Research-active Staff

Our research staff are internationally prominent performers, composers and musicologists.
Research Staff >>

Funded Projects

The Conservatoire has an excellent track record in attracting external funding for its research.
Funded Projects > >

Clusters and Specialisms

Much of our research work, beyond the major Funded Projects, tends to cluster into informal groupings.
Clusters and Specialisms >>

Public Research Seminars

Our seminars are open all.
Future seminars >>
Previous seminars >>

Facilities and Resources

The Conservatoire enjoys excellent facilities for supporting research.
Facilities and Resources >>

Historical Instrument Collection

Browse the online catalogue by instrument and by maker.
Historical Instrument Collection

REF 2014 and Beyond

REF 2014 reconfirmed the extremely high level of our research, assessed as equal third among UK conservatoires for grade point average (2.85). Royal Birmingham Conservatoire came top of all nine institutions for ‘research power’ (the quality of research multiplied by the number of researchers). 100 per cent of our research impact was deemed 'outstanding' or 'very considerable' in its reach and significance, and 90 per cent of our research environment as conducive to producing research of world-leading or internationally excellent quality.

Since REF2014, we have been awarded two, large AHRC Research Grants for projects in Musicology: 

  • ‘Accenting the Classics’ (2016-19; total bid value: £461,583), based in the French Music Research Hub
  • ‘Interpreting the Mensural Notation of Music’ (2017-21; total bid value: £837,000), based in Early Music Theory

In Composition, we have been awarded Arts Council England funding for the project:

  • ‘for-Wards: Citywide - Composition in a Hyperlocal Environment’ (2014-; total bid value: £89,000)

Conservatoire doctoral research students have already achieved some 20 successful PhD awards.

Key Staff

Deborah Mawer

Prof Deborah Mawer
Executive Director of Research.
Professor Mawer also leads the AHRC-funded French music project 'Accenting the Classics'.

Dr Jamie Savan
Associate Director of Research (Careers and Outputs).
Jamie specialises in performance-led research and is a professional cornettist with His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts.

Prof Christopher Dingle
Associate Director of Research (External Funding).
Professor of Music - Christopher is a specialist in French Music, notably Messiaen, and the history and practice of music criticism.

Tony Whyton crop image

Prof Tony Whyton
Associate Director of Research (External Funding - interim).
Tony specialises in Jazz Studies.

Dr Carrie Churnside
Research Degrees Coordinator.
Carrie is a specialist in 17th-century Italian music.

Aleksandar Dundjerovic thumbnail

Aleksandar Dundjerovic
Professor in Performing Arts.
M3C Site Director for Performing Arts.


Centre for Music and Performing Arts Research

Our Centre for Music and Performing Arts acts as a hub for all of the Conservatoire’s research. Here we are able to draw upon and foster the expertise of internationally prominent performers, composers, theatre directors and musicologists on our staff, along with many external collaborators and organisations, to form a vibrant, mutually supportive research community of academic colleagues and research students.

We have a recognised track record of producing research outputs of world-leading standards, across an impressively wide range of practice-based, technological and scholarly media, from high-profile performance (music, acting, dance), composition and recordings, through to research monographs, edited volumes, musicological journal articles, innovative software and web development. Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has been one of the pioneering players in the evolution of performance studies and practice-based research, amongst the richest and most probing developments in artistic study across the last twenty years.

The Conservatoire benefits from a large and thriving international community of research students working towards PhD and MPhil degrees, including a number funded by AHRC (M3C) and Conservatoire/University studentships. We welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates in any of the areas of research outlined here.

See related pages for further details of individual Research-active Staff profiles, Funded Projects, Research Clusters and Specialisms, and Facilities and Resources.