About the researcher

Julianne Oc is a professional songwriter, musician and practice-researcher based in Warwickshire.  

After working as a grass roots musician for many years performing solo, with bands and leading her own band Singlemum, Julianne signed to a subsidiary of Universal Production Music in 2021. Her first album White Camellia was released in 2021 into UPM industry and on all major streaming platforms. Her second album Black Sheep is due to be released in 2024. Her music placements include global film and TV networks and BBC and ITV in the UK.  

Julianne holds the roles of Associate Lecturer and MA Mentor at BIMM University Birmingham, where she graduated her first-class degree in Songwriting.  

Research interests

My PhD Selling Songs in Dark Times, contextualised by sexist and ageist paradigms within the music industry, experiments with the concept of femphonosophy: feminist thought and wisdom that may be derived from sound and music’ (Ferrett 2021: 3).  

Research interests include:  

  • Dark Femphonosophy. 
  • Representation of women in contemporary popular music. 
  • Ageism and sexism in contemporary popular music. 
  • Music and song creation, composition and performance as sonic and visual resistance to patriarchy. 
  • Pathways into commercial music industry for marginalised artists.  
  • Practice-as-research.  

Julianna Oc


Thesis title

Selling Songs in Dark Times. Dark femphonosophy in practice: midlife songwriting in contemporary popular music.  


My practice-as-research study utilises professional songwriting and singing to autoethnographically research the midlife cis woman in contemporary popular music culture. The composition and recorded performance of songs for the album Black Sheep, are created for a commercial publishing brief and provide the framework for praxis supported by intersectional feminist theories and dark-femphonosophy.  

‘Dark Times’ is an expression that is interpreted in this PhD specifically in relation to a) sexist and ageist discrimination within the music industry; b) a challenging economic and cultural climate. In addition, this study classifies the dark as a metaphorical repository for the traumatic; a place where the unknown, unseen and unheard; repressed and oppressed, reside out of sight, sans light.  

Two distinct methodologies of practice-as-research and autoethnography are utilised. The core output of the research is songs for Black Sheep and the affiliated insights from their creation. Autoethnography is used as method to document reflexive and artistic processes. These include narratives relating to lived experience, approaches to the developing practice, epiphanic moments driven by theoretical reading and music creation, and to capture personal and artistic impacts of autoethnographic epiphanies unfolding during practice-research. 

By studying internalised bodily abjections and uncovering personal complicities with oppressive patriarchal systems, I attempt to artistically excavate ‘dark’ sounds of subjugation from within my female midlife body. Awakened by dark epiphany, reflexivity and vocal experimentation, the aim is to unearth these buried sounds, voice them through performative melodic catharsis, and place them in songs. Thus, ‘darkness’ will also be presented in the final thesis, as a space which houses possibility, transcendent imagination and triggers for transformation. The subsequent commercial placement of these unearthed female dark sounds within contemporary popular music and media, sonically navigates resistance to patriarchal music-industry paradigms; lyrically, compositionally, through tone and expression, and by thematically embedding contexts of female midlife and motherhood within mainstream contemporary-popular music. 


Year Qualification Awarding body
2021 BA Hons Songwriting first class  University of Sussex 
2012 PTLLS Preparing to Teach in the Life-Long Learning Sector  University of Wolverhampton 

Areas of expertise

  • Songwriting and composition
  • Contemporary music performance and creation
  • Popular music culture
  • Femphonosophy
  • Practice-as-research

Visit Julianne's Spotify