Ruth Hellier
Professor, Ethnomusicology Program
Office Location

Music Building 1105

Office Hours

By appointment


  • Sonic arts and environmental sensitivities: birds, plants and ecologies
    • This project engages with soundscape ecologies (specifically birds but extending to all acoustic elements) and sonic arts to examine issues of environmental and more-than-human activities.
    • (Courses: Sonic arts and environmental creativity (MUS 168) Spring 2021; Environmental Arts + Sciences: Performing Balance (INT 94UR) Spring 2018; Aqua Rising: exploring sonic, visual and movement arts for ecological sensitivity (INT 94VY) Spring 2020). 
  • Performance Studies
  • Experimental performance, postdramatic theater, and postmemory
  • Politics and cultural histories of performance (musics, theater, and dance) in Mexico
  • Nationalism, tourism, and twentieth-century Mexican history
  • Voice, singing, choirs, music and biography
  • Community arts and education
  • Music and Sport
  • Eco-justice, activism and performance (music, theatre, dance)


Curriculum Vitae

Ruth Hellier, PhD, is a scholar, creative artist and performer, whose work engages in interdisciplinary ways with the areas of performance studies, critical and interdisciplinary music, dance and theatre studies; community arts; cultural history; critical memory/heritage studies; and Mexican and Latin American studies. Her research and creative projects explore issues of identity, memory and history; power relations; tourism; embodiment; experimentalisms; vocality; ecologies and environmental issues; and the ethics in/of performance and research.

Publications include Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism, and Performance (OUP); chapters in Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory, and Music, Power and Politics; articles in Performance Research and Research in Drama Education; an edited collection, Women Singers in Global Contexts  (University of Illinois Press) and Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico (Intellect & University of Chicago Press).

She holds BA Hons in Music, Drama and Dance, PGCE in Drama in Education; and PhD in Performance Studies and Critical Dance Studies. Ruth had a successful career as a professional stage and TV actor, and also worked as a community arts facilitator, and Head of Music in secondary education. In the field of arts and disability, she directed the InterAct Theatre Workshop.

Current Faculty Positions

Professor: University of California, Santa Barbara. Department of Music

Affiliated Faculty: Theater and Dance; Feminist Studies: Latin American and Iberian Studies

Current Leadership Roles

Former Editor-in-Chief: Journal of Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos (UC Press), 2014–2019, Volumes 31– 35. (

Specialist Training

  • 1997-1998: P'urhépecha language: Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México.

  • 1994: Teaching English as a Foreign Language: International House, London. Certificate Royal Society of Arts/UCLES TEFLA.

  • 1993: Tanzanian arts: Bagamoyo College of Arts, Bagamoyo, Tanzania, Africa.

  • 1985-1987: Puppetry: Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre, Birmingham, Puppetry, teacher: John Blundell.

  • 1985-1992: Acting & Directing: The Actors Centre, London, Manchester and Birmingham.

  • 1980-1983: Opera: Birmingham School of Music. Teacher: Janet Edmunds.

  • 1973-1983: Alexander Technique: Chelmsford (Essex Schools String Orchestra) and Birmingham University.

  • 1973-1979: Piano and Violin: Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, Junior Music School scholarship, Piano and Violin. Grade VIII, Piano and Grade VIII, Violin, Royal Schools of Music, 1979.

  • 1969-1978: Dance (ballet, tap, modern) Brenda Goddard School of Dancing, Essex.


Three strands: 1. Performer, creative artist; 2. Head of Music; 3. Professor

  • July 2019: Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • July 2013: Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • July 2011: Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • 2002-2011: Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor, USA equivalent). University of Winchester, UK [full-time, tenured.]
    • Performing Arts, Contemporary Experimental Performance & Theatre; Applied Theatre; Music Theatre.
    • Visiting Associate Professor: University of California, Santa Barbara (Sep-Dec: on leave from the University of Winchester), 2010.
    • Visiting Lecturer, Departments of Music and Theater & Dance: University of California, Santa Barbara (Sep-June on leave from the University of Winchester), 2008-09.
    • Research Fellow, Arts and Humanities Research Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance, SOAS, University of London, 2005.

[2000–2001: writing doctoral dissertation]

  • 2000-01: Lecturer in Performing Arts, Dance and Performance Studies: South Birmingham College, Birmingham [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Lecturer in Latin American and Caribbean History: Department of Comparative American Studies, University of Warwick [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Studio Teacher, voice and singing: Birmingham Theatre School, Birmingham [part-time].
  • 2000-01: Teacher, classroom music, drama/dance, and Choir Director: Camp Hill School (ages 11–18), Birmingham [part-time].

[1994-1999: undertaking fieldwork for doctoral research in Mexico. Extended periods.]

  • 1995-1996: Head of Music, classroom teaching, Choir director, Orchestra conductor, Dance director, Piano accompanist for Mass: Bishop Challoner School (11–18), Birmingham.
  • 1994-1995: Head of Music, classroom teaching, Choir director, Orchestra conductor, Wind band director, Dance director, piano accompanist for Mass: St Thomas Aquinas School (11-18), Birmingham.
  • 1994: Teacher, drama and performing arts: Countersthorpe Community College (14–16), Leicestershire.

[1990-1991: Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Drama in Education – full-time student.]

  • 1983-1993: Actor, musician, puppeteer, musical director, composer, dancer:
    • UK (Repertory, touring, community, children’s, educational, TV)
    • [see section Creative Works Prior to 2003 for details].
  • 1983-1993: Workshop leader: theatre arts, dance and music (including, Community arts facilitator and workshop leader, Artlink, West Midlands Arts, 1985-1991).
  • 1979-1980: Choir director and piano accompanist: The College Singers, Writtle College, University of Essex.


  • Ph.D. 
    • Birmingham City University, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 2002.
    • Performance Studies and Critical Dance Studies
    • Title: “Removing the Mask: The Viejitos Dance as Ideological and Political Tool in Post-Revolution Mexico 1920-1940.”
  • P.G.C.E.             
    • University of Central England.  Drama in Education, 1991. Postgraduate Certificate of Education.
  • B.A. Hons         
    • University of Birmingham.  Music, Drama & Dance, 1983.


Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico book cover

Performing Palimpsest Bodies: Postmemory Theatre Experiments in Mexico

Intellect and University of Chicago Press, 2019

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco

Women Singers in Global Contexts: Music, Biography, Identity book cover

Women Singers in Global Contexts: Music, Biography, Identity

University of Illinois Press, 2013

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco

Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism & Performance book cover

Embodying Mexico: Tourism, Nationalism & Performance

Oxford University Press, 2011

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco