Charlotte Armstrong is a postdoctoral researcher specialising in opera and disability studies. Her PhD (University of York, 2020) examined the representation of physical disability and historical discourses of degeneracy in Franz Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and Alexander Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. Charlotte has presented and published her research on the politics and practice of disability representation in opera in musicology, disability studies and performance studies contexts. She also shares her work with audiences outside of academia in the form of guest speaking and writing programme notes and reviews. Her research blog, operaanddisability.com, explores issues surrounding the representation of disability in opera, from staging and casting to narrative and characterisation, including guest posts from opera practitioners and disability activists. In 2021, she held a Brotherton Fellowship at the University of Leeds, where she worked with materials from the Opera North archive to build a picture of the company’s approach to casting, staging and performing disability between 1978 and 2013. She also sits on the board of trustees for the Northern Opera Group and has collaborated on projects with opera organisations including Opera North, Mahogany Opera, HERA and the National Opera Studio.
Currently, Charlotte is the Postdoctoral Research Assistant working with Professor Rachel Cowgill on the AHRC/NEH-funded project ‘The Internet of Musical Events: Digital Scholarship, Community, and the Archiving of Performance’ (InterMusE). The project is investigating new ways of capturing and linking different forms of data around musical events to form a dynamic, open-access digital archive. She brings research expertise in disability studies and assistive technology to the project, as well as a knowledge of preservation issues, communities, and practices, developed through her role as Project Officer for the Open Preservation Foundation (2018-present).