Bristol Next Generation Visiting Researcher Dr Monique Ingalls, Baylor University, USA

Monique Ingalls next generationBritish Gospel Choirs: Representing Race and Resounding Religion in Twenty-first Century Britain

14 February - 3 April 2023


Monique M. Ingalls is Associate Professor of Music and Church Music Graduate Program Director at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, USA. Prior to her appointment at Baylor, she was a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Cambridge (2011-2014) and Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music (2014-2015).

Dr Ingalls’s research examines the effects of 20th and 21st century social, cultural, and technological changes on Christian communities through the lens of congregational music-making, both within and beyond North America. Her work has been published in the fields of ethnomusicology, religious studies, media studies, popular music studies, and theology.

She is the author of Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Shapes Evangelical Community (Oxford University Press, 2018) and is co-editor of four books that model interdisciplinary approaches to studying congregational music-making, and of a book that explores music in digital culture.

Dr Ingalls is dedicated to building collaborative research networks for the study of religious music. She co-founded the “Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives” conference, a biennial international gathering which meets in Cuddesdon, Oxford, UK ( She is senior series editor for the Congregational Music Studies book series with Routledge Press. She is also co-founder and served as the first president of the Religion, Music, and Sound Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Trained as a classical pianist and choral singer, Dr Ingalls has also enjoyed stints as a pop-rock cover band keyboardist, a Javanese gamelan percussion player, and a singer of traditional polyphony from the Republic of Georgia.

Research summary

The collaboration between Dr Justin Williams (Bristol) and Dr Monique Ingalls (Baylor University, USA) addresses a central conceptual and methodological problem: the disconnect between scholarship and research networks relating to British popular music and British religious music. Black British music provides the ideal lens through which to examine how people construct and challenge sacred and secular boundaries through music. The visit includes a Study Day entitled ‘Black British Music: Beyond Sacred and Secular’. Drs Williams and Ingalls and their team of co-organisers are planning innovative ways to involve scholars, music industry personnel, and musicians. The study day will bring together a critical mass of final year PhDs, postdocs, and scholars working across disciplines on Black music in the UK, paving the way toward a more formal establishment of Black British Music Studies. This gathering will provide the impetus for a special journal issue and a peer-reviewed book, The Sacred Dimensions of Black British Popular Music. Drs Ingalls and Williams will then pursue several collaborative research grants to build from these productive foundations.

During the visit, Dr Ingalls will also complete the final phase of research for her monograph British Gospel Choirs: Representing Race and Resounding Religion in Twenty-First Century Britain. This book examines the history, meaning, and sociocultural roles that the gospel choir plays in contemporary Britain. It joins a growing body of research that considers Black music in global perspective and is among the first academic monographs on British gospel music. The book engages in representational justice by amplifying the voices of British gospel music pioneers and practitioners. Dr Ingalls will present different facets of her research in four talks to diverse audiences. Presentation topics include Black women in British gospel music, the social significance of British gospel choirs, and decolonizing music studies curriculum through international collaboration.

Dr Ingalls is hosted by Dr Justin Williams, Department of Music.

Planned activities include the following during her visit include: