Academic Work

Anna holds a BA in English Literature from Roehampton University and an MA in Victorian Literature, Art and Culture from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her MA dissertation concerns the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the nineteenth-century restoration of Llandaff Cathedral; it is entitled “A noble work of art, full of high purpose and imagination”: Rossetti’s ‘The Seed of David’. This gained a distinction.

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Since 2013 Anna has been a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, where she is based in the OBERTO Opera Research Unit. Her thesis is entitled The Dream of a Madman: Constructing the Male Opera Singer in Nineteenth-Century Britain. This interdisciplinary study focuses on male opera singers of the nineteenth century, examining their status as important cultural figures of the period. It draws on a wide range of sources, including operatic novels, portraits, autobiographies and letters – the vast majority of which have never been studied before.

Anna has a wider interest in nineteenth-century celebrity culture and life-writing, and is especially interested in performers’ autobiographical accounts of travel in the period. She has also worked on the relationship between British music and the Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

Outside of the nineteenth century, Anna is interested in the broader relationship between music,  image and autobiography – particularly the ways in which female singers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries used fashion and life-writing in order to negotiate their identities. She has recently been working on Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse in this context.

Anna has recently curated two exhibitions on music. These experiences have led to a further interest in the ways in which singers lives are displayed in a museum setting. She hopes to explore this topic with future research and exhibitions.

Anna has blogged about her research extensively, with pieces featured on the websites of organisations including the Journal of Victorian Culture, the British Association of Victorian Studies, the Royal Musical Association, the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association and the National Army Museum.

Anna is currently working as a Lecturer in Musicology Oxford Brookes University, where she contributes to the teaching of an MA in Music. She has also taught on the History of Art BA programme. In addition, she works as a Research Assistant in the OBERTO Opera Research Unit.


  • ‘“The Singer’s Work is a Picture Painted on Air”: Operatic Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century’, Peer English, Issue 10: 2015, pp 57 – 72
  • In progress: ‘An Opera Singer’s Gothic Fiction: The Autobiographies of Sims Reeves’
  • In progress: ‘John Braham, the Navy and the Construction of a British Identity’