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Toby Huelin

LAHRI Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Clothworkers South Building, University of Leeds Campus
Arts, Humanities and Cultures
Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Arts and Humanities Research Institute at the University of Leeds. My research investigates music in the media industries, using interdisciplinary methods to analyse the practices of production and synchronisation that shape audiovisual culture. My PhD thesis (awarded December 2022 with Recommendation of Research Excellence) examined the use of library music (also known as ‘stock’ or ‘production’ music) in the contemporary British TV industry.

My research publications include peer-reviewed journal articles in Music and the Moving Image, Critical Studies in Television, and the European Journal of American Culture, and book chapters for several edited volumes (Palgrave Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Routledge). I am currently working on invited chapters for the Oxford Handbook of Music and Television and the Palgrave Handbook of Music in Peak TV. I have presented my research at international conferences including Music and the Moving Image (New York University), Song, Stage and Screen (University of Salzburg), and Hidden Figures of Screen Music and Sound (University of London), and have been invited to give guest lectures about my research at the University of Ottawa and the University of Leeds.

I am the founder of the British Audio-Visual Research Network’s Virtual Colloquia, an AHRC-funded series of academic lectures and industry interviews which began in January 2021. To date, these events have included over 30 presentations from academics based across four continents, in addition to interviews with BAFTA Award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated composers and sound designers. Last year, I co-organised the study day, “Library Music in Audiovisual Media”, supported by the RMA and the University of Leeds. The event featured over 100 delegates based across Europe, Asia, and North and South America, and I am currently co-editing a special journal issue for Music, Sound, and the Moving Image arising from this event.

Industry Experience & Professional Practice

Alongside my research, I am active within the TV industry as a media composer: my music has recently featured in the Emmy Award-winning series United Shades of America (CNN), the Grierson Award-nominated documentary Subnormal: A British Scandal (BBC One) and an international advertising campaign for internet brand Honey. My work is regularly heard on national primetime TV and recent series include Panorama (BBC One), Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One), Masterchef (BBC One), and Dispatches (Channel 4). I am a composer-member of BAFTA as part of their Connect scheme.

I also hold broader interests in television development and production: in 2020, I was accepted onto the Edinburgh TV Festival’s TV PhD scheme, a joint venture with the AHRC. As part of this scheme, I was selected to pitch a TV show idea based on my research to commissioners at the BBC and Discovery, and this was broadcast live as one of the Festival sessions. My show concept was optioned by Nutopia, a leading international production company, and is currently in development. I completed an industry placement with Nutopia and was also invited to speak at the TV Festival’s AHTV: Exploring Research in Television event (2021).

Education & Teaching

I hold a First Class degree in Music from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Composition with Distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a PhD in Music from the University of Leeds (fully funded by the AHRC via the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities). I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) and hold a PGCE in Music Education from the University of Buckingham. I have also studied TV Scoring through New York University with composers including Sean Callery (24, Homeland) and Nathan Barr (True Blood, The Americans).

At the University of Leeds, I have taught and assessed on a range of modules, including “Film Music: From Text to Interpretation” and “Music in History and Culture”. Most recently, I worked as a Visiting Lecturer for the library-music component of the “Film-Score Creation and Production” module. I previously re-designed, taught and assessed the musicology component of the “Introduction to Music Studies” module, and have also led workshop sessions on dissertation preparation for the Leeds Excellence in the Arts Programme (LEAP). Prior to joining the University of Leeds, I taught in a range of educational contexts, most recently leading the music department in a large FE college.


  • BA Hons Music, First Class (University of Oxford)
  • MMus Composition, Distinction (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
  • PGCE Music Education (University of Buckingham)
  • PhD Music (University of Leeds)


Professional memberships

  • BAFTA (Connect)