Help David start research at Bristol University

Funding the first year of my MPhil/PhD studies at Bristol University.

  • £505

    pledged of £6,500

    • 7


    • 0


What's it about, briefly?

I'm raising £4100 minimum to start a research degree with Bristol University which will not only throw light on a relatively overlooked English composer of the twentieth century, but will also equip me with very useful skills which I shall plan to share with others, whether fellow students, prospective students, or interested members of the general public of all ages.    These skills are specifically in the areas of research, investigative, evaluation, written expression, presentation, communication - and so are potentially valuable to all.

The minimum amount covers the university's fees for the first year.   The additional £2500 (making the total of £6500) covers travel to and from repositories of information/artefacts related to the research subject, and to/from the university - together with any necessary materials and access fees, etc., to libraries and other research resources.

Who am i?

For various reasons I'm a late comer to academic work - as you tell from the image!   I started my first degree in 2011, graduating with first class honours in 2014.    I never expected to be able to go on and undertake MPhil/PhD - but Bristol University Music Department have offered me a place to do so.   As a result, I'm hugely entusiastic about undertaking this research, to make a success of it, and by doing to so, to make a difference in the community - as I've outlined above.

I work as a Director of Music & Organist in a parish church in Wiltshire in the UK, where I direct the two choirs - I also teach music in various forms (instrumental, singing, conducting) on a private basis, and conduct two other choirs in the south west of England.  I previously conducted the University of Bath Choir, and worked as Diocesan Music Adviser in the DIocese of Birmingham.

So, I'm a performing musician - a conductor of orchestras and choirs, and an organ performer - check my website, below.

WHat's the story behind this?

Yes, it's musicology.   It's specifically research into the music and influences of a composer called Eric Thiman, who lived rom 1900 to 1975.    He seemed to be very influential in his day, but has been somewhat overshadowed by some of his peers, and some who came later.   Nevertheless, his music is still relevant today - and he could even be compared, I think, in contemporary popularity and influence with such well-known luminaries as John Rutter.

Recently a new repository of music and various artefacts from his life has been set up in the English Midlands - it's therefore an opportune time to examine the nature and extent of influences on him as a composer, and his influence on others.   The research will, of course, have other related strands which inform the main thrust.

Not only do I think the subject is important in placing a significant figure properly within the historical context, but I also believe that the skills I shall acquire in doing it will be shareable with many other people who may (hopefully) also go on to recognise and realise their own talents in research - whether they are young or mature students.

By donating to this research project, I believe you will have the satisfaction of knowing that worthwhile, and already approved by means of Bristol University's offer to me, research into our cultural heritage will be supported; that you will be helping to spread skills applicable to many areas of research; that you be contributing directly to the well of knowledge within Western musical tradition; and that you will help a mature student on a very low income fulfill a newly discovered enthusiasm and aptitude for academic work!

How does the money work?

The minimum sum, £4100, represents the first year's university fee - nothing more and nothing less.   

The full target represents (a) the university fee, as above, together with (b) a further £2400 to facilitate the 'material' of research, i.e. such items as travel to libraries, and to interview people, travel to and from the university, books, and so on.    In the event of raising the minimum amount only, I expect to try to find a smaller variety of these materials from within my own resources.  

I will make at least weekly blog posts about progress of research and related matters from the start of the univerisity semester in September, 2015.

So, here is an overview of costs:

  • University fee (one year): £4100
  • All travel and related subsistence: £1200
  • Books and other literature: £500
  • Printing & Stationery: £300  (likely to include printing of performance materials, with permission)
  • Contingency & Miscellaneous: £100


I've got some enticing rewards planned for anyone who donates - and all will be thanked at the end of the research, and in the final thesis.

Images and video

Here is an image of Eric Thiman, the subject of my research:            

And a dreadful one of me, practising at the chuch where I am DofM! 

Find me here


Follow me to find out what I'm doing, and how the study is going!

PLEASE Help ME succeed!

- You don't need to give money to help me succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think might support me – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence, or on your blog.

- In fact, share it with everyone you know as  it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely it is that this will work out brilliantly.

- And I know I said you don't need to give money to help me, but I'd really like it if you did! Please sponsor me and help make this happen.

Choose reward

Pledge £1 or more

Select this reward if you just want to donate to the project without receiving a reward.

0 claimed

Pledge £2 or more

and you will be invited to join my *exclusive* research blog, which I'll run for the duration of my degree. I'll be publishing easily digestible summaries of all the essays and other materials I produce (I expect this to develop during the project), discussions about ideas I am introduced to, debates I have or witness, ideas I pick up from lectures, seminars, and other meetings, thought-provoking quotes I find, and anything else I think you'll find interesting, educational or entertaining. The blog will be not be searchable via Google, and will only be available to donors.

1 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 September 2015

Pledge £20 or more

to be invited to the private blog and receive, via email, a picture of me in my subfusc, holding a pint of bitter (almost certainly Young’s), in a really, really good local hostelry taken on the day that I finish my final exam, with an accompanying thank-you message.

2 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 September 2016

Pledge £50 or more

to receive all of the above, plus a progress report at the end of each term, to let you know how things are going and what plans are emerging over the horizon.

2 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 March 2016

Pledge £100 or more

to receive all of the above, plus a hand-written thank you message on a Bristol postcard.

1 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 October 2016

Pledge £250 or more

to receive all the above, plus a thank-you shout-out on my professional website, I will contact you before I run this feature post on your donation, to find out whether there is anything you specifically want me to include (information about a project you are organising, for instance).

1 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2016

Pledge £500 or more

to receive all of the above, plus a signed copy of my dissertation/thesis at the end of the research. (I will ask you whether you want to receive it by email or by post.) Additionally, I would be happy to give an organ recital on a suitable instrument of your choice within the UK - at a date to be negotiated and free of performance fee.

0 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2016