Ben R. Atkinson


Ben R. Atkinson is a PhD Candiate in Music at the Univeristy of Lincoln, UK. His PhD study is the first Ethnomusicological account of women in American country music in the 21st century. It is informed by the potential myriad opportunities for women performers in the genre during the 1990s, and the conservative reframing of country music which impacted such opportunities in the early 2000s.

Ben’s study focuses on the years from 1993 – 2023. His thesis examines how attitudes towards gender have shifted within the genre in this period; and how the experiences of women performers and those working in the idustry of country music during the 21st century, differ from those of the past. He is researching the impact of socio-economic, women’s and gender movements, and technological advancements; as well as the extent to which ideas of gender and politics unique to the US South, have directly informed the opportunities women have to build a career in this genre.

Moreover, Ben’s research considers what the positionality of country music as a product of the US South, might tell us about American society more widely in the first decades of the century.

In addition to the discipline of Ethnomusicology, his study is informed by theory and methodology from American Studies, Sociology, and Gender Studies.

Ethnographic Fieldwork forms a key part of Ben’s PhD research and he has conducted extenstive hybrid research both online and in the field, including two extended research trips where he was living and working in Nashville, TN, observing and writing about the country music community. This ongoing fieldwork has been kindly supported by funding from the University of Lincoln, the British Association for American Studies, the European Association for American Studies and the Eleanor Granville Centre for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Lincoln.

Educational History

  • BA(Hons) First Class Degree in Media Production, University of Lincoln, UK, 2013
  • MA Degree in Digital Media, University of Lincoln, UK, 2015
  • PGCHE teaching qualification, Falmouth University Cornwall, UK, 2018
  • Fellow HEA (Higher Education Academy), UK, 2018
  • L3 ILM (Institute of Leadership Management) UK, 2020
  • MPhil Music, University of Lincoln, UK, 2022

Research Funding

  • The Marcus Cunliffe Award, British Association for American Studies, £1000, June 2022, to support PhD Fieldwork
  • Turning Fund Award, University of Lincoln, £1800, June 2022, to support PhD Fieldwork
  • COVID Relief Funding, University of Lincoln Eleanor Granville Centre, £500, June 2022, to support PhD Fieldwork
  • Student Travel Grant, Univeristy of Lincoln, £500, June 2023, to support PhD Fieldwork
  • Research Resources Allocation Fund, College of Arts University of Lincoln, £500, June 2023, to support PhD Fieldwork
  • Travel Grant, European Association for American Studies,1000, July 2023, to support PhD Fieldwork

Additional Research Activities

  • Digital Communications Manager and Executive Committee Member, British Association for American Studies, 2021 – Present.
  • Committee Member, Designing for Diverse Learners Group, 2023 – Present.