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Let My Voice Be Heard: Barriers to Gender Diversity and Inclusion in Anglican Cathedral Music

DOYLE, ENYA,HELEN,LAUREN (2020) Let My Voice Be Heard: Barriers to Gender Diversity and Inclusion in Anglican Cathedral Music. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Since girl choristers were first included as permanent members of Salisbury Cathedral Choir in 1991, all-male choirs in Church of England cathedrals have undergone substantial transformation. Thirty-nine of the forty-two such cathedrals now offer musical provision in some form to girls, as well as continuing their commitment to boys. Women have also increasingly been selected for Choral and Organ Scholarships, Lay clerkships, and other leadership positions: to date five cathedrals have appointed a woman Director of Music. And yet, very few (if any) cathedrals can claim to foster a culture that seeks to eradicate the persisting interconnected barriers which create and sustain a double bind based on gender. As such, recognising and attending to these barriers is imperative.

Using qualitative data collected by the author in twenty interviews at ten cathedrals in 2017/2018 together with promotional literature from individual cathedrals, and official Church of England documents, this thesis identifies and scrutinises four systematically related barriers which cumulatively impede gender diversity and inclusion in cathedral music-making today. These are that:

1. Opportunities for women and girls are shaped and restricted by institutional understandings of how to speak about gender, sex, and sexuality as a result of the Anglican via media ('middle ways');
2. Rhetorics of tradition 'other' women by (re-)asserting a gendered hierarchy in various aspects of cathedral music-making;
3. The bodies, spaces, and voices involved in cathedral worship are affected by the unequal approaches to gender built into the material and embodied practices of the Church of England;
4. Music leadership is constructed, assumed, and enacted within a deeply gendered framework thereby creating and reinforcing obstacles to participation for women and girls.

This thesis provides a foundation for practitioners and scholars alike to scrutinise the often subtle and underlying forms of exclusion which underpin cathedral practices, policies, and cultures.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:diversity; inclusion; gender; music-making; cathedrals; choirs; choral music; girl choristers; music leaders; tradition; Church of England; Anglican
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Dec 2020 11:22

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