Current JD Stout Fellow

Meet our current JD Stout Fellow and find out more about their research project.

Michael Brown

JD Stout Fellow 2023

Music researcher Dr Michael David Brown has been appointed as the 2023 JD Stout Fellow.

During his time as the JD Stout Fellow, Dr Brown will research the role of electronic popular music for a current generation of New Zealanders.  “My project will explore how electronic popular music serves as a medium of expression for contemporary generations, particularly millennials,” Dr Brown says.

Dr Brown has an extensive background as a researcher of New Zealand music, including co-editing two books, Searches for tradition: Essays on New Zealand music, past and present and Finding language: The Massey University composer addresses. He has published research papers on music preservation, the history of music in New Zealand, and on folk music in New Zealand.

Dr Brown is an alumnus of the University, completing a Master of Arts in Music in 2006 and a PhD in Music in 2012. His Master’s research focused on folk music collection in New Zealand, and his PhD research on the vernacular of tramping club singsongs and the Māori guitar strumming style.  The main focus of Dr Brown’s research will be the output of Luke Rowell, one of New Zealand’s leading proponents of electronic music and synthpop. Born in 1983, Rowell belongs to a generation of New Zealanders who grew up with shopping malls, home computers, and the latest American TV shows, a cohort who would become—with the arrival of the internet—the first “digital natives”.

“A central case study will be the album BUY NOW, released in 2015 under the alias ‘Eyeliner’. BUY NOW presents an ideal opportunity to examine contemporary popular music’s layering of local, national, and transnational meanings in a networked digital world,” Dr Brown says.

This research will build on previous work by Dr Brown completed at the Alexander Turnbull Library, where Dr Brown is music curator.  “Michael is a fantastic researcher and advocate for scholarship on contemporary music in Aotearoa. He is a wonderful colleague and embodies what we are looking for in a JD Stout fellow,” says Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, director of the Stout Research Centre.

The JD Stout Fellowship awards a scholar of high standing the opportunity to research an area of New Zealand society, history, or culture. The Fellowship, which was established in 1985, has resulted in a body of influential publications in the field of New Zealand studies.

Dr Brown began the Fellowship on 1 March 2023.

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John David Stout Research Fellowship

Stout Research Centre