Dr Nicola Spelman

Senior Lecturer in Music, Programme Leader Popular Music & Recording

  • New Adelphi 5.02
  • T: 01612956132
  • E: n.spelman@salford.ac.uk
  • SEEK: Research profile

Office Times

Monday 2pm - 3pm; 5pm - 6pm

Thursday 10am - 12.30pm


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts & Media and Programme Leader for the BA Music: Popular Music & Recording. I have contributed to the development of popular music education at Salford for many years, designing and developing modules in a range of subject areas. My key interests are popular musicology, popular music composition, music semiotics and representation, and music and madness. I have worked as an external consultant and examiner for other academic institutions, and currently fulfil the role of External Examiner for the BA (Hons) Popular Music Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.


I teach on all undergraduate music programmes (including modules in Applied Composition & Technology; Compositional Practice; Creative Composition & Arranging; Professional Development in the Creative Industries) and supervise postgraduate students.

Research Interests

My research interests surround issues of representation within popular music, and I specialise in the field of anti-psychiatry and music. My authored book Popular Music & the Myths of Madness (Ashgate, 2012) identifies links between the anti-psychiatry movement and representations of madness in popular music of the 1960s and 1970s, analysing the various ways in which ideas critical of institutional psychiatry are embodied both verbally and musically in specific songs by David Bowie, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, the Beatles, and Elton John.

My work, ‘Recasting Noise: The Lives and Times of Metal Machine Music’ appears in the co-edited book: Goddard, M, Halligan, B & Spelman, N (2013) 'Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music', Continuum, London/New York, UK/USA. My current project – a further co-edited book: The Arena Concert: Music, Mediation and Mass Entertainment, Bloomsbury, USA – is due for publication in 2015.

Qualifications and Memberships

Member of School: School of Arts & Media

Full Member of Research Centre: Popular Music from January 2010 to present.

2009 PhD Popular Musicology (University of Salford)

1995 BA (Hons) Popular Music & Recording (University of Salford) 1st Class


Edgar, R & Fairclough-Isaacs, K & Halligan, B & Spelman, N (2015) The Arena Concert: Music, Mediation and Mass Entertainment, Bloomsbury, USA (forthcoming).

Goddard, M & Halligan, B & Spelman, N (2013) Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music, Continuum, London/New York, UK/USA.

Spelman, N (2012) Popular Music and the Myths of Madness, Ashgate, Surrey, UK.

Spelman, N (2005) 'Reversing us and them: anti-psychiatry and The Dark Side of the Moon', in Reising, R (ed) Speak to Me: The Legacy of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, Ashgate, Hampshire, UK, pp.123-142.