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Music Education Researcher, Teacher, Advocate, and Community Organizer
Born and raised in New Hampshire (USA), Dr Jessica Cawley trained as a music teacher at the University of New Hampshire (Bmus in Music Education, 2006), as a classical and jazz saxophone student. Her early years as a music educator focused on conducting, leading, composing, and arranging for wind bands. Her love for folk and traditional music led her to study Irish music and Ethnomusicology at the University of Limerick (2008) as a postgraduate student. Over the past decade, she has learned the flute and fiddle, and is now an active performer in Cork’s vibrant traditional music session scene. As a PhD student at University College Cork, her research explored the learning processes within Irish traditional music. In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Irish Research Council’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship, which supported the publication of her first book, Becoming an Irish Traditional Musician: Learning and Embodying Culture (Routledge, forthcoming). In addition to her scholarly contributions, Jessica has performed and taught traditional, jazz and classical music for over 15 years. She has developed, taught and led music programmes in the United States and Ireland in numerous contexts, ranging from primary, secondary and third level formal education, to facilitating inclusive music-making in community settings. In 2013, she established the non-profit organisation, Creative Tradition, which currently leads school and community programmes, including two Club Ceoil centres in Knocknaheeny and Blarney. Jessica became a programme provider and music tutor at Music Generation Cork City in 2012, before taking up the role of Coordinator in 2018. She currently serves on the executive board of Society of Music Education, Ireland, and Assistant Editor of MayDay Group's Newsletter. Jessica is also the Secretary of FairPlé - an inclusive, grass-roots organisation, founded to address gender balance in Irish Traditional and folk music performance.