Skip to main content

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, Tempo Reale (Italy), Groupe de Recherche de Musique Vivante (France), Studio Matejka (Poland), Imitating the Dog (UK), Blast Theory (UK), 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 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 project explored clown practices for the benefits of people living with dementia, looking at the potential of clown doctors and tele-health clowning or internet-mediated services in this context. It examined the provision of playful interactive experiences for leisure and entertainment with the aim for these applications to be used at homes, in community centres or care homes.
  • Northern Voices Opera Project: investigating the technical and cultural possibilities for English language opera incorporating regional identity through accent:
  • The UoS 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 in January 2018 will be discussed by Dr. I. Wilkie at the International Humor Studies Conference in Tallinn, Estonia in July and the study will be published in Comedy Studies Journal later in the year.
  • 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.
  • God’s Own Caught in No Man’s Land : a major commission from the BBC Philharmonic commemorating Salford’s role in the first World War (for 2016)
  • 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:
  • The Tank Tram Project: Triangle Theatre The Tank Tram project will investigate Public Performance and Military Technology as part of the HLF First World War heritage projects.
  • 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

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

Currently available funded PhD studentships for 2019-20

Dr Sheila McCormick
Lecturer in Performance, Admissions Lead Performance, Co-Lead Music and Performance Research Group, School of Arts and Media, Room 5.12, New Adelphi Building, The University of Salford, M5 4BR
0161 295 6841,

Dr Steve Kilpatrick
Lecturer in Music Technology
School of Arts and Media, Room 5.02, New Adelphi Building, The University of Salford, M5 4BR
0161 295 2692,