Head of Postgraduate Studies

PhD in Music (Composition), University of York
PGDip in Arts Learning and Teaching in Higher Education with Distinction, NSCD/University of Kent
Master of Music (Composition) with Merit, Kings College, University of London
Bachelor of Music (Honours) 1st Class, University of Glasgow

Additional qualifications

DipABRSM (Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) Piano Performance Piano with Distinction

FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy), AdvanceHE Fellow

Role and responsibilities:

James is responsible for the effective delivery and ongoing development of the postgraduate programmes at NSCD. As part of the management team, he works closely across all NSCD departments to help students and staff thrive in the NSCD environment. James oversees the timetabling provision, alongside chairing the Learning, Teaching & Quality Assurance Committee and the Academic & Estates Resources Committee.  He also teaches in the areas of film, music, creative and contextual work.

Who am I?

“I am someone that is drawn to all the possibilities of what ‘the arts’ can be – whether that is in traditional forms, or patterns, games and experiences. For me art offers me a unique lens for seeing the world, trying to make sense of its complexities, and discovering its beauty.

“I am someone that is always questioning, trying to unpick the paradoxes and intricacies that dominate the world around us by investigating the edges and classifications that we put on things, when are they helpful, and when they obscure other meanings. Above all, I aim to value everyone as individuals, enjoying the differences that make us unique.”

Career History

James is a composer, filmmaker and lecturer. He studied music at the University of Glasgow and King’s College London, before completing a PhD in composition at the University of York with Nicola LeFanu.

James has been involved in contemporary dance since 2005, specialising in its relationships to other art practices both in creative and theoretical fields. Alongside his teaching at NSCD he works as a TV producer primarily for BBC broadcast, including the BAFTA Scotland winning programme The Great Climb and the Scottish Adventure Award-winning series The Adventure Show currently in its 18th series.

He is active as a freelance composer including recent performances by the BBC Philharmonic (as part of their Red Brick Sessions), Cuatro Puntos, Delta Saxophone Quartet, Ligeti String Quartet, Jeremy Huw Williams and Ian Pace.  James has had his music performed across the UK and Ireland, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and he also regularly composes television music for BBC Scotland.



2007-2023 Producer: The Adventure Show – BBC 2 Scotland (Scottish Adventure Awards Winner, 2014)

2023 Forgotten Paths (Ukulele) – first performance: Samantha Muir https://open.spotify.com/album/7rLs1lNHq94w5CDkGVOag3

2023 Living Work – Rethinking approaches to the management of teaching staff within a dance conservatoire. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/tykx3

2023 Education as Emotional Experience, NSCD conference, Leeds. 12th Jan

2022 The Road of Evening (Choir) – first performance: Micklegate Singers

2022 Parting Voices (Ukulele) – first performance: Samantha Muir https://open.spotify.com/album/7yMYveTmCwjsy6ujyYlqUD

2022 My River (Soprano and Piano) – first performance: Anna Snow & Kate Ledger. Part of the One Hundred Second Songs Project

2022 Retratos I (Bass and Piano) – first performance: Stuart O’Hara and Ioanna Koullepou

2020 A view from elsewhere (Violin) – first performance: Lisa Obert BBC Radio 3 Night Tracks https://open.spotify.com/album/01FOUSblRRQJcfqQhpERfG

2019 Drenched (Tenor and Piano) – First performance: Christopher O’Gorman & Kate Ledger, 2019.

2018 Climbing the Virtual Stepladder: Exploring the Reality of Virtual Worlds in Performance. Body, Space & Technology. 17 (1), pp. 34–50. https://www.bstjournal.com/articles/10.16995/bst.295/

2016 falling, unseen (String Sextet) – First performance: Cuatro Puntos, 2016. BBC Phil (The Red Brick Sessions), 2017.

2016 Art vs Research, Dance HE conference, NSCD, Leeds. 28th October

2015 Peer Observation of Teaching, CDD conference, The Place, London. 9th April

2014 Light Shadows (Saxophone Quartet) – First performance: Delta Saxophone Quartet

2013 On the Wind (String Quartet) – First performance: Ligeti String Quartet

2012 One Hour (Baritone & Piano) – First performance: Jeremy Huw Williams & Nigel Foster

2012 Forgotten Notes (Flute & Horn) -First performance: Souza Winds

2012 Time is Too Slow (Choir) – first performance: Micklegate Singers

2011 A Stolen Moment (Piano) – First performance: Ian Pace, 2011. Stan O’Beirne, 2021 https://open.spotify.com/album/01FOUSblRRQJcfqQhpERfG

2010 The Great Climb – BBC 2 Scotland/BBC HD (BAFTA Scotland Winner, 2011)

2007 Elgar – Sonata for Organ No. 1 featuring James Lancelot, Commercial DVD and CD

2007 To Hell and Back – BBC 2 Scotland (Finalist Celtic Film Festival, 2008)

2003 New Ways to Mountains (Electronic) – BBC Radio 3