Winnie W. C. Lai is currently a PhD candidate in Music, (Ethno)musicology, and a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, currently based in Philadelphia, U.S.A. and Hong Kong. Her works mainly focus on but are not limited to, musical and sonic activism, urban sounds, the philosophical juncture of sound, music, listening, space, and human acts and bodies, sound studies, performance studies, critical theories, Hong Kong protests, and Hong Kong culture. Winnie is also keen to create sound art and ethnographic films with the use of field materials and innovative ideas as a form of advocacy.


Winnie worked as a Teaching Assistant (School of Humanities, Music) from Fall 2014 to Spring 2018 at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She completed a Master of Philosophy degree in Musicology with a thesis entitled “Sound and Nonviolence: Music as Political Action in Hong Kong” in 2017. In recognition of her studies and research, HKU awarded Winnie the Rayson Huang Scholarship in Music twice in 2012 (undergraduate) and 2017 (postgraduate) respectively.


As a global citizen and nonviolent activist in Hong Kong, Winnie always maintains one belief: music and musicology come with a social obligation, and it is this belief that motivated her to pursue doctoral studies and an academic career in music/sound studies. Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in 2014 was a turning point in Winnie’s life. As this event unfolded, Winnie transformed from a fledgeling singer-songwriter (who won The Best Music Video Award from Sony Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) in December 2013) into a junior (ethno)musicologist working on protest sounds and action. This metamorphosis reflects and builds upon Winnie’s academic mission and personal belief—that is, to be a candid and socially responsible sound and political philosopher.

黎氏現時為賓夕法尼亞大學哲學博士生 及 班傑明·富蘭克林研究員,主修(人類學)音樂學,現居於美國費城及香港。研究方向圍繞聲音及音樂研究、聲音與環境空間、社運和抗議聲音及音樂、表演或呈現研究、香港抗爭及文化、公共音樂學、以及 有關聲音和音樂、聆聽、環境空間、人類行為及舉動、和人體及思考在哲學理論中的關係。黎氏亦熱衷以聲音藝術及影像,展示其創新前衛思維及呈現特定聲音空間實況。


黎氏於2014至2018年獲香港大學(人文學院, 音樂系)聘任為教學助理,並於2017年修畢哲學碩士(音樂學),研究題目為「聲音與非暴力:香港社運的音樂為政治行為」。黎氏於2012年及2017年分別獲香港大學頒發黃麗松獎學金,以表揚其傑出成績。








"'Happy Birthday to You': Music as Nonviolent Weapon in the Umbrella Movement." Hong Kong Studies 1, no. 1 (March, 2018): 66-82.



Academic Presentations


“Making Sense of the ‘Nonsense’: Localisation of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ in the Umbrella Movement.” Joint Forum and East Asian Research Seminar for Graduate Students in Musicology on Music and Mobility, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, May 5-7, 2016. (Keynotes: Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Joseph Lam)


“Sound Acts and Sonic Subversion: Interaction Between Functional Urban Sounds and Populations.” Sound in Motion 2019, University of Bern, Switzerland, September 20-21, 2019. (Keynotes: Michael Bull, Andrew J. Eisenberg, Jason Stanyek)

"Sonic Activism Against the Tear Gas: Hongkonger’s Raging Roars and Sound Acts." 

"Hong Kong’s Annual June 4th Vigil: Relics of the Tiananmen Protests." Legacies of Tiananmen. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan 天安門事件的歷史遺緒. 中國,香港,台灣, CEFC Taipei, Taiwan, June 3, 2020. Webinar.



Multimedia Projects


Roar with Rage: Sounding Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Protests (2019). SEM Ethnographic Documentary Pre-conference Workshop “Film as Ethnography, Activism, and Public Work in Ethnomusicology,” November 6, 2019, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.

Stand With Hong Kong: Sounding Pain and Roar Through the Lennon Walls, Sound Art Installation

  • Sound Studies SIG, SEM, at the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, November 7-10, 2019, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, U.S.A.

  • Experiments in Audio Ethnography for Graduate Seminar "Audio Ethnography" (Public Section), Center for Experimental Ethnography in the University of Pennsylvania, December 8, 2019, The Mosaic Hall at Penn Museum, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.

  • Sounding Spaces, 7th Biennial Yale Graduate Music Symposium, Yale University, New Haven, CT, U.S.A., February 28-29, 2020.



Published on: 1 June 2019

Last update: 28 May 2020

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