Winnie W.C. Lai


Sixth Year Graduate Student in Ethnomusicology

103 Lerner Center


Winnie W. C. Lai (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in music at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), specializing in ethnomusicology and sound studies. She avidly ruminates on the theoretical entanglements of (un)sounding matters, listening bodies, power, and the political. Working across sound studies, political theories, and matters of Hong Kong, she experiments with intermedial methods and field materials to craft spaces for sensory experience. She is completing a hybrid-mode dissertation entitled “Sounding Freedom: Political Aurality and Sound Acts in Hong Kong (Post-)Protest Spaces” with her adviser, Professor Jairo Moreno. She is also interested in studying performed vocalities in singing and everyday living, particularly in the Sinophone world and Asian cultures.

Winnie has received recognition from institutions worldwide, including, for instance, the Price Lab Andrew W. Mellon Mid-Doctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities (2022-2023) from Penn, the 21st Century Fellowship (2023), and a Charles Seeger Prize (2021), honorable mention, from the Society of Ethnomusicology (SEM). Her first published article, “‘Happy Birthday to You’: Music as Nonviolent Weapon in the Umbrella Movement” (2018), was shortlisted for the IBP Best Article on Global Hong Kong Studies in Humanities (2021) by the International Institute for Asian Studies and the Society for Hong Kong Studies, organizations based in the Netherlands and Hong Kong, respectively. Before her academic journey, Winnie won the Best Music Video Award from Sony Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) in December 2013 and later worked as a singer-songwriter, who is now named Michiru W. She also worked as a Teaching Assistant (School of Humanities, Music) from Fall 2014 to Spring 2018 at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

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