Dr Simon Chambers

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

An insight into how culture is produced and consumed.

Dr Simon Chambers is a cultural sociologist whose work involves understanding the dynamics of how culture is produced and engaged with by audiences.

His work mainly focuses on developing new knowledge around the structure of cultural domains. He also has an interest in the design and development of recommendation algorithms  to encourage people to engage with different types of culture.



Dr Chambers researches fields of cultural practice  to understand how they evolve and the ways in which they are meaningful to audiences in contemporary society.

His particular interest is how digital platforms are changing the way in which culture is produced and consumed.

He looks at how recommendation algorithms can be designed to encourage people to engage with unfamiliar genres of music – so that people will go beyond their comfort zones and explore culture that is unfamiliar to them.

The best part of my research is interviewing people about why they like the music they listen to. It's such a simple question - and part of people's everyday lives - but it's often perplexing for people and can lead to discovering a really rich trajectory which has led them to their current musical tastes.

His current research project is examining the Australian improvised music scene to document its inter-relationships and to understand how the genre has evolved over time. This is the first large-scale survey of this under-explored area of Australian culture.


Research into the shifting roles of culture and how people engage with culture is crucial for Australia’s $112 billion creative industries.

Dr Chambers’ work will illustrate the benefit of culture to all Australians, help to reduce inequities in how we provide access to arts and culture, and inform how the arts are subsidised.

By learning more about how people form an attachment to the culture they enjoy we can better understand how culture can work to both stratify society and, more optimistically, to bring people together.

His research into different platforms for listening to music is informed by a desire to influence policy to ensure that the diverse music of Australian musicians, songwriters and composers remains visible as people increasingly shift to digital listening.

The knowledge he produces can be employed to better attract and engage audiences - both in digital environments and in physical attendance. Dr Chambers’ research has been applied at the Australian Music Centre to inform how it documents and promotes music by Australian composers and sound artists.

The Australian Music Navigator project involved developing cutting edge digital infrastructure for discovering and accessing Australia's rich musical landscape. The resulting online facility has aided in the discovery of Australian music by hundreds of thousands of users around the world - facilitating the exploration of the rich relationships among creators, performers, works, products and events .

This project was an ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities project that involved a partnership between the Australian Music Centre, Western Sydney University and Edith Cowan University.

In future, Dr Chambers’ research into how Australian music is represented on different platforms will inform policy positions on the regulation of digital music services.


Dr Chambers’ professional background is in the media and music industries. He undertook senior business management roles for the Australian Music Centre and APRA AMCOS, Australasia’s leading music rights management organisation representing songwriters, composers and publishers.

He completed his PhD at Western Sydney University in 2021. His doctoral thesis examined how the concept of ‘distance’ contributes to our ability to know and engage with particular areas of artistic practice.





Dr Chambers welcomes collaboration with arts, the media and entertainment industries and IT to provide multiple disciplinary perspectives and ensure research is aligned industry problems. This might be in the context of a small-scale pilot project or a project design phase for a more substantial research scope.

He approaches collaborations as an opportunity to co-design research projects in ways that go beyond passive consultation to develop meaningful outcomes for those most impacted by the research.


LocationWestern Sydney University Westmead campus