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Dr Laura Hamer

Profile summary

Professional biography

Laura Hamer is a Staff Tutor and Senior Lecturer in Music. She is currently Director of Student Support for the School of Arts and Humanities.

Laura is a Feminist Musicologist specialising in Women in Music. She holds a BA in Music from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD in Musicology from Cardiff University. She completed a PG Cert in Academic Practice (HE teaching qualification) at Liverpool Hope University in 2013, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also a pianist, and holds an LRSM in Advanced Piano Performance.

Laura initially worked for The Open University as an Associate Lecturer between 2010 and 2011. She was also a Lecturer in Music at The Open University in 2011. Between 2012 and 2018 she worked for Liverpool Hope University, including four years as Head of Music. She has also taught Music at Cardiff University, Rose Bruford College, and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music. She served on the Central Committee of the National Association for Music in Higher Education (NAMHE, now MusicHe) between January 2014 and December 2016. She was Lead for the EDIMS (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music Studies) Network Parents and Carers Working Group between 2020 and 2022.

As a Staff Tutor, Laura oversees tuition and supports students and Associate Lecturers on a range of Music modules throughout the UK (currently A342).

Research interests

Laura’s primary research interests lie in women in music, encompassing both classical and popular traditions. Her monograph Female Composers, Conductors, Performers: Musiciennes of Interwar France, 1919-1939, was published by Routledge in 2018 (paperback edition, 2020). She has also published articles and book chapters on a wide range of women musicians, including composers, songwriters, conductors, and all-woman orchestras, and also on Olivier Messiaen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, reception and criticism studies, and digital musicology. She is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music since 1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and co-editor, with Helen Julia Minors, of The Routledge Companion to Women and Musical Leadership: The Nineteenth Century and Beyond (forthcoming, Routledge). Please see the Publications tab for a full list of publications.

Laura has organised a number of conferences and events. In 2013 she organised the Eighth Biennial International Conference on Music since 1900. In 2015 she organised the Women in Music since 1913 Symposium, and the same year she co-chaired Hopkins at Hope (a celebration of the time spent in Liverpool by the poet, musician, and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins) with Dr Guy Cuthbertson (Liverpool Hope University). In 2019, she co-chaired the International Women and/in Musical Leadership Conference with Prof Helen Julia Minors (York St John University). She is currently PI on the AHRC-funded Women's Musical Leadership Online Network: Women’s Musical Leadership Online Project (WMLOP) | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (

Laura has supervised a number of completed PhDs:

  • Dr Carly Rowley, ‘The Interactions of Music and Literature in the Musical Works of Anthony Burgess’ (2016);
  • Dr Jessika Rittstieg, ‘Continuity and Change in Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas, Op. 27, for Solo Violin’ (2018);
  • Dr Zaina Shihabi, ‘The Changing Position of Female Composers and Songwriters in A Level Music Curricula Provided by Examination Boards in England: A Historical Investigation between 1980 and 2016’ (2019).

She is currently supervising projects on Cécile Chaminade and fin-de-siècle salon culture, exploring the roles and positions of women performers in the contemporary classical music industry, promoting diversity in contemporary concert programming, and structure in the twentieth-century English song cycle. 

Teaching interests

Laura has served on a number of module teams, including A224, A232, A234, and A342. She has authored units for A234 Understanding Music,  A113 Revolutions, from which materials were adapted for the OpenLearn Course 'Janis Joplin and the Sexual Revolution', and for the short course AXS006 Dolly Parton. She is currently authoring a unit on 'Music and gender' for A890, MA Music Part 1. As an Associate Lecturer, she tutored AA302 From composition to performance: musicians at work and AA317 Words and music.

At Liverpool Hope University, she led on redesigning undergraduate and postgraduate taught provision, and acted as both BA Music and MA Music Course Leader. She has taught across a wide range of musical areas, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including music history, analysis, aesthetics, opera studies, music theory, performance, popular music studies, study skills, and dissertation supervision (including both Music and Music Education projects). In 2018 she was awarded a Hope Star Award for Innovation in Teaching (student-led teaching award) by Liverpool Hope University’s Students’ Union.

Impact and engagement

Laura regularly participates in outreach events, pre-concert talks, and public workshops devoted to women in music. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Donne Women in Music Foundation, an Ambassador and member of the Steering Committee for the F-List Gender in Music Research Hub, and a trustee for the Ambache Charitable Trust. Between 2023 and 2025, she is  serving as an Ordinary Member of Council for the Royal Musical Association.

Externally funded projects

The Women's Musical Leadership Online Nework
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jan 202231 May 2024AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

The Women's Musical Leadership Online Network (WMLON) is a collaborative research network which brings together music scholars and students with a wide range of non-academic stakeholders, including musicians, educators, music industry professionals, activists, and collectives. WMLON has the dual function of researching women's musical leadership and acting as a support network for women musical leaders and potential leaders. WMLON asks: 1. What is the nature of women's musical leadership within contemporary musical practices? 2. What are the issues and challenges that women musical leaders (or potential leaders) face? 3. How can these issues be resolved to enable greater equality in contemporary music education and within the industry? 4. What role does mentorship play in developing women's musical leadership potential? Although WMLON's research focus is upon women (embracing all who identify as women), membership of the network is open to all (regardless of gender identity). Musical leadership remains one of the most male-dominated musical areas. Women conductors achieved a significant first, when Marin Alsop became the first woman to direct the BBC's Last Night of the Proms (2013). A recent report by Caitlin Kelley (2019) found that, within the popular music industry, women comprise only ‘21.7 percent of artists, 12.3 percent of songwriters and 2.1 percent of producers’. Although women composers, songwriters, and performers have attracted significant scholarly attention and Women in Music Studies is now a well-established academic field, women's musical leadership remains intriguingly under researched. WMLON moves beyond considering musical leadership as residing solely in those who hold senior musical positions, such as conductors, to embrace artists, educators, and activists who have influenced and driven change within music education and the industries. WMLON will organise 5 online workshops and the project will culminate in the Second International Conference on Women and/in Musical Leadership. The workshops will consider women leaders within music education and the music industries, grouped around the following themes: women leaders within the classical music industries; women leading EDI in music education; feminist collectives and activists leading musical change; women leaders within the popular music industries; and women leading change in music broadcasting and journalism. Each workshop will consist of a panel discussion of 4 invited speakers, and a 2-hour practical workshop, facilitated by a woman music activist. Each practical workshop will generate a digital toolkit which will provide essential resources, such as careers advice, links to other sources of information and organisations, training apps, and tutorials. WMLON will also offer a free mentorship scheme for early career women music scholars, practitioners, and industry professionals. WMLON's open-access outputs will be made freely available to all via the network's website. Recordings (plus full transcriptions) of all panel discussions will be hosted, alongside the digital toolkits, on WMLON's website. The network will also generate a published edited collection and a co-authored conversation piece about mentorship (by participants in the mentorship scheme). All findings from the project will be actively shared with UK and ROI-based music societies, such as the Royal Musical Association, Society for Musicology in Ireland, MusicHE, Incorporated Society of Musicians, and PRS for Music. Thus WMLONs' findings will flow into the music industry where they will influence practice. By functioning as an online network, WMLON opens access to those who would be unable to attend face-to-face events, including those with caring responsibilities (which often disproportionately affects women) and those who lack institutional support. The online nature of the network also enables international participation and positively benefits the environment.


[Book Review] Review of Jeanice Brooks (ed.), Nadia Boulanger and Her World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020) (2022-02)
Hamer, Laura
Twentieth-Century Music, 19(1) (pp. 159-165)

[Book Review] Paul Dukas, Composer and Critic (2020-02)
Hamer, Laura
Music & Letters, 101(1) (pp. 172-174)

Women on the Podium: Issues and Strategies of Women Orchestral Conductors (2019-11-01)
Hamer, Laura
Estudios bandísticos, 3(1) (pp. 21-39)

'Every impulse and spring of art seems to have died in me, except for music': Gerard Manley Hopkins as composer (2018)
Hamer, Laura
The Musical Times, 159(1945) (pp. 27-41)

[Book Review] La Grande Guerre en musique, Vie et création musicales en France pendant la Première Guerre mondiale by Florence Doé de Maindreville and Stephan Etcharry (eds.) (2016-03)
Hamer, Laura
H-France Review, 16(43)

[Review-Article] 'Paths to the Podium' Review-Article of The Musical Work of Nadia Boulanger: Performing Past and Future Between the Wars by Jeanice Brooks (2016)
Hamer, Laura
Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 141(2) (pp. 495-504)

[Book Review] Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music by Scott McCarrey and Lesley A. Wright (eds.) (2015-02)
Hamer, Laura
Music & Letters, 96(1) (pp. 133-135)

[Book Review] Music and Ultra-Modernism in France: A Fragile Consensus, 1913-1939 by Barbara L. Kelly (2014-10)
Hamer, Laura
H-France Review, 14(158)

[Book Review] The Musical Legacy of Wartime France by Leslie A. Sprout (2014-09)
Hamer, Laura
H-France Review, 14(153)

'False Memories and Dissonant Truths: Digital Newspaper Archives as a Catalyst for a New Approach to Music Reception Studies' (2014)
Hamer, Laura and Dingle, Christopher
Studies in the Digital Humanities

[Book Review] Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Germany by Matthew Head (2014)
Hamer, Laura
Women's History Review, 23(3) (pp. 505-507)

Negating Gender Politics and Challenging the Establishment: Women and the Prix de Rome, 1919-1939’ (2012)
Hamer, Laura
Women’s History, 70(Autumn) (pp. 4-12)

[Book Review] Olivier Messiaen, Journalism, 1935-1939 by Stephen Broad (2012)
Hamer, Laura
Ars Lyrica, 21 (pp. 223-227)

On the conductor’s podium: Jane Evrard and the Orchestre féminin de Paris (2011)
Hamer, Laura
The Musical Times, 152(1916) (pp. 81-100)

Germaine Tailleferre and Hlne Perdriat's Le Marchand d'oiseaux (1923): French feminist ballet? (2010-08)
Hamer, Laura
Studies in Musical Theatre, 4(1) (pp. 113-120)

Female Composers, Conductors, Performers: Musiciennes of Interwar France, 1919-1939 (2018-07-23)
Hamer, Laura
ISBN : 9781138212039 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Introducing WMLON: The Women’s Musical Leadership Online Network (2023-03-27)
Hamer, Laura and Minors, Helen Julia
In: Cimardi, Linda and Nenić, Iva eds. Women’s Leadership in Music: Modes, Legacies, Alliances (pp. 141-152)
Publisher : Transcript Verlag | Published : Bielefeld

'Preface' (2021-05)
Hamer, Laura
In: Hamer, Laura ed. The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music since 1900 (xxi-xxix)
ISBN : 9781108455787 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

'On the Podium: Women Conductors' (2021-05)
Hamer, Laura
In: Hamer, Laura ed. The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music since 1900 (pp. 64-79)
ISBN : 9781108455787 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Critiquing the Canon: The Role of Criticism in Canon Formation (2019-08)
Hamer, Laura
In: Dingle, Christopher ed. The Cambridge History of Music Criticism. The Cambridge History of Music (pp. 231-248)
ISBN : 9781139795425 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

The Gender Paradox: Criticism of Women and Women as Critics (2019-08)
Hamer, Laura
In: Dingle, Christopher ed. The Cambridge History of Music Criticism. The Cambridge History of Music (pp. 272-290)
ISBN : 9781139795425 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

A Cultural Formation: Paul Dukas and Elsa Barraine (2019-05)
Hamer, Laura
In: Minors, Helen Julia and Watson, Laura eds. Paul Dukas: Legacies of a French Musician (pp. 131-149)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon and New York

Beyond neoclassicism: symphonic form, catharsis, and political commentary in Barraine’s Deuxième symphonie (1938) (2018)
Hamer, Laura
In: Mawer, Deborah ed. Historical Interplay in French Music and Culture 1860 - 1960 (pp. 121-138)
ISBN : 9781472474759 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon and New York

Olivier Messiaen and the prix de Rome as a Rite of Passage (2013)
Hamer, Laura and Murray, Christopher Brent
In: Dingle, Christopher and Fallon, Robert eds. Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influence (pp. 13-43)
ISBN : 978-1409426950 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

Armande de Polignac: An Aristocratic Compositrice in Fin-de-siècle Paris (2012)
Hamer, Laura
In: Fryer, Paul ed. Women in the Arts in the Belle Époque: Essays on Influential Artists, Writers and Performers (pp. 165-185)
ISBN : 9780786460755 | Publisher : McFarland | Published : Jefferson, North Carolina and London

Entre Satie et Stravinsky: les modèles néoclassiques de Germaine Tailleferre (2012)
Hamer, Laura
In: Terrien, Pascal ed. Musique française : esthétique et identité en mutation 1892-1992 (pp. 89-96)
ISBN : 9782752101068 | Publisher : Delatour France | Published : Paris

The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music since 1900 (2021-04)
Hamer, Laura ed.
Cambridge Companions
ISBN : 9781108455787 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

Der Einfluss der Eisenbahn auf das Konzertwesen des 19. Jahrhunderts (2009-07)
Hall, Mark M. and Hamer, Laura A.
In : Angewandte Geoinformatik 2009 - Beiträge zum 21. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg (8-10 Jul 2009, Salzburg Universität, Austria)