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Research and Knowledge Exchange

‘The Exchange: Research and Knowledge Exchange at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Welcome to The Exchange, the home of research and knowledge exchange at the Royal Conservatoire. Since the establishment of the Conservatoire’s research arm in 1999 we have been at the forefront in thedevelopment of research into and through the performing arts. Our distinctive research portfolio blends traditional research practices with practice-based artistic research, applied research, consultancy and knowledge exchange

Our success was confirmed with our excellent REF 2014 result, which showed that more than two thirds of our research was either world leading or internationally excellent, and suggested our research in music and drama has the strongest impact of Scottish work in this field.

In these pages you will find more information about the work we do. For enquiries, please contact us at this address:


The Exchange News

15 February 2017

Congratulations go to the Conservatoire’s Professor Celia Duffy and her co-investigator Dr Charlotte Gilmore of the University of Edinburgh Business School for their success in securing AHRC Follow on Funding (FoF) for a new creative economy research project. The FoF scheme provides funds to support innovative and creative engagements with new audiences and user communities which stimulate interaction and engagement.

The project, Knowledge and Know-how: a research toolkit for creative organizations aims to help small and medium creative organizations to develop a ‘research habit’. Creative organizations are being asked by funders for ever more precise information on both current and potential audiences, participants and users. This kind of data is invaluable to organizational planning and development, but to collect it either requires existing research know-how or use of scarce financial resource to buy-in expert help. The aim of the project is to create a research toolkit for use by creative organizations, which will be freely available and developed to precisely target their needs.

The first in a series of workshops to help shape the toolkit will be held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on 27th February. You can find more information on the project and workshop here.

16 November 2015

On 20th and 21st November, Professor Anna Birch will attend the 7th International Conference of Doctorial Studies in Theatre Practice and Theory in Brno, Czech Republic as a guest speaker. Anna will talk about supervising practice based doctorates.

2 November 2015

If you happen to be near a radio on Sunday at 9pm, You Can’t Get There from Here, a collaborative composition project between composers Oliver Searle, Drew Hammond, John De Simone, Sonia Allori, Francis MacDonald and Colin Broom will be featured on Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped.

This project was a Sound Festival commission, and premiered on 24 October in Aberdeen by Ensemble Thing (all RCS/RSAMD graduates: Alex South, Rui Pedro Alves, Lizzy Stirrat, Eve Kennedy, Emily Walker, conducted by Tom Butler. Artistic Director: John De Simone). The show will feature excerpts from the 6 pieces and interviews with the composers. In addition the full pieces will be available online for 30 days. More info here:

At our CAKE session (informal events open to all staff to discuss past and planned research) this week discussion focused on computer programming and technology showing how much these particular themes cross boundaries at the Conservatoire and beyond.

And in a special and inspiring Exchange event, Matteo Dalle Fratte focused on the importance of diction in the communication of the emotional aspects of text when singing. Scott Johnson noted that these skills are held to be vital (and indeed transferable) skills that enable singers to use their voices to their maximum potential in a range of contexts.

26 October 2015

We would like to congratulate Dr Anna Birch who will be awarded the title of Professor at a graduation ceremony here at the Conservatoire on Thursday 29th November, 6pm Stevenson Hall.

This week, a special Pecha Kucha Exchange will be hosted and presented by our research students on Monday 26th October.

The first staff CAKE gathering of 2015-16 will take place on Tuesday 3rd November with Steve Mcluskie and John Gormley. These sessions are open to all staff and provide an opportunity to share, reflect and discuss work over tea, coffee and cake with our community of like-minded professional performers, creators and researchers.

A two day conference ‘In Cahoots’, hosted by New Music Scotland took place in Aberdeen (23rd and 24th October) and was built around the challenges and rewards of collaboration. There were excellent workshops on how composers can engage with other disciplines like literature, film and dance, and showcases and concert performances of new collaborative work. A couple of highlights with Conservatoire connections were Sandglass by Tom Butler and Lucy Boyes and You Can’t Get From There To Here, a ground breaking collaborative composition by Scottish composers Francis Macdonald, Sonia Allori, Colin Broom, Drew Hammond, John De Simone and Oliver Searle. The Conservatoires composition department was well represented among the delegates.

19th October 2015

We are very pleased to report that Mieko Kanno, Senior Research Fellow in Music (Research Department) has been awarded a grant from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on a project ‘Modelling a Virtual Violin’. The project aims to enhance the sound of electric violins by modelling the resonance characteristics of the Octet Violins, an original set of violin family instruments built by Carleen Hutchins (1911-2009) with a greater homogeneity of sound across the register. The project is a collaboration with CeReNeM (Centre for Research in New Music) at Huddersfield University, Acoustics and Audio Group at Edinburgh University, and MiMEd (Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh).

12th October 2015

spilt milkThis week, Aby Watson and Alexander Horowitz present, ‘There’s no point crying over spilt milk’, a performance which explores memories and growing up.

The Tron Theatre, 14th-17th October 2015.



5th October 2015

Laura Bissell presented the first Exchange Talk for 2015-2016 ‘People, polemic and play: the performance of politics in the independence referendum’ to a packed house and answered a series of questions from a fascinated audience.

20th September 2015

This week our new Postgraduate Research students were welcomed at Conservatoire.

The screening of March (the documentary film of March of Women) was launched at the new location of the Glasgow Women’s Library on Tuesday 22nd September.

29th July 2015

A feature article in The National newspaper on our Research and Knowledge Exchange Development officer and composer John De Simone about his latest Made in Scotland awarded work Independence which will be shown at Summerhall during The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Click here for more information and box office details.

He has also written a blog post about the piece as guest blogger for the New Music Scotland website.

15th July 2015

The work of our CASE research students Bethany Whiteside and Ben Fletcher-Watson feature in this report on the ESRC funded Capacity Building Cluster grant: Capitalising on Creativity, hosted at the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity at the University of St Andrews

14th July 2015

We are pleased to announce that our Research Lecturer, Dr Anna Birch, has been awarded a Professorship.

Anna is being awarded the title of Professor for her achievements in performance and pedagogy within the field of Drama. Anna will be inducted as a Professor of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at our next Graduation ceremony.

6th July 2015

Professor John Wallace will be presenting the keynote address at 10am on Friday 10th July for the Music In Nineteenth Century Britain conference. He will be talking about our research into Brass performance from the nineteenth century and demonstrating instruments from our recently acquired John Webb Collection

29th June 2015

Distinguished former colleagues from The Exchange both receive honours from the Conservatoire this week: Professor Ros Steen, former Head of Research in Drama, will be awarded the title Professor Emeritus on Monday 29th and at the graduation ceremony on 30th June Professor Celia Duffy, previously Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Music ‘honoris causa’

25th June 2015

Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange, Dr Stephen Broad will present at the Music: a Shared Vision for the Future conference which the EIS, Heads of Instrumental Music Scotland (HITS), Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Government, discuss where the music service is headed in ten years time.

22nd June 2015
Head of the B.Ed programme and our latest successful research degree completion Dr John Gormley today receives his doctorate at the University of St Andrews.

15th June 2015

Our research community sets off to the University of St Andrews Capod for our annual Research away days

6th June 2015

The latest The Exchange Newsletter for summer 2015 can be found here.

1st June 2015

We are pleased to invite you to the 10th Biennial International Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain which will be held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from 8–10 July 2015. Click here to book a place