance. Find her at @