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Kevin Milburn

Dr Kevin Milburn

Teaching Fellow in Culture, Media and Creative Industries

Student Staff Liasison Committee Chair

Kevin MilburneEmail 
Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1557
Culture, Media and Creative Industries
King’s College London 
335 Norfolk Building
Strand Campus
WC2R 2LS  






Kevin Milburn joined CMCI in September 2015. Prior to this he was a Human Geography Teaching Fellow at the University of Hull for two years where he led the Imaging Place and Cultural and Historical Geography modules. This followed on from leading the Auditory Cultures module in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham and being a Research Fellow on two AHRC funded projects in the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a graduate of the BFI/ICO’s Cultural Cinema Exhibition course.

Kevin has a BA Honours in Geography from the University of Manchester, an MLitt in Media Culture from the University of Strathclyde, an MA in Japanese Cultural Studies from Birkbeck, University of London and a PhD in Geography from the University of Nottingham. Away from academia, Kevin worked at the Mercury Music Prize from 1997 till 2008, including as Director from 1998, and remains a member of its executive committee. He is also an advisory board member of Live Music Exchange.

Selected Publications

Milburn, K. (2014) ‘Underground, overground, wandering free: re-imagining flânerie in print, on screen and on record’ in R. Wrigley (Ed.) International and Historical Perspectives on a Parisian Archetype. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 325-341.

Milburn, K., Savage, J., Lury, K., Thornton, S. (2014) 'Short takes' in L. Marshall and D. Laing (Eds.) Popular Music Matters: Essays in Honour of Simon Frith. Farnham: Ashgate, 75-90.

Milburn, K. (2013) ‘Futurism and Musical Meaning in Synthesized Landscapes’. Kaleidoscope: the Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Journal of the Institute of Advanced Study. Vol 5 (1), 109-116.

Milburn, K. (2010) ‘Re-imagining the City: Shifting Time, Space and Place in Popular Music’. Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Historical Geography Research Newsletter, Autumn 2010, 22-24.

Milburn, K. (2009) ‘Following the Flâneur: a methodological and textual critique’. University of Nottingham Centre for Advanced Studies: Landscape, Place, Space, 1-12.

Research Interests and PhD supervision

Key areas of research activity:

Creativity in Cities

Post-war American Popular Culture and Representation

Early Twentieth Century Canadian Landscape Art and Identity

Musical Life in 1950s London: Soho and the Suburbs

Music and Soft Power: Policy and Practice

Much of Kevin’s research is currently focussed on: creativity in cities and ‘Cities of Culture’; North American popular culture and, in particular, its relationship to the social and physical landscape; and the expression of place, identity and belonging through cultural practices and how this affects, and is affected by, regimes of power. His PhD examined how the music of Frank Sinatra and the Scottish trio, The Blue Nile, forged links between metropolitanism and mobility. It addressed debates on urban projection, creative networks in mid-century American cities, performance, and local and trans-national identity. It also examined how a distinct American cultural form, namely balladry/male crooning, and its accompanying aesthetic stance, was circulated and then co-opted and transformed in different contexts. Aspects of this work built upon Kevin’s MA dissertation, which explored issues of representation in 1970s Japanese popular music. His current research includes work on identity in early 20th century Canadian art, and the musical history of Soho and the London suburbs in the 1950s, both of which Kevin addressed at the 2015 International Conference of Historical Geographers, the former via a paper, the latter via a day long field trip for delegates which he devised and led. Kevin has supervised undergraduate dissertations on subjects including: Cities of Culture, the Creative Class, the London skyline, noise pollution, independent record shops, music and migration, and separatism movements and identity.


Kevin’s teaching embraces a wide variety of topics, many of which encompass aspects of cultural geography. He teaches on the following modules at King’s: Music and American Culture, Film and American Culture, Contested Culture: Formations, Analysing CCIs, and Research Approaches.

Previously, Kevin was module convenor for Auditory Cultures at the University of Nottingham and for Imagining Place and Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of Hull. In addition, Kevin also taught on the following modules at Hull: Human Geography Foundation, Research Methods, World Cities  (New York and Tokyo), Field Study: Berlin, Urban and Rural Development, Geographies of Transnationalism: Place, Identity, Culture, and on the postgraduate course, Contemporary Research in Human Geography.    

Expertise and Public Engagement

Kevin was Director of the Mercury Music Prize for nearly a decade and was their Media Spokesperson during this time. In this capacity he was interviewed on outlets such as Radio 4’s Today Programme, Channel Four News, CNN, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, numerous programmes on BBC Radio 1, 2, 5Live and 6, BBC World Service, XFM, Capital Radio, and in The NME, Music Week, The Guardian and The Independent.

Kevin is on the executive committee of the Mercury Prize and an advisory board member of Live Music Exchange. He is happy to talk to the media about issues relating to: music awards and arts prizes; ‘Cities of Culture’ and, in particular, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture; early twentieth century Canadian art and identity; music geography; Soho and the threats it faces; and the life and career of Frank Sinatra.

Reflecting his keen interest in popular music, Kevin set up and runs the blog: Recently, he has devised and led a music themed field trip of Soho and given a talk at Dulwich College school on the subject: ‘Tokyo: World City’.
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