External Activities

Internationally, Professor McKay has been a visiting scholar at University of Southern Maine (1994), University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria (1996) and University of Sydney (2008), and has worked on local British Council projects and events in Bulgaria, Poland and Tunisia. Major European projects he has been part of are:

Public engagement and collaboration

Professor McKay is committed to public engagement: he has been Professor in Residence at the award-winning Kendal Calling pop festival (2011), and at EFG London Jazz Festival (2014). He was the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement award in the UEA's annual Engagement Awards in 2020.

As a researcher he has worked with a range of cultural and media organisations, including Community Media Association, Cheltenham Festivals, Community Music East, Europe Jazz Network, More Music, British Council, Lancaster Jazz Festival, Serious Music, and MSN.

He has appeared on all major BBC radio stations, BBC TV and ITV, various community radio stations, discussing his work or as an academic ‘expert’. He has written for the GuardianIndependentNew Statesman, and intermittently reviews for the Times Higher. 

Conference organisation

To date, he has been involved in the organisation of more than 40 UK and international academic conferences, symposia and research events, including notably as lead organiser of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (UK & I) 2012 and Media, Communication & Cultural Studies Association 2011 conferences. Since joining UEA, these are: 

  • Member, organising committee, Rhythm Changes VII international conference, Jazz Now, Amsterdam Conservatory (2020; postponed to 2022)
  • Street Music conference (with Dr Lizzie Bennett), UEA (2019)
  • Member, organising committee, Rhythm Changes VI international conference, Jazz Journeys, Kunstuniversität Graz (2019)
  • New Perspectives in Participatory Arts conference (with Dr Lucy Wright), UEA (2018)
  • Punk in the Provinces public symposium, Norwich Arts Centre (2017)
  • Member, organising committee, Rhythm Changes V international conference, Re-Sounding Jazz, Amsterdam Conservatory (2017)
  • Global Challenges Research Fund and Collaborative Research international symposium, UEA (2017)
  • Member, organising committee, CHIME project international conference, Festival, Music, Heritage, Siena (2017)
  • Litcom 1: A Conference on Literature and Communities, UEA/Writers’ Centre, Norwich (2017)
  • (with Profs Charles Forsdick and Paul Gilroy), AHRC Reggae Research Network and conference, UEA/Liverpool/London (2017)
  • Utopia 500 Connected Communities conference, British Library, London (2016)
  • (with Dr Emma Webster) EFG London Jazz Festival, Jazz and the City symposium (2016)
  • Member, scientific committee, Keep It Simple Make It Fast 3rdinternational conference, University of Porto (2016)
  • Co-curator, Utopia 500 AHRC commemoration events, nationwide: http://utopia500.org.uk (2016)
  • Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion, Cheltenham Jazz Festival (2016)
  • Changing the Future Research Landscape? Connected Communities ECRs conference, UEA (2016)
  • Member, organising committee, Rhythm Changes IV international conference, Jazz Utopia, Birmingham City University (2016)
  • Soundings & Findings: A Connected Communities Research Conference, UEA (2015)
  • Festival Cultures: Media, Music, Place conference, UEA (2015).

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