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Research At SARC

The multidisciplinary work at SARC evolves and expands as collaborations develop and with variations in our research community.

PhD Thesis

Click here to see our PhD Thesis Abstracts

Audio Engineering Seminars

SARC continues to host a number of Audio Engineering Seminars with a new series being planned.  The seminars, which are normally delivered in the Sonic Lab, are linked to the new cross-school BSc in Audio Engineering, and are aimed at bringing together people at QUB and from the local industry & wider community interested in audio and related topics.

View the latest seminars

Research Projects
Research Project
Covid-19 Data Sonification #65

Pedro Rebelo, Sonic Arts at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast 

Data sonification maps statistical figures to sound and is used to explore data patterns through time. This project uses data from the World Health Organization Situation Reports in which global figures are presented for population infected with Covid 19 and new deaths related to the virus by day between the 21st January 2020 and the 25th March 2020.

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Research Project
Virtual Reality Audio for Cyber Environments (VRACE)

VRACE is a €4M project funded through the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) programme. It will establish a 48 months multidisciplinary training and research programme running focusing on the analysis, modelling and rendering of dynamic three-dimensional soundscapes for applications in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), delivered by nine cooperating European Universities and their industrial partners.  A total of 15 Early Stage Researchers will be contracted for 36 months to conduct research at the various partner institutions.

QUB will lead one of the VRACE projects, entitled “Physics-Based Source Modelling with Time-Variant Parameters”, the research for which is conducted by the Systems & Sensors group within the School of Electronics Electrical Engineering. The ESR will be based at the Sonic Arts Research Centre and work towards the expected results of the project together with Dr Maarten van Walstijn and researchers of the University of Performing Arts Vienna. In addition to the individual scientific projects, the network pursues a dedicated training program for the ESRs in the various fields of expertise of the consortium partners, which includes active participation in workshops, conferences and outreach activities.


ESR Job Application Page:

Academic Consortium Partners:

  • University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna AT (Project Coordinators)
  • Technische Universität Wien (TUW), Vienna, AT
  • Hochschule füe Musik Detmold (HfM), Detmold, DE
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TUe), Eindhoven, NL
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, FR
  • Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB), Belfast, UK
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), Leuven, BE
  • Aalto University (AALTO), Helsinki, FI
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH), Hannover, DE


Industrial Consortium Partners:

  • Mueller-BBM GmbH (BBM), Munich, DE
  • Siemens Industry Soft-ware NV (SISW), Leuven, BE
  • Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG (SENN), Hannover, DE
  • Facebook Reality Labs / Oculus VR, LLC (OCULUS), Seattle, US
  • Centre d’etudes et d’expertise sur les risques l’environnement (CEREMA), Paris, FR
  • SYOS, Paris, FR
  • ARTIM, Gänserndorf, AT
  • IESTA, Vienna, AT
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Research Project
Map a Voice

A collaborative research project initiated by Dr Zeynep Bulut, Map a Voice explores sonic and social interactions between voice and environment. Some questions include how voice connects to a place, and if forms of speech, as well as what speaks, are not limited to mediums for verbal language or normative limits of hearing, in what other forms a voice can speak with an environment. The project includes series of interactive workshops. Workshops are open to general public.


Map a Voice was awarded with the Cultural Institute's Collaborative Innovation Grant for Early Career Researchers at King's College London. The project was supported by the Department of Music at King's College London and the Department of Media and Computing & Rapid-Mix at Goldsmiths, University of London. Map a Voice is currently developed at SARC at Queen's University Belfast in collaboration with Dr Kurt Werner (programming support), Dr John D'Arcy (workshop design support) and Dr David Bird (technical support).

For detailed information on the project, and on previous and upcoming workshop activities, please visit:

The next workshop will take place as part of the Development Weeks at QUB on 24 May 2019 Friday. To participate in the workshop, please follow the link below:

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The Crunch Test Pedro Rebelo, Moria Dean, Michelle Spence
Research Project
The Crunch Test

The influence of sound on our food experience is still an under studied phenomenon. While we easily relate smell to taste or vision to touch when we are selecting or eating certain foods, sound plays a subtler role but one which can have significant influence of perceptions of freshness as previous research has shown. This study aims to explore the impact of first bite sound on crunchy and crispy foods. Throughout a series of questions and playback of sound recordings of first bite for six different foods we aim to collate data to help us understand how sound affects our food experience. What do we mean when we say crunchy or crispy? Does sound play a role in our selection between natural and ultra-processed foods? Can you guess what sound a certain food makes? We invite you to participate in this research project and help us answer these questions so we can all learn how to listen to our food better!  

The Crunch Test is a pilot research project at Queen’s University Belfast aiming to gather data on the relationship between sound and food based on first bite experience. 

Participate in the online survey (estimated duration: 15 minutes)

Staff involved:

Professor Pedro Rebelo (Sonic Arts Research Centre) 

Professor Moira Dean (Institute for Global Food Security)

Dr Michelle Spence (Institute for Global Food Security) 


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SARC Immerse
Research Project

SARC_Immerse is a research group dedicated to the development, creation and dissemination of ‘immersive experiences’ using virtual, mixed and augmented reality technologies.

Two major recent investments have positioned SARC_Immerse at the centre of immersive technology research in Northern Ireland:

1) A Central Research Infrastructure Fund of £100k by Queen’s University Belfast, and 

2) the £13 million investment by the AHRC, with co-funding from the industry sector, to secure the future of the creative industries in NI. This ‘Future Screens NI’ bid is the largest single investment in the creative industries in NI:

People working as part of SARC_Immerse are:

Prof Michael Alcorn
Dr Trevor Agus 
Dr Zeynep Bulut
Mr Christopher Corrigan 
Dr John D'Arcy 
Dr Declan Keeney
Mr Michael McKnight 
Dr Matilde Meireles 
Dr Miguel Ortiz
Prof Pedro Rebelo 
Dr Koichi Samuels 
Dr Franziska Schroeder
Prof Paul Stapleton
Dr Maarten Van Walstijn
Dr Simon Waters
Dr Kurt Werner

Craig Jackson 
David Bird


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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.

Visit Sounding Conflict Website

Research Project
Humanising Algorithmic Listening

Humanising Algorithmic Listening is an AHRC funded network which brings together experts with an interest in the applications and implications of machine listening from diverse disciplines including oral history, sensory ethnography, archive services, computer science, philosophy and music technology. The principle aim is to develop a critical and methodological agenda for the design, development and application of computational methods for audio analysis - listening algorithms - in the future.

Visit website

Research Project
The Mozambique Case Study - Understanding the Role of Music and Sound in Conflict Transformation

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. 

Find out more

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Research Project

The Sonic Arts Research Centre has been commissioned to install and develop content for three sound gardens for the re-built Northern Ireland Hospice building on Somerton Road, Belfast. 

The project will help contribute to create a calm, yet uplifting atmosphere, engage patients and visitors through changing sound environments and create sensory garden spaces through soundscapes. 

Director of Research, Professor Pedro Rebelo and SARC Technical Coordinator, Mr Craig Jackson will lead the project which began in August 2015 and will continue into the beginning of 2016 when building work is due for completion. 

The audio in each of the three spaces will have different design treatments to reflect their architecture and use. The development of sonic materials will be based on a participative process with current patients and staff.  This will allow us to make use of sound in a reflective manner, triggering sonic memories or transporting listeners to another place.  For example the seaside, or birdcalls at dawn.

Multiple loudspeakers will be located in each of the gardens, carefully located to immerse each of the spaces in an ambient cloud of sound.  This might include loudspeakers hidden in planting or positioned at at height.  

Undergraduate and PhD students at SARC will be contributing to the creation of the sound environments.  They will also be undertaking research into the appropriate use of different soundscapes in this type of setting by performing several workshops with patients and staff. 

This project has developed from another SARC installation, The Soundscape Park Project. A permanent sound installation in Bridge Community Garden, East Belfast (  It is anticipated that SARC will continue to feed into these sonic garden installations and continue to develop new and immersive sounds to make pleasurable outdoor environments.

For more information about either project please contact either Prof Pedro Rebelo or Craig Jackson

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Research Project

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. 

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Research Project

In 2015, the first collaboration between SARC and DMNI 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. 

SARC put together an exciting programme in 2016 to continue their collaboration with DMNI under the theme “Performance without Barriers”. The programme involved a 6-month long collaborative design project, which started with a design event at SARC (7th - 9th June 2016). 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 ended 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.

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 culminated in a public performance at Ireland’s longest running contemporary music festival, the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music.

Further information

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Research Project

The Belfast Sound Map is an open resource that aims at engaging local communities in capturing everyday sound and hence characterise the soundscape of the city. We encourage not only the submission of sound recordings, but also other forms of experiencing and registering sound, such as text or image. The overall design of this platform facilitates this multiplicity of approaches, while also allowing participants to create their own projects. These are presented as separate, individual layers of recordings within the map.

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Recomposing The CityRecomposing the City

Recomposing the City is a collaborative research group. Our mission is to bring together artists, architects, planners and others in investigating the relationship of sound to urban space. We explore various questions on urban sound through seminars, events, publications, and design projects. Our ultimate aim is to support new design and development projects, and to improve the understanding of sound within architecture studies and architectural practice.

Visit website >

Research Project

Two theatre companies identified a specific need of engaging young people in listening and in discovering the role of sound in everyday life. The proposal was developed according to those needs and brings a research component (distributed listening) into a portable form in the shape of a newly custom-designed app for mobile devices.

Visit Distributed Learning Website

Research 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.

Visit Soundscape Park Project Website

Sonic Arts Research Centre
Tel: +44(0)28 9097 4867  Email:

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