Martin James is Professor of Music Industries and Course Leader, BA (hons) Popular Music Journalism at Southampton Solent University. Martin is committed to the development of real-world learning through the combination of industry partnerships and fluid curriculum design that reflects the broad skills sets required by 21st century graduates.
Impact of work
Prior to his move to education Martin enjoyed a successful career in the music media industries. Drawing on his extensive knowledge and understanding of the music business Martin has negotiated partnership associations with some of the UK’s finest independent festivals, including Common People, Bestival, Blissfields and non-broadcast activities at Glastonbury, among others. As a result, up to 600 students from a range of academic disciplines benefit from authentic learning experiences at music festivals each year Through his commitment to the music festival as the ‘university in action,’ he launched Southampton Solent University's music festival and conference SMILEfest in 2009. The annual one-week event is now a collaborative venture that is locked into assessment and work experience strategies of courses in two schools and a number of subject areas.
Since its launch over 900 students from have been assessed or enjoyed work experiences via SMILEfest while thousands more have engaged with the event’s numerous activities. The impact of SMILEfest can be seen at a student engagement level, as well within the local music community and the national music industries.
Plans for the future
Martin’s future plans for SMILEfest include extending the engagement with local communities through the development of activities within schools and colleges. National and International collaborations with other universities are already in discussion for next year, with students from at least two UK providers working with Martin’s students on media content. Martin also hopes to introduce the SMILEfest model into more universities to enable student collaborations beyond Solent University.
Martin is a research-informed teacher whose work is primarily focused on popular music culture and memory, social media communities and contemporary music criticism. As a cultural theorist Martin has worked tirelessly to develop innovative approaches to large lectures that have been informed by practical approaches in his previous career.
Professor of Music Industries