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Personal profile

Biography

Toby Martin is a practitioner and practice-led researcher working in the field of contemporary popular music. His research interests are focussed on the areas of songwriting, composition and performance. In particular, he is interested in developing innovative approaches to cross-cultural collaborations, songwriting collaborations between musicians and non-musicians, responses to place, memory and home through song, and generating social inclusivity through music. He is also a historian of popular music, and his research looks at what songs can tell us about the past.

Toby’s most recent album Songs From Northam Avenue (produced by Urban Theatre Projects and released by Ivy League Records, 2017) was a poetic response to the Sydney suburb of Bankstown. It was also a collaboration with musicians from a diverse range of backgrounds including Vietnamese, Iraqi and Lebanese. This album has been performed around Australia, including at the Sydney Festival, Carriageworks and National Gallery of Victoria, and was featured on print and broadcast media, including The Guardian, Double J and other ABC radio outlets. Toby has also published about the research behind this album in IASPM@Journal.

Toby has continued to develop methodologies of cross-cultural music-making and musical inclusivity in the UK, facilitating songwriting workshops with refugees and prisoners in northern England as part of the Momentum II project for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and he has also run cross-cultural composition workshops for young people in Australia.  He is currently working on a new album and performance in collaboration with the Vietnamese/Australian musician Dang Lan.

 Toby has for many years been the songwriter and singer with the Australian rock band Youth Group. Youth Group have released four albums internationally, have had a number one single and top-ten album in Australia, and won an ARIA (Australian equivalent of a Mercury prize). They have also toured extensively in the USA, UK and Australia, including performances at festivals such as Coachella, Reading and Leeds, and the Big Day Out. Toby has also worked as a songwriter and performer with Aboriginal country artists such as Roger Knox, and the Rugcutters.

As a historian of popular music, Toby has published extensively on country music in Australia, including the 2015 monograph Yodelling Boundary Riders: country music in Australia since the 1920s (Lyrebird Press, University of Melbourne).  He has held a National Library of Australia Folk Fellowship – looking at Australian Aboriginal country music as a form of everyday resistance – and a ‘David Scott Mitchell Fellowship’ at the State Library of New South Wales which focussed on tourism and musical performances on Aboriginal missions in the early twentieth century. Toby has an article on the political implications of early Aboriginal country music in a forthcoming issue of the journal Popular Music.

Toby completed a PhD at the University of Sydney in 2011. He was an adjunct lecturer at NYU (Sydney campus) where he taught Social and Cultural Analysis, before joining the University of Huddersfield in 2015. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music and the Head of Popular Music and Jazz.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2011 2017

Book Review: The Voice and Its Doubles: Music and media in northern Australia by Daniel Fisher

Martin, T., 27 Apr 2017, In : Anthropological Forum. 27, 2, p. 175-177 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Open Access
Song
Music-making
Music
Popular music
Olive

Songs From Northam Avenue

Martin, T., 17 Feb 2017

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

Open Access
Players
Song
World music
Olive
Music

The Prairie is a Lonesome Place at Night: The absent sweethearts of hillbilly music

Martin, T., Aug 2017, The Popular Culture of Romantic Love in Australia. Teo, H. M. (ed.). North Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 20 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

The Land Where the Crow Flies Backwards

Martin, T., Oct 2015

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

land

Activities 2016 2018

  • 7 Oral presentation
  • 2 Other
  • 2 Invited talk
  • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

"Aussie Country": The Big Picture, History and Today

Toby Martin (Speaker)
31 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Songs From Northam Avenue

Toby Martin (Participant)
14 Apr 2018

Activity: Other activity typesOther

Making Music Democratically: Equality, Difference, Participation

Robert Adlington (Speaker), Elizabeth Dobson (Speaker), Toby Martin (Speaker)
17 Oct 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Singing History: Song as Testimony

Toby Martin (Speaker)
13 Jun 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

"In Here it's Not Prison": Engaging Vulnerable and Stigmatized Communities in Composition

Toby Martin (Speaker), Alexandra Richardson (Speaker), Emma Richards (Speaker)
19 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation