WRoCAH Open Competition Studentship recipient: James Anderson

James Anderson profile picture
Student success - WRoCAH Open Competition Studentship
Music Postgraduate study
Winner of a WRoCH studentship
James talks about his experience of living and studying at Sheffield, as well as his recent success in being awarded the AHRC White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) Open Competition Studentship. James has previously also been a recipient of a scholarship provided by the German History Society

How did you first hear about your scholarship?

I first heard about the WRoCAH AHRC Studentships as part of departmental and faculty communications regarding funded PhD routes, in addition to discussions with my supervisory team (Professor Simon Keefe and Professor Dominic Broomfield-McHugh), who subsequently supported my application. Having submitted my application in January of this year, I was selected as a candidate for a WRoCAH studentship by the music department in late February. Once the review process had run its course, I was notified of my scholarship success in early April by the WRoCAH office.

How did you feel when you heard that you were successful in being awarded the scholarship?

The application process for the WRoCAH AHRC Studentships is extremely competitive, so I was absolutely thrilled (and pleasantly surprised) to find out that I was one of the lucky ones to have been awarded one this year! WRoCAH provides such a great opportunity to PhD students to network and develop as researchers through their training scheme, which I am excited to now be a part of.

What made you choose to study at Sheffield and your course?

Before starting my PhD, I also completed my MA in Musicology at The University Sheffield. However, even before then, as an undergraduate at The University of Manchester, I had my sights set on PhD study. With such a bustling postgraduate community at both MA and PhD level here at Sheffield, in addition to the close alignment of my work to the research interests of my (then prospective) supervisor, the university immediately seemed attractive to me for my postgraduate study. 

How did you research the University to find out about studying in Sheffield?

With my interests predominantly situated in the region of eighteenth-century music, particularly Mozart and Viennese contemporaries, I was already aware of the work of my main supervisor (Professor Simon Keefe) in this area. I subsequently established early contact and, in the meantime, I came to look around Sheffield a couple of times and looked into details of my MA and the PhD community on the departmental website – I quickly decided that Sheffield was the place for me!

What was your initial impression of Sheffield and the University when you first arrived?

Most striking for me at the start of my PhD was the sense of community among PGR students and staff in the music department – everyone is so welcoming and collaborative. Sheffield itself, having lived in the "hustle and bustle" of Manchester for three years, is great for green space, particularly when the peak district is practically on your doorstep.   

What are the highlights of your experience in Sheffield so far?

During the first six months of my PhD, I have packed so much in. But, the main highlight so far has been my research trips to archives and libraries around the UK, where I have consulted many music manuscripts from the late Eighteenth Century, including around thirty Mozart autographs. A series of similar trips is set to take me all over Europe across the next year! Another highlight was the opportunity to present my work at the BFE-RMA Research Students' Conference in January, an event at which I also chaired a session a couple of days earlier. 

What would you say to a student considering studying at The University of Sheffield?

Why not? The music department at The University of Sheffield has such a vibrant and welcoming community of postgraduates and staff expertise, the combination of which is surely difficult to find anywhere else.

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