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Dr Ross Purves
Room 934
Department of Culture, Communication and Media, UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Dr Ross Purves profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education

Ross Purves is Associate Professor for Music Education at the UCL Institute of Education and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He was previously Senior Lecturer in Education at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he led modules in music and arts education, computing and educational technology between 2013 and 2018.


Ross studied music at City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, later completing an MA in music education at the Institute of Education, University of London, a PGCE in post-compulsory education at the University of Greenwich and a PhD in music education at the UCL Institute of Education.


After undergraduate studies, Ross worked as a computer development officer in the Department of Computer Science, University of Exeter (1999-2000) and, subsequently, as a research assistant at the University of Roehampton and the Institute of Education, University of London (2002-2006). Whilst at Roehampton and the Institute, Ross worked on a series of six music and teacher education research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Learning Circuit, the Department for Education and Skills, Youth Music, the JJ Sainsbury Family Trust and Sir John Cass's Foundation. Between 2009 and 2011 he was a part-time research officer on the European Commission's Seventh Framework-funded 'Usability of Music for Social Inclusion of Children Project'.


Ross has also pursued a parallel teaching career, including serving as Joint Course Manager for Music at Luton Sixth Form College between 2006 and 2013. Here he taught A Level and BTEC music and music technology courses and co-managed large programmes of instrumental teaching and extra-curricular music ensembles. Between 2011 and 2013, Ross was also Subject Coordinator for the Secondary Music PGCE course offered by the Chiltern Training Group, a large school-centred initial teacher training consortium in Bedfordshire.


Ross's doctorate explored geographical and social impacts on instrumental music learning through historical and geospatial analysis. He has written on various aspects of music education, teachers’ initial education and professional development, human-computer interaction and the application of geospatial methods. His work has appeared in journals and edited international handbooks including the British Journal of Educational Research, the British Journal of Educational Psychology, Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, the Journal of In-Service Education, Teacher Education Advancement Network Journal, Music, Technology and Education, Power and Education, the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education and the 2012 OUP International Handbook of Music Education.


Ross has presented research at various UK and European education and music conferences and is an experienced performing musician and arranger. Between 2016 and 2018 he was a member of the Musicians' Union Teachers' Section National Committee. He currently serves on the Music Education Committee of the London Music Fund and is a school governor of Bedford Road Primary School. Ross received De Montfort University Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award in both 2017 and 2018.

Research Summary

Ross's research interests include: various aspects of music education and instrumental learning; the application of GIS and geospatial analysis to education research; children's computer programming; the educational and creative applications of Lego and making; the history of education; teachers' initial education, early career transition and professional development.

Teaching Summary

In 2019-20 Ross is module leader for the 'Critical Studies in Music Pedagogy and Practice' (CCME0086) modules on the UCL Institute of Education's MA in Music Education. Ross also supervises MA dissertations and doctoral students. He leads sessions on music technology and gender to the PGCE Secondary Music and Teach First PGDE Music programmes and contributes guest lectures on the BASC0022 Interactions of Music and Science and CCME0039 Digital Design Thinking and Making modules on other UCL programmes.

02-SEP-2013 – 01-JUL-2018 Senior Lecturer in Education Education Division De Montfort University, United Kingdom
01-APR-2011 – 31-AUG-2013 Subject Coordinator for School-Centred Secondary Music PGCE   Chiltern Training Group, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2009 – 30-SEP-2011 Research Assistant on EC Framework 7 'UMSIC' Project (PT) Arts and Humanities Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2006 – 31-AUG-2013 Joint Course Manager for Music Creative Arts Department Luton Sixth Form College, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2003 – 31-OCT-2006 Research Assistant on 4x Funded Research Projects (PT) School of Arts and Humanities Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom
01-APR-2002 – 30-JUL-2004 Research Assistant on 2x Funded Research Projects Education Department University of Roehampton, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2001 – 31-JUL-2002 Instrument music tutor (woodwind) (PT) Music Department Bedford School, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2001 – 31-AUG-2006 Teacher of A Level Music Technology (PT) Creative Arts Department Luton Sixth Form College, United Kingdom
09-FEB-1999 – 06-SEP-2001 Computer Development Officer School of Engineering and Computer Science University of Exeter, United Kingdom
01-JUL-1993 – 31-JAN-2015 Self-Employed Performing Musician   Freelance, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2017   Doctor University College London
2004   Postgraduate Certificate in Education University of Greenwich
2001   Master of Arts University of London
1998   Bachelor of Science City, University of London
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