I am Lecturer in English in the department and I specialise in the area of popular musical and subcultural studies. My research considers countercultural legacies in Britain. I want to know why we should care about movements like post-punk, for instance. How were they bound up with the political shifts of their eras? What can we learn from the ways they were produced and received? How did factors like class and education play a part? And whose interests are served by the ways that popular music and subcultures get represented, remembered and reworked - in literature, film and other cultural forms?
These questions inform my monograph Post-Punk, Politics and Pleasure in Britain (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). They also guide my current research project and planned second monograph on how countercultural legacies inform contemporary culture and politics, from hipsters to urban regeneration. In turn, this feeds into my teaching on modules such as Manchester and the City.
Beyond popular music and subcultures, I’m interested in utopian studies, urban studies and Marxist cultural theory, especially cultural materialism.
Having played on/off in half-forgotten or barely existent bands since my teens, I'm very much a product of the 'DIY' cultures I research and teach. I spend a lot of my spare time going to gigs, walking and dreaming of having a dog.
I’ve benefited hugely from the historical expansion of higher education and I’m committed to the principle of equal and inclusive access to this opportunity. As an English undergraduate, I discovered the legacy of Cultural Studies in the critical tools of theory and took the opportunity to analyse popular culture alongside literary classics.
My study was an exhilarating time. It fed what I got up to creatively and (perhaps most importantly) helped me develop the skills to ask big questions about the world and the place of culture within it. These are skills that you can ‘transfer’ to many different contexts of employment. Much more vitally, though, an English degree at its best produces inquisitive, critical citizens who never stop learning and who have the confidence to question, dissent and imagine anew. Crucial to this process for me were some fantastic tutors who combined intellectual rigour with warmth, humour and a willingness to encourage and expand my interests. A hard act to follow - but my own teaching is inspired by what they did for me.
After completing a degree in English at Manchester Metropolitan University, I worked, moved to Berlin and travelled the United States. I applied for AHRC funding to take up postgraduate study at the University of Manchester, where I won full awards to pursue an MA in Post-1900 Literatures, Theories and Cultures followed by a PhD with Dr David Alderson as my supervisor.
I spent two years as a researcher on the Leverhulme project ‘Punk, Politics and British Youth Culture’ with the historian Professor Matthew Worley and the politics scholar Professor John Street. Following a year spent teaching across English, Film and Media and Popular Music at Manchester Metropolitan, I was appointed in a permanent role in the English department in August 2016.
Level 4 - Critical Dialogues
Level 5 - Manchester and the City
Level 6 - Cultures of Life and Death
I am Director of Studies for the following PhD projects:
-Thomas Walker, Post-Punk and Masculinity
I am on the supervisory team of the following PhD projects:
-Spencer Meeks (University Scholarship), Corrective Lenses: Reading the Neuro-Turn
-Andrea Ros (University Scholarship), Gothic Contagion: Reproductive Themes in Gothic Representations of Infectious Disease
D. Wilkinson (2016). Post-Punk, Politics and Pleasure in Britain. Springer.
J. Street, M. Worley, D. Wilkinson (2018). 'Does it threaten the status quo?' Elite responses to British punk, 1976-1978. Popular Music. 37(2), pp.271-289.
D. Wilkinson Mark E. Smith, Brexit Britain and the Aesthetics and Politics of the Working Class Weird. Open Library of Humanities.
D. Wilkinson, M. Worley, J. Street (2016). 'I Wanna See Some History': Recent Writing on British Punk. Contemporary European History. 26(2), pp.397-411.
DB. Wilkinson (2015). Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have?): Punk, Politics and Same-Sex Passion. Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism. pp.57-76.
D. Wilkinson (2014). ‘Prole Art Threat’: The Fall, the Blue Orchids and the politics of the post-punk working-class autodidact. Punk & Post Punk. 3(1), pp.67-82.
DB. Wilkinson (2018). 'Pam ponders Paul Morley’s at’: City Fun and the politics of post-punk. K. Gildart, A. Gough-Yates, S. Lincoln, B. Osgerby, L. Robinson, J. Steet, P. Webb, M. Worley. In: Ripped, Torn and Cut Pop, Politics and Punk Fanzines from 1976. Manchester University Press,
DB. Wilkinson (2017). Punk and Sexuality. In: Punk Is Dead Modernity Killed Every Night. John Hunt Publishing,
DB. Wilkinson (2017). Agents of Change: Cultural Materialism, Post-Punk and the Politics of Popular Music. In: Youth Culture and Social Change Making a Difference by Making a Noise. Springer,
DB. Wilkinson (2016). Blue Monday: A Fact Sheet. In: The Blue Monday Diaries In the Studio with New Order. Plexus Publishing,
DB. Wilkinson (2014). Is Natural In It? Gang of Four, Scritti Politti and Gramsci. In: Litpop: Writing and Popular Music. Routledge,
Roundtable on fanzine culture as part of the 2016 Punk London festival.
I organised the Subcultures Network conference 'Raymond Williams, Popular Music and Subcultures Now', which took place in May 2016. The event explored the potential of a new theoretical approach to the study of subcultures, popular music and social change. It brought together academics, musicians and educators. Those who spoke and attended came from a diverse range of international backgrounds.
Reviewer for Palgrave Macmillan on punk/post-punk related submissions
Reviewer for Punk + Post-Punk journal
2019 - British Academy Small Grant: 'Countercultural Media in the British Regions: Politics, Leagcies and Place'
I am on the editorial board of Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism and Punk & Post-Punk.