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Dr Maria Joao Rodrigues de Araujo

Fellow Commoner in Music


I grew up in Portugal, in a large family where the arts played an important role. I am the penultimate of seven sisters and all of us went to a music conservatoire and learnt to play an instrument. During our school holidays we had fun putting together performances with music, dance, and theatre for our relatives and friends. I developed such a great love for music that I decided to pursue it academically.

I did a Bachelor of Music (BMus Hons) at the University of London, having studied at King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music. I also hold a Licenciatura Degree (a four year undergraduate degree) in Music Sciences from the University Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, having spent one year as Erasmus student at Royal Holloway College, University of London. I did my Doctorate in Music at Christ Church College, Oxford.

My career spans working in academia, industry, and international organizations. Previous appointments include Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Opera House and at the University of Oxford's Faculty of Music; Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford; Member of the Steering Committee of RESEO (European Network for Opera and Dance Education), Brussels; Rapporteur for the European Commission, Directorate for Education and Culture; and Director of Education and Research at Casa da Música, Porto, where I was responsible for education, research, publications, exhibitions, music technologies, and archives, overseeing around 2000 events per year.

I also volunteer as President of ANDI New Dialogue Organization, an international NGO, that promotes human and children's rights through art and education, and helps children in need.


My tutorial teaching has covered aspects of the Oxford undergraduate course in Music History from the Baroque period to the Twentieth Century. I have taught in foreign universities in Europe and America as Visiting Professor in the fields of Arts Education and History of Opera. I have supervised doctoral students in areas related to my own research.

I have taught the following courses for FHS (Final Honours School) in Music at Oxford: The Inception and Dissemination of Opera, 1600-1700; Eighteenth-Century Opera; Mozart Da Ponte Operas; Wagner and Wagnerism; Richard Wagner: the Romantic Operas and Music Dramas; Verdi’s Opera from Rigoletto to Aida; In the Shadow of Beethoven? The Piano Sonata in the Later Nineteenth Century; The Idea of the Sacred in Twentieth-Century Music; Issues in the Music of the Early Twentieth Century.


My research interests are in cultural diplomacy; arts education, creative learning and participation; cultural institutions; creative industries; cultural policy and Wagner studies.

Currently, I lead the project ‘Portugal-UK 650’ that marks the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, the oldest alliance in the world between two countries still in force. ‘Portugal-UK 650’ garners the institutional support of the civil, military, and religious authorities of both nations and has grown to include over 50 partner institutions. Portugal-UK 650 includes research, education, and performance activities. The launch event took place in St James’s Palace with Sung Matins led by the Sub-Dean of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, under the High Patronage of H.E. the President of Portugal.

The Portugal-UK 650 research project involves ­– for the first time in a long-term project about the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance – an interdisciplinary group of Portuguese and British academics from the fields of music, literature, education, law, history, political science, religion, and palaeography-diplomatic, bringing together seven British and Portuguese universities, including academics from four faculties at the University of Oxford.

Previous projects I have led include: ‘Hyperscore in schools’, a research and education project in partnership with the MIT Media Lab and Prof Tod Machover about music cognition, learning, and music pedagogy in technology mediated environments, whose results and educational tools developed were incorporated into ‘Hyperscore’ that has been used by thousands of children and adults around the world;  ‘MUN’, a research and knowledge exchange project that applied my research in arts and museum education, in the planning of the new Museum of the University of Navarra. Inaugurated by Their Majesties The King and Queen of Spain, the Museum has already won awards for its educational work, including a special commendation at the 2018 EMYA - European Museum of the Year Award.