Louise Marshall

PhD Student

2014 - current

Louise Marshall comes to PhD research after a long career as a music and arts critic specialising in contemporary and experimental music and performance. Writing under the name of Louise Gray, she has published extensively in publications that include The Wire, Musicworks, New Internationalist, the Guardian, the Museums Journal and she is a former music correspondent of The Times and the Independent on Sunday. Her book on discourses within world music, The No-Nonsense Guide to World Music, was published in 2009 by New Internationalist. She also contributed a chapter on the use of music in the films of Nina Danino to Visionary Landscapes (Black Dog Publishing, 2004), and a section on Pauline Oliveros to the museum catalogue of the Whitney Biennial 2014.

After a first degree in English and politics at Keele University, followed by the Common Professional Examination in Law, Louise later took an MA in psychoanalysis at Middlesex University, where her dissertation focused on sublimation and reparation in the creative process.

She is a recipient of an AHRC TECHNE award.

Ellen Fullman and Louise Marshall, Click Festival, Denmark 2015 © Louise Marshall 2015


Deep Listening: the Strategic Practice of Contemporary Female Experimental Composers post-1945

After the end of the Second World War, two parallel historical currents – opportunities for women’s work and the creation of the technologies used for experimental music – developed. But what opportunities did these twin currents create? Using oral historical practice as both method and methodology, I will focus on the work of selected women composers within the dominant hierarchies of the later twentieth century from both a historical and a critical context and will interrogate the innovation and collaborative techniques that they had to utilize in order to negotiate their relationships with those structures. 

The term ‘Deep Listening’ originates in the practice of composer Pauline Oliveros. I will make a metaphorical extension of the term to create a ‘listening’ to issues that include gender, feminism, sexuality and economic considerations, as well as indicating an interest in psychoanalytic modes of listening.

The composers I will interview have been chosen for their range of music and innovative ways of working. Oliveros (b. 1932) will be joined by Eliane Radigue (b. 1932), Annea Lockwood (b. 1939), Laurie Anderson (b. 1947), Joan La Barbara (b. 1947), Laurie Spiegel (b. 1945) and Ellen Fullman (b. 1957). The interviews will be lodged in the archives of the London College of Communication.

Using these recorded interviews, I will develop a theoretical and critical framework influenced by psychoanalysis, feminism and gender theory, the methodologies of oral history and Bourdieu’s conception of habitus (1977) to analyze my interview material. My objective is to develop an initial theory of deep listening that speculates the existence of a feminist listening practice that is akin to the theory of the gaze within the visual arts (Mulvey, 1989) and that will provide a superstructure for future researchers.