UoA 33a - Music


Through strong links with a wide range of non-academic partners and engagement with community music organisations, our objective is to foster research with long ranging impact that benefits wider society, outside of academia.

Three impact case studies were selected for the REF2021 submission. These reflect the diversity of research being conducted across the Music and Music Technology (MMT) department and showcase a significant range of far reaching impacts, both nationally and on a global level. Examples included in the case studies include international advocacy work which has created new employment opportunities for women musicians, research which has unlocked the secrets of New York experimentalism to make it accessible to international audiences and amateur performers and innovative work which has shaped public understanding about the importance of sound in ancient cultures.

The following impact case studies have been entered for the REF2021 submission. Find out more below.


Case study: Sounding Antiquity: Enhancing Public and Creative Engagement with the Past through the Exploration of Ancient Acoustic Cultures

The heritage industry often presents antiquity as silent, meaning that a crucial element of ancient cultures is omitted from public understanding of historic sites and ways of life. Research conducted at the University of Huddersfield since 2008 has revealed the importance of sound in ancient cultures. By analysing the acoustic ecologies of archaeological sites in unprecedented detail, and developing pioneering innovative multimedia techniques to present these findings, the research has presented the sounds of antiquity in new, immersive ways.

Through exhibitions, commercial recordings, online resources, and extensive international media coverage, the research has helped shape understandings of the past for a broad public. It has informed the work of creative professionals engaged with prehistory in the UK, Japan, and Germany, and has brought financial and reputational benefit for leading record label Delphian Records. Through specially developed education packs, it has also enriched cross-curricular teaching and learning for primary school children across the UK.


Case study: New York Experimentalism Revived: Unlocking Cage, Feldman and Wolff for Audiences, Performers and the Benefit of the Contemporary-Music Ecology

The music of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff presents complex challenges to interpretation and performance, which have inhibited the development of a living performance practice and contributed to the marginalisation of a historically significant body of musical repertoire.

Since research conducted at the University of Huddersfield has investigated this repertoire specifically from the perspective of performance, advancing new understandings of how it may be brought persuasively to life through scholarly publications, concerts, recordings and innovative online resources, with impact on a range of non-academic beneficiaries. The research has unlocked the secrets of New York experimentalism for international audiences in concert halls, at home, and in educational settings; it has encouraged amateur performers to engage with this repertoire and helped professional performers deepen their engagement; it has also generated reputational and economic benefit for a range of individuals and organisations within the contemporary-music world.


Case study: Changing the Faces of Technology: Supporting the Inclusion of Women and Girls in Music Technology through Innovative Approaches to Creativity and Learning

Music technology is a field in which women remain significantly underrepresented: recent studies show that women comprise only 7% of the audio industry workforce, and 10% of UK music technology degree applicants. Research at the University of Huddersfield, which explores means of enhancing collaborative learning and creativity within music technology, has generated a range of initiatives that directly address this underrepresentation. In 2015, the Yorkshire Sound Women Network (YSWN) was initiated to support women as a minority in music technology.

Through YSWN and related engagement activities, this research has underpinned new international advocacy work that is demonstrably changing attitudes and behaviours of leading industry bodies, including the Audio Engineering Society (the leading professional body with more than 12,000 members worldwide) and Sound and Music (the UK’s national charity for new music). It has also been a catalyst for spin-off grassroots enterprise initiatives in the UK, North America and Europe; afforded significant new employment opportunities to professional women musicians; and contributed to the development of music technology skills, industry knowledge and new career aspirations of girls and women across the north of England.