Liverpool Cathedral music staff wins prestigious LJMU Vice Chancellor’s PhD Studentship 2023/24


Liverpool Cathedral is celebrating the fact that one of our staff has won a prestigious PhD studentship from Liverpool John Moores University. The studentship will enable Finlay Gordon, Assistant Choral Outreach lead to explore our School’s Singing Programme in more depth. It reflects our cathedral’s ongoing commitment to underpinning our work with strong academic research.

The prestigious Vice Chancellor PhD Studentship 2023/24 by Liverpool John Moores University will enable Finlay to delve deeper into his passion for music and music education, with a project called “Loud and Proud, Strong and Wrong: The Role of Primary School Singing in Bridging a Gap between Music Education and Musical Excellence”.

It aims to understand the causal link between primary school outreach singing and getting children with a passion for music out of the classroom and into centres of musical excellence. It will consider how bridging a gap between music education and musical excellence can work as a vehicle for social mobility, broadening opportunities for children and their families alike.

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones commented “Finlay's doctoral project, has come at the right time to build on and to help consolidate Liverpool Cathedral's intention to become a research-led community, building strong alliances with the research capacity of the University sector. As a research-led community, we already have a growing number of peer-reviewed research papers profiling the impact of the Cathedral, I am now delighted to welcome Finlay as an active researcher into the Cathedral's Postgraduate Learning Community, and I look forward to hearing his contributions as his research progresses. Finlay’s doctoral project also enhances our commitment to working with Liverpool John Moores University and building upon our existing relationship.

In his award notification letter from LJMU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Mark Power states, “This Studentship is a reward for all your achievements over the last few years and your plans and motivation to continue to PhD study. I hope that you will take pride in your success in achieving this award, which is no doubt due to your expertise, hard work and determination, as well as the support from your supervisory team. In your application, you demonstrated an excellent academic record and an impressive project proposal in collaboration with your chosen supervisory team.”

Prof. Simone Krüger Bridge, Professor of Cultural Musicology at LJMU and Finlay’s Lead Supervisor, commented, “Congratulations on being awarded the Vice Chancellor PhD Studentship—it’s a phenomenal achievement and a testament to your hard work, dedication and undeniable talent. Embarking on a PhD journey is no small feat, and securing a VC Studentship is a remarkable recognition of your potential and the significant contributions you’re poised to make in your field.

“This is not just a win for you; it’s a win for the entire academic community at LJMU, who will benefit from your future research endeavors.”

In receiving the award, Finlay Gordon said, “It’s an immense privilege to commence a PhD focusing on the music outreach work taking place in and around Liverpool Cathedral every day. Over the last three years working here, I’ve been moved by the people I’ve met and stories I’ve heard, and I’m very excited to work on a project that could bring greater recognition to our many outreach programmes. I’m extremely grateful to friends and colleagues at the Cathedral who have supported and encouraged me to undertake this work.”

The PhD study, which starts in February 2024 and takes three years to complete, has the potential to support generations of children alongside teachers, school leaders and policymakers, who have an interest in renewing support for primary school singing across the country by clearly laying out the benefits and challenges of such programmes.

We will publish the conclusions of the report when they are published


For more information about the Schools Singing Programme then click here

You may also be interested in Prof Krüger-Bridge’s research into Liverpool Cathedral music.