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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Student aims for air guitar PhD
Amanda Griffiths
Amanda Griffiths is fascinated why so few women play air guitar
A dance teacher who took part in a national air guitar competition on the spur of the moment has begun researching for a PhD in the subject.

Amanda Griffiths, originally from Mold, was offered the place at the University of Salford after meeting a pop music academic on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

She began her studies in January and is preparing to give a lecture at an air guitar training camp in Finland.

"I'm fascinated, some might say obsessed, with air guitar," she said.

"I made a mad decision to enter a competition in Manchester. I did it sort of on the spur of the moment, " said Ms Griffiths.

Because I'm a woman and I'm also a bit of a feminist, although I don't like to shout it too loudly, I'm fascinated by the gender aspect of it and why there are so few woman who do it
Amanda Griffiths

"I had always done air guitar when I was tipsy at weddings and that sort of thing but I only entered on the day of the competition - it might have had something to so with coming up to my 30th birthday."

The freelance dance teacher and arts development worker won the competition and went to London for the final, placing fourth.

"I became fascinated by the whole scene, the dressing up and the trouble people go to for these amazing performances," said the 32-year-old, who now lives in Manchester.

After the contest, she was invited to discuss women in air guitar on the radio programme, where she met Professor Sheila Whitely.

Amanda Griffiths
Ms Griffiths will be researching at the Air Guitar World Championships

Noticing Ms Griffiths' fascination with its cultural aspects, such as the performance and audience participation, she asked her if she would like to study for the doctorate under her supervision.

Later this month, she will be researching at the 10th Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland.

"I've got a background in dance so it focuses quite a lot on the performance and choreography of air guitar," she said.

"Because I'm a woman and I'm also a bit of a feminist, although I don't like to shout it too loudly, I'm fascinated by the gender aspect of it and why there are so few woman who do it."

'Obsession'

When she announced to her former colleagues at a housing advice centre that she was leaving to pursue her studies in air guitar, "the whole room fell silent".

"People who don't know me are very amused, generally bewildered," said Ms Griffiths, who is funding her studies herself.

"A lot of my friends think it's hilarious, they think it's great.

"There are a lot of people who do PhDs to rack up the qualifications but I'm fascinated, some might say obsessed, with air guitar.

"I'm doing the PhD because I love the subject. I want to do the best I can with it."


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