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Composition & Creative Practice Composition & Creative Practice
Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research
Musicology Musicology
Film Film
Sonic Arts Research Centre Sonic Arts Research Centre

The School of Creative Arts at Queen’s provides one of most diverse and active research environments in the UK or Ireland.  35 high-profile academics and a community of over 100 research students are engaged in projects in each area of Music, Film, Drama and Sonic Arts.

The School has been highly rated in the last two Research Assessment Exercises in the UK and has been at the forefront of a number of key creative research activities in the last twenty years.

The School boasts world-class facilities including the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), one of the foremost establishments in the world for research and performance using new technology, and the Brian Friel Theatre within the Drama and Film Centre.

More information about each of the research areas can be found below.  For those interested in studing a PhD, please visit our PhD degrees page.

Research Areas:




Eighteenth-century studies is particularly well founded with four full-time academics working and publishing extensively on music and theatre, music and colonialism, dance, Handel, Bach and Mozart. Queen’s is also the host institution which initiated the internationally-respected Bach Bibliography and has a lively interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CECS) with regular guest seminars. Nineteenth and early twentieth-century studies are also strongly represented with emphases on English music, in particular the life and work of Elgar, Czech music, in particular the life and work of Dvorak and Martinu, Irish music in the nineteenth century and the history and sociology of traditional music, and Strauss. Nationalism and constructions of English music in the twentieth century are also important as research focuses.  Click here for more information.

Click here for more information on the Musicology PhD degree and how to apply

Composition & Creative Practice


Composition and creative practice is also extensively cultivated by the six composers based in the School. Their expertise covers note-based composition, electroacoustic music through to live and generative performance activities. Click here for more information.


Research students from both these areas become part of a lively research community with regular seminars from well-known musicologists and composers (recent guests have included the scholars Trevor Herbert, David Cooper, Paul Rodmell, Robin Leaver and John Irving and the composers Philip Cashian, Judith Weir and Stephen Pratt). The School also has an enviable track record in hosting major international conferences, including the Biennial International Baroque Conference (2010) and Music in 19th-Century Britain (2011). The School will also be holding the annual Society for Musicology in Ireland’s (SMI) annual postgraduate conference on 27 and 28 January, 2011.

Prospective PhD students are advised to contact a member of staff working in their area of interest before submitting an application. For more information concerning staff research expertise please visit the School website.

For general enquiries about applying for PhD study in Musicology and Composition & Creative Practice please contact
Professor Ian (Music)
Dr Paul  (Sonic Arts)

Click here for more information on the Composition PhD degree and how to apply


PhD in Ethnomusicology


PhD degrees in Ethnomusicology at Queen’s are offered in the School of History and Anthropology and the School of Creative Arts covering abroad spectrum of research areas such as: music in religion and ritual; music in politics; music and emotions; medical ethnomusicology; local musicking; popular music; and organology, among other topics. The regional expertise of our staff is extensive, with special focus on Europe, the Americas, South East Asia and Australia.

Prospective PhD students are advised to contact a member of staff working in their area of interest before submitting an application. For more information concerning staff research expertise please click here.

For general enquiries about applying for PhD study in Ethnomusicology please contact Professor Ian (School of Creative Arts) or Professor Fiona Magowan, (School of History and Anthropology).

Click here for more information on the Ethnomusicology PhD degree and how to apply

Sonic Arts


Research at SARC Sonic Arts Research Centre is focused on novel ideas in musical composition, signal processing, internet technology and digital hardware.

The School has a lively community of PhD researchers working in areas of musicology, music and social history, dance, composition (note based and electroacoustic) and music technology; a number of research projects have a strongly interdisciplinary nature and interaction between students is encouraged and valued.  .

The Sonic Arts Research Centre is currently involved in six key research areas.  The links below will take you to each of these areas on the SARC website:

Virtual-Acoustic Instruments


Sound and Interactivity

Cultural and Critical Aspects of Sonic Art

Spatial Audio 



For general enquiries about applying for Ph.D. study at SARC, please contact Professor Pedro Rebelo - 

Drama Research

Since opening in 2009, the Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research consolidates the reputation of Drama at Queen’s which was acknowledged by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise that rated the majority of our research as world-leading or internationally excellent and ranked our unit in the top ten.


Research in Drama comprises critical and practice-based methods and whilst recent activities and outputs primarily relate to Irish theatre, dramaturgy, post-conflict performance and applied theatre, our cluster specialisms also include theatre history and historiography, practice-as-research, theatre and medical ethics, modern European, and American drama. A number of academic staff have extensive professional experience working in the theatre industry and our department has superb connections to all local theatre institutions, companies, archives and arts organizations.


Drama at Queen’s has also been active in developing international networks that support and disseminate research, such as our Belfast-Sarajevo Initiative, operated in conjunction with the Academy for Performing Arts in Sarajevo. We have also hosted number of Fulbright, Leverhulme and Distinguished Visiting scholars. TheFriel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research has also hosted several international conferences as well as touring productions from around the world with a view to establishing the Centre as one of the foremost facilities in Ireland and the UK.


Currently, we have 16 full-time Ph.D. students, most of whom are in receipt of external research awards, and our successful MA programme continues to grow in size and is increasingly attracting international students to provide well-qualified candidates for PhD study. Our students are fully integrated into postgraduate activities at the School of Creative Arts, playing an active role in the development of graduate conferences and research seminars.


Our vibrant graduate community contributes strongly to Drama’s thriving research culture and in the last three years we have hosted several major international conferences and festivals examining the work of Brian Friel, Stewart Parker, Samuel Beckett as well as on the wider topics of Translation, Dramaturgy, Theatre and Visual Art, Queer Theatre/Performance, and Post-Conflict Legacies in Northern Ireland, South Africa and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Although still a relatively young subject within the Humanities curriculum at Queen’s, Drama has already been awarded grants from research councils, including several MA and PhD awards from the last AHRC Block Grant Partnership, as well as from various other arts and media bodies.Drama has also secured a number of other prestigious awards through endowments and successful fund-raising, including the Brian Friel MA and PhD awards and several MA and Travel Bursary Awards funded by Michael Palin.


For general enquiries about applying for Ph.D. study, please contact Dr Paul Murphy



Film Research

Research in Film at Queen's comprises an array of specialisms, and includes practice-based, and cross-disciplinary strands.  Staff research interests include Film History, World Cinemas, Hollywood Cinema, Film Aesthetics, Documentary Film, British cinema, Censorship, Sound, European Cinema, and Horror Cinema.

Current practice-as-research projects are developing documentary methods that address post-conflict cultures, negotiating contested narratives and  developed collaborations (with external organisations such as WAVE Trauma center, Human Right Media Centre of Cape Town, and the Belfast-Sarajevo initiative.) One of the key outcomes of these initiatives has been the Prisons Memory Archive (link to: 

Related to this theme, Film is also a lead partner with Drama in the British Academy-funded project: 'Cities of Memory: Performing and Media Arts in the Post-Conflict City':

The subject-area has also recently joined the EUscreen consortium (link to: making Queen's Associate Partners on this project.

Film has been successful in securing fundings from research councils (AHRC, Leverhulme, British Academy) for the organisation and hosting of international conferences and workshops, fellowships, and other projects which link our research to wider scholarly networks. These initiatives and the regular Film research seminars - featuring  distinguished speakers along with our PhD students - contribute to the lively interdisciplinary research carried out in the School of Creative Arts. 
Our MA and PhD community offers a crucial contribution to the research culture of Film working on a wide range of topics in their thesis and practice-based works. 
Former research students have successfully secured book contracts with leading academic publishers, research and teaching posts at other Universities, as well as work in the audiovisual and creative industries sector.

If you are interested in a PhD in Film Studies have a look at this page (Link to:  and contact Cahal McLaughlin. (