Dr Matt Lawson

BMus (Hons), MA, PGCTHE, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Music

School of Arts


Dr Matt Lawson is Senior Lecturer in Music and Subject Coordinator for BA Music, joining Oxford Brookes in September 2017. He is a musicologist with a particular interest in music for film and television. After completing his undergraduate music degree at the University of Huddersfield, and his Masters at the University of York, he was awarded his PhD at Edge Hill University in 2017. He teaches on modules and supervises dissertations at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Areas of expertise

  • Film, Television, and Video Game Music
  • 19th Century Music
  • Popular Music

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Understanding Music on Screen
  • Songwriting, Film and Media Composition 1
  • Work Experience
  • Music Independent Study
  • Advanced Musicology
  • Music Project


  • Advanced Musicology I: Film Music
  • Research Skills
  • Dissertation


Research grants and awards

  • 2020: Departmental Funding (Ludo2020, Malta)
  • 2019: Departmental Funding (RMA Conference, Manchester
  • 2018: Travel bursary (Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation: Oxford)
  • 2018: Departmental Funding (When the Music Takes Over conference, Salzburg, Austria)
  • 2015: Music as Resistance to Genocide Workshop, Los Angeles, USA.
  • 2015: Departmental Bursary (Music and Moving Image Conference, New York City)
  • 2015: RMA Thurston Dart Research Grant (Music and Moving Image Conference, New York City)
  • 2014: DAAD (Deutsche Akedemische Austauschdienst) Scholarship (Germany)
  • 2014: EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) Fellowship (Munich)
  • 2014: Departmental Bursary (The Future of the Past, Melbourne)
  • 2014: Postgraduate Research Bursary (The Future of the Past, Melbourne)
  • 2014: German Historical Institute London (PhD Conference)
  • 2013: SEMPRE Bursary (Music and Empathy Conference)
  • 2013: Departmental Bursary (War and Displacement Conference)
  • 2013: Postgraduate Research Bursary (RMA Research Student Conference)
  • 2012-15: PhD/GTA Studentship (Edge Hill annual scholarship)
  • 2012: George Heim Memorial Trust Grant (Music and Genocide Conference)
  • 2012: Postgraduate Research Bursary (Music and Genocide Conference)
  • 2011/12: Vinson Scholarship (York – MA)
  • 2010-12: Orpheus Conference Assistantship (York – MA)
  • 2010-12: Languages for All Scholarship (York – German Course)

Research projects

Current research project: Film Music and Trauma

Research impact

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for secondary school Music teachers in conjunction with the educational charity PTI.


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Vice-Chair of MusicHE.


  • May 2023: ‘Commonalaties and Contrasts in the Music of Middle-Earth on Screen’, Music and the Moving Image XIX, Steinhardt NYU, New York City, USA.
    March 2023: ‘Musical Exoticism and Cultural Appropriation in Depictions of the Non-Human in The Lord of the Rings Online‘, Ludo2023, University of Edinburgh.
    December 2022: ‘New sounds of a galaxy far, far away: inspirations, influences, and departures from John Williams in The Mandalorian (2019-), The Book of Boba Fett (2021), and Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)’, John Williams, dernier des symphonistes ?, Université d’Évry-Val-d’Essonne Paris-Saclay / Université de Versailles, France.
  • September 2022: ‘“That sounds just like the film!”: Intertextuality, Inspiration, and Imitation in Video Game Adaptations of Films’, RMA Annual Conference, Durham.
  • July 2022: Peak Television, ‘Off-Peak’ Scores: Establish the ‘peakness’ of music in Stranger Things (2016 – ), Tales From the Loop (2020), and Y: The Last Man (2021)’, Scoring Peak TV, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
  • July 2022: ‘The Traumantic Soundtrack: Film Music as Trauma and Traumatic Catharsis’, Music/Sound Through the Lens of Trauma, University of Utrecht, Netherlands.
  • October 2021: ‘Seriously Funny Music: the use of “serious” music for comedic effect in film’, BARN Virtual Colloquia, online.
  • June 2021: ‘Considering Hanns Eisler’s score to Nuit et Brouillard (1955)’, Sound on Screen I, Oxford Brookes University.
  • April 2020: ‘Playing Trauma: the use of music to represent trauma and traumatic experience in video games’, Ludomusicology 2020, University of Malta, Valetta, Malta.
  • September 2019: ‘Film Music and Trauma’, Royal Musical Association annual conference, RNCM/University of Manchester.
  • June 2018: ‘The Boys are Back in Town: Scarborough Athletic, and the sounds of exile and homecoming’, Get some chalk on your boots! The sounding cultures of football, Oxford Brookes University.
  • May 2018: ‘Three Germanies, One Holocaust: coming to terms with the past through film in East, West, and reunified Germany’, Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation, University of Oxford.
  • March 2018: ‘Soundtracks of Sanctuary: Musical Numbers as Escapism in Holocaust Cinema’, When The Music Takes Over, University of Salzburg, Austria.
  • September 2017: ‘Scoring the Holocaust: film music and the ethics of sentimentality’, Royal Musical Association annual conference, University of Liverpool.
  • July 2016: ‘Music in German Holocaust cinema: politics and soundtracks in East, West and reunified Germany’, British Association for Holocaust Studies Annual Conference, UCL, London.
  • October 2015: ‘The Resistant Soundtrack: the role of film music in promoting on-screen and offscreen resistance to genocide’, Music as Resistance to Genocide Workshop, USC SF Centre for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles, USA.
  • May 2015: ‘Soundtracks of Shame? The function of film music in German Holocaust cinema’, Music and the Moving Image X, Steinhardt NYU, New York City, USA.
  • April 2015: ‘Film, Music, Politics: Composing for Holocaust Cinema in Germany’, The Holocaust and the Contemporary World, Krakow, Poland.
  • April 2015: ‘“What’s with the music?!” Incongruous Film Music and the Subversion of Audience Expectation’, Cutting Edge Postgraduate Conference, Edge Hill University.
  • September 2014: ‘The Music of Middle-Earth: Musical Representations of a Fictional World’, Music and Movies: National and Transnational Approaches, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
  • July 2014: Invited panellist, Passenger (1963) screening, Melbourne, Australia.
  • July 2014: ‘Film music as Holocaust memorialisation in the 21st Century’, The Future of the Past: Representing the Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Trauma in the 21st Century, Deakin University and the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  • March 2014: ‘The Jew Scored – The representation of Jewishness in German Holocaust film music’, Cutting Edge Postgraduate Conference, Edge Hill University.
  • February 2014: ‘Film Music as Holocaust memorialisation since 1980’, Memory in Post-1980s Music, University of York.
  • January 2014: ‘Holocaust film music in Germany: issues and theories’, PhD Conference, German Historical Institute, London.
  • January 2014: ‘Wiedergutmachung durch Filmmusik: The German film soundtrack and its role in coming to terms with the past’, RMA Research Students Conference, University of Birmingham.
  • November 2013: ‘Ethics and Empathy in Holocaust film music’, SEMPRE Music and Empathy Study Day, University of Hull.
  • June 2013: ‘Scoring the Holocaust’, Ethnicity, Race and Racism Symposium, Edge Hill University.
  • May 2013: ‘Film Music and the Holocaust’, War and Displacement Conference, Fremdspracheninstitut der Stadt München, Munich, Germany.
  • January 2013: ‘Hearing Atrocity’, Screening Atrocity Postgraduate Workshop, Newcastle University.
  • January 2013: ‘Scoring the Holocaust’, RMA Research Students Conference, University of Southampton.
  • November 2012 : ‘Scoring the Holocaust: issues of musical representation in Holocaust film’, Music and Genocide Conference, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
  • June 2012: ‘Scoring the Holocaust: an introduction to issues of musical representation’, 3rd Postgraduate Symposium, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York.

Further details

Personal website: https://www.mattlawson.co.uk