Pragmatic White Allyship for Higher Education Popular Music Academics



Higher Education, anti-racism, White allyship, praxis


The world watched the killing of George Floyd from a position of COVID induced captivation. The succeeding global protests and Black Lives Matter movement justly prompted us all to consider our own complicity with the modes of systemic racism which have normalized anti-Black thought and action. The Wonkhe@Home: Black Lives Matter event (July 2020) sought to share pragmatic advice for ‘taking action to tackle racism across HE’, aware of the responsibility for the Higher Education sector to acknowledge its own role in consecrating racist forms of knowledge. This ‘statement’ translates session outcomes for Popular Music Academics (PMA), provoking the ethical imperative to reflect upon individual situational praxis towards White Allyship action. Through consideration of PMA’s typical fields of agency, I make suggestions towards development of anti-racist learning cultures within Popular Music Higher Education.

Author Biography

Jason Huxtable, Leeds Arts University & BCU Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Jason is Senior Lecturer in Popular Music Performance at Leeds Arts University, leading modules at Level 5. In addition, he holds positions as visiting lecturer at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, University of Oxford and University of Leeds, presenting guest lectures/masterclasses at over 60 HE institutions around the world to date. He is a notably versatile drums/percussion performer, mobile across Popular (Glastonbury), Jazz (Cheltenham) and Classical (soloist with Los Angeles Philharmonic) genres. Jason holds UG/PG degrees from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, awarded Honorary Membership of the institution (HonRBC), is Fellow of the HEA and Chapter President of the UK Percussive Arts Society. Jason’s research interests are varied and exist within intersections between Musicology, HE Pedagogy, Percussion, Culture and Political Agency. Highly influenced by the works of Paulo Freire, Jason seeks to integrate these theoretical principles into contemporary HE Music pedagogy, problem posing the domination of current Neoliberal value hierarchies threatening our discipline.



Akel, S. 2019. INSIDER-OUTSIDER: The Role of Race in Shaping the Experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Students. Accessed: 03 January 2021.

Freire, P. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.

HESA 2018/2019. Who’s working in HE? Personal characteristics. Accessed: 03 January 2021.

Kendi, I.X. 2019. How To Be An Antiracist. London: The Bodley Head.

McVitty, D. 2020. White people must commit to antirascist action for the long term. Accessed: 03 January 2021.

Web Sources

Wonkhe. 2020. Wonkhe@Home: Black Lives Matter. Accessed 30 December 2020.


Leach, Mark 2020. Wonkhe @ Home - Black Lives Matter (Online video). Available at: Accessed 9 August 2021.