Music and Performance Research Group
The Music and Performance Research Group comprises practitioners of, and writers on, subjects related to music, theatre, drama and dance. Members of the group actively compose music, write drama and comedy, perform and devise theatre, work in applied theatre and digital contexts, create technological applications, record and engineer sound, and write about all aspects of cultural theory related to these practices. We are particularly adept at using collaborative and interdisciplinary and Practice as Research (PaR) methods in addressing research inquiries. We have well-established creative and research partnerships with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra, Psappha, Manchester Collective, Imitating the Dog, Blast Theory, Triangle Theatre (UK) and Ridiculusmus (UK/Australia). Our researchers act as consultants for the Blue Note recording label, as well as regularly having work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4.
We have research specialisms in:
- the interaction between traditional artistic disciplines and digital technologies and culture; examples of this include gaming controllers used to allow audiences to directly affect the playback of music during performance; the incorporation of digital technology into live performance; the use of digital recording technology to emulate analogue technology
- interactive and location-based performance; our researchers have been working with leading location-based companies such as Blast Theory to create rules-based performance environments in which the audience become protagonists
- collaborative and interdisciplinary working methods; this includes working with artists from other disciplines; working in communal and unscripted structures; embedding performance within communities
- working within a community context as applied practitioners or artists with expert knowledge
- understanding popular culture; including popular music culture, live performance cultures, tribute acts and boybands, arena performances and online audience participation.
- Modelling Interactive Clown Practices for Virtual Game Design applications in Dementia Care: this is part of a wider project exploring virtual clowning practices for the benefits for older people and people living with a dementia diagnosis. The project develops ‘Elder Clown’ methods in webinar spaces as part of tele-health clowning or adult social services more broadly.
- Northern Voices Opera Project: investigating the technical and cultural possibilities for English language opera incorporating regional identity through accent. This project led to the world’s first Yorkshire opera, The Arsonists, with a libretto by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan.
- The Sound of Laughter Project team based in the Performance directorate has captured data about the reflexive laughter interaction made between stand-up comedian and audience. Findings from the pilot experiment run at the New Adelphi were presented by Dr. I. Wilkie at the International Humor Studies Conference in Tallinn, Estonia and the study has been published in the Comedy Studies Journal later.
- The Performance, Death and Dinner project looks at the use of autoethnographic performance strategies to transgress taboo and encourage discussion around issues of death and dying.
- Paynter – an original piece of tablet-based software designed for Key Stage1 and Key Stage 2 pupils in primary schools. Paynter was designed to give pupils who are not necessarily highly experienced in the use of either Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) or notation the ability to create and manipulate musical and sonic ideas in order to create a sonic narrative.
- Low Four Studios A research and enterprise commercial partnership led By Dr Brendan Williams, Low Four is a versatile bespoke recording studio in the centre of Manchester where many of Williams’ Practice as Research recording activities have taken place, including those by Blue Note-signed acoustic-electronical trio Go Go Penguin.
- The Kraken Wakes. A multidisciplinary project featuring writer Val McDermid, the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Research and Development, BBC Radio Drama, and AHRC funded PhD students and music staff part of which was already featured in the 2015 BBC Proms: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b068tsj1
- The Ballad of Isosceles commissioned by Contact Theatre’s Sensored Festival of Art and Performance and shown at Catalyst Arts’s FIX15 Biennale and SLAP York’s SLAP 2019 festival before being developed into a VR film experience presented at New Adelphi Theatre.
- Music composition using notation
- Electro-acoustic music composition
- Algorithmic, interactive and generative music
- Popular music and cultural studies
- Jazz Studies
- Applied theatre
- Creative writing for drama
- Contemporary performance techniques
- Digital performance
- Location-based and interactive performance
- Dr Phil Brissenden
- Simon Connor
- Dr Tracy Crossley
- Lisa Cullen
- Dr Robin Dewhurst
- Luke Harrison
- Dr Adam Hart
- Jostine Loubser
- Dr Alison Matthews
- Dr Sheila McCormick
- Lisa Moore
- Clare Neylon
- Dr Daniel Price
- Justin Richards
- Dr Joanne Scott
- Dr Nicola Spelman
- Dr Richard Talbot
- Dr Ian Wilkie
- Prof Alan Williams
- Dr Brendan Williams
- Dr Anna Wilson
- Dr Tim Wise
- Niki Woods
- Dr Kelli Zezulka
Dr R Talbot
Senior Lecturer in Performance, Performance Research Lead, School of Arts and Media, New Adelphi Building, The University of Salford, M5 4BR
Professor Alan Williams
Professor of Collaborative Composition, Music Research Group Lead, School of Arts and Media, New Adelphi Building, The University of Salford, M5 4BR