Research Impact

Engaging with the Community

See a selection of case studies demonstrating impact both locally and internationally.  

Care Under Pressure

'Preparation for contact training in disciplines including Medicine and Social Work involve various forms of simulation training to help students equip themselves for 'real' world experiences following graduation. Where clinical skill and technical competence are taught to high standards, the complexities of interpersonal interaction are referred to in cliched terms as ‘soft skills', 'bedside manner' and 'non-technical skills' and are often under-valued and poorly understood in terms of formal education and training. The aim of this series of symposia is to understand how education and training in health and social care can be enhanced by integrating techniques more commonly associated with theatre and performance.


Being Human Festival 2017 

Queen's University Belfast to take part in the Being Human Festival 2017 - led by Dr Franziska Schroeder, Impact Champion, School of Arts, English and Languages.


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Performing Restoration Shakespeare‌ 

AHRC-funded international and multidisciplinary project that investigates how Restoration Shakespeare used to                   ‌

be performed, and how it can be performed today. It brings together Queen’s University Belfast,

Syracuse University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Globe Theatre, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.





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‌Understanding the role of music and sound in conflict transformation:  The Mozambique Case Study

Music making is known to have benefits for social cohesion. As a social practice, music depends on personal interaction, dialogue, agreement on conventions and trust. Previous work on music and conflict has illuminated the different roles that music and sound play in conflict situations (from exacerbating conflict to mitigating it). Moreover, recent scholarship has highlighted the transformative power of music, demonstrating how music making activities could have a direct and positive impact on conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation by non-violent means. This research project aims at contributing to these ongoing debates by exploring the possibilities of music and sound in conflict transformation in Mozambique through a participatory case study rooted in sonic art methodologies.

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‌Performance without Barriers

The performance

In 2015, the first collaboration between SARC and DMNI, led by Dr. Koichi Samuels, aimed to enable musicians with physical disabilities and learning difficulties to independently compose and perform their own music through custom-built music technology devices. The event was held under the theme “Designing Inclusive Interactions” and brought together student interaction designers with disabled musicians to collaboratively design accessible musical interfaces and perform improvised music with them in an inclusive ensemble performance. 

This year SARC has put together an exciting programme to continue their collaboration with DMNI under the theme “Performance without Barriers”. The programme involves a 6-month long collaborative design project, which started with a design event at SARC (7th - 9th June). Five interaction designers worked with pupils from local special educational needs schools and brain injury rehabilitation charity to collaboratively design customised accessible musical interfaces. Two subsequent phases of this project involved going to the participants to show them progress of the designs and gather feedback. The project ends on November 27th with a showcase performance at The Sonic Lab, SARC. Alongside the design project, an international networking meeting for partners working in the area of inclusive music making, digital design, disability and well-being also took place on 10th June 2016.

Click here for the promotional leaflet.

This collaboration has impacted positively on the quality of life of disabled musicians across Northern Ireland. Participants’ composition and performance skills are enhanced by using accessible musical interfaces through a collaborative design process that matches physical and cognitive abilities to an appropriate gestural interface. Designers and musicians alike are given the opportunity to express their creativity on equal terms as collaborating improviser musicians.

Performance without Barriers 2016 design project will culminate in a public performance at Ireland’s longest running contemporary music festival, the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music.

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‌NI Science Festival

NI Science Festival

The children used an app, developed at SARC, to live stream sounds captured around the building.  By working together creatively they were able to create some fantastic sound works. 

This is part of the Distributed Listening project - Socially Engaged Art

Find out more on the project website



‌Soundscape Park Project

Soundscape Park Project


The Soundscape Park Project is a permanent sound installation located in a community garden in East Belfast. Speakers hidden all around the garden are constantly projecting different soundscapes throughout the day. Integrated technology allow visitors to interact with the sounds using motion detection and their smart phones. 

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Transforming the Musicality of Young Players

The case study shows how short chamber compositions by composer Piers Hellawell have transformed the musical experience of young musicians within the on-going Chamber Music 2000 project in England. Circles of impact radiate from his provision of practicable new chamber work for ensembles: children from 8 to 16 have explored the challenging demands of performing contemporary music created for them in an individual and exciting idiom. They have participated in new experiences in communal music-making; they have processed new notated instructions and encountered unfamiliar sound-combinations; they have become part of a collaboration with professional artists during coaching. Through these experiences young musicians have been equipped to give a world premiere in an international venue, a life-enhancing experience.

Big Ears -Kids singing

Big Ears



This work, led by Franziska Schroeder, impacted on children between the ages of 8 and 14. Since 2011 over 90 children living in Northern Ireland have benefitted from day-long workshops, taking place at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast (SARC).

Big Ears


Using German Protest Song in Political Education

David Robb’s research into folk and protest song has an impact on a wider public through its promotion at music clubs and festivals and in its use in political education in schools. The context for the impact is the general political climate in Germany since the Second World War where protest song has been supported at a national level as ‘democratic’ heritage. Questionnaires from a recent workshop revealed how teachers have made use of Robb’s recent on-line research project to promote a democratic consciousness amongst pupils. His research has also influenced the song repertoires of folk groups and performers.  




This case study, led by Pedro Rebelo, demonstrates how new approaches to collaborative sonic arts lead to increased awareness of the role of sound and its relationship to place in everyday life. 

Sounds of the City



BSc Music Technology and Sonic Arts Students contributed to a one-week environmental design and creative event by creating sound installations with an aim to invite audiences to discover hidden, unexpected and surprising aspects of sound in specific spaces in Belfast.

Street Society 2016


‌Arts and Cultural Management - Brokering Intercultural Exchange

‌This network seeks to understand the role of arts and cultural managers as intercultural brokers in our context of globalisation, internationalisation and global migration. Intercultural understanding suggests capacity for appreciating, recognising and relating to different world viewpoints and experiences. Historical and empirical research recognises the role arts and cultural objects and expressions, like fine and performing arts and heritage, play in political, cultural and ethnic relations. Yet, little is known about the role of arts and cultural managers, their practice and education, in this process.

Brokering Intercultural Exchange


The Stroke Folks research project by Brenda Winter-Palmer is part of a continuing study which seeks to explore whether improvisational drama (a process–based methodology which need not necessarily result in public performance) could be therapeutic in the promotion of increased emotional health in patients recovering from stroke. Research has shown that the physical and cognitive effects of stroke may result in feelings of grief, denial, depression, perplexity, frustration, anger and embarrassment. In tracking the progress of a group of stroke survivors over the period of one year the study aimed to assess whether involvement in process drama might bring some alleviation of these symptoms and generate a general improvement in confidence, optimism and motivation.

The Contribution of Media and Performance Representation to Post-conflict Societies

Three complementary projects - Theatre of Witness’s We Carried Your Secrets and its eponymous documentary; the film We Never Give Up II; and the Prisons Memory Archive – address the role and impact of storytelling in post-conflict societies.



A collection of 175 filmed walk-and-talk recordings with those who had a connection with Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh Prison during the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.







Theatre of Witness’s We Carried Your Secrets and its eponymous documentary; the film We Never Give Up II address the role and impact of storytelling in post-conflict societies.





Research Project

Sounding Conflict


This project investigates the effects of sound (including sonic arts, participatory music-making and storytelling in theatre) and their distribution through digital media activities. We are analysing how sounds project and ameliorate community experiences, memories and narratives of conflict across cultures and different conflict/post-conflict settings of resistance through to reconciliation.


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