Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Jon Marshall

PhD Student & Teaching Assistant

BSc (Warwick), MA (Sheffield)

Jon Marshall is undertaking a PhD in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds on a full ESRC scholarship. He is supervised by Professor David Hesmondhalgh and Dr Bethany Klein. His research focuses on Politics and Musical Aesthetics in contemporary Russia. He also works as a Teaching Assistant for several modules at the institute.


My current research project, “Politics and Musical Aesthetics in the New Russia: Protest Songs, Collective Improvisation and Noise”, investigates the varying claims that Russian experimental musicians make for intersections between their political beliefs and creative practice in order to gain a deeper understanding of such people’s expectations of, and frustrations with, neoliberal democracy; the extent of this political system’s ability to accommodate the demands of private aestheticism and identity politics; and the private and public hopes and strategies people harbour and employ for a better world to come. Russia is a particularly pertinent region for a contemporary study into utopian aspirations and activities since the collapse of the Soviet Union signalled for some the definitive and irrevocable success of neoliberal democracy, yet, two decades later, after the economic crisis has exposed fault lines in major capitalist structures, the residents of Russia’s urban centres are experiencing sufficient tension between their hopes and realities to create an open-ended political present. Through participatory ethnomusicology I intend to investigate this situation through the experiences of Russian experimental musicians. Such a perspective will facilitate new understandings which will productively complement more conventional comparative democratization studies whilst simultaneously contributing to the political aesthetics debate.

Research Interests

•       Political art, aesthetics and music
•       Democracy, civil society and dissent in contemporary Russia


Jon is a teaching and grading assistant on the following modules:
•       COMM1205 Introduction to Communications Research with Dr Anna Zoellner (2013-14)
•       COMM1920 Introduction to Communications Theory with Professor Stephen Coleman (2013-14)

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