James Gabrillo is a PhD student at Peterhouse, supervised by Nicholas Cook, Matthew Machin-Autenrieth and David Trippett. Funded by a Cambridge International Scholarship, his research focuses on musical spectacles in the Philippines, where he was born and raised. Specifically, he is interested in Manila’s mainstream culture in the 1990s, particularly musical works that were deemed mass or lowbrow, such as pop records and song-and-dance numbers in cinema.
He recently finished an MPhil in Cambridge with a dissertation on music and politics, arguing that the tradition of campaign songs in Philippine presidential elections cast the country's politicians not only as public servants but also as entertainers. He did a BA at the University of the Philippines with a thesis on how design creates cohesion in television texts.
Prior to coming to Cambridge, James was a full-time journalist and has reported from cities including Abu Dhabi, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Berlin. He continues to contribute as a writer and editor to Al Jazeera English, The National, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Rogue Magazine.