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 external funding for research projects with a total value in excess of £2m, including four large AHRC grants:

  • ‘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
  • ‘Augmented Vocality: Recomposing the Sounds of Early Irish and Old Norse’ (2020-22; AHRC: total bid value £480k), based in Integra Lab
  • 'Silent form: embodied structure in transitional jazz performance practice' (2020-22; total bid value £200k), based in the Jazz Studies research cluster

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)

As of July 2020, Conservatoire doctoral research students have achieved 49 successful PhD awards.

Key Staff

Prof Jamie Savan
Director of Research.
Jamie specialises in performance-led research; he is founder-director of the Gonzaga Band and a member of the pioneering early wind ensemble His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts.

Aleksandar Dundjerovic thumbnail

Prof Aleksandar Dundjerovic
Associate Director of Research (Acting and Performing Arts).
Aleksandar is Professor in Performing Arts and a specialist in collaborative interdisciplinary theatre practices. He is director of BCU’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Performative Arts (CIPA).

Prof Christopher Dingle
Associate Director of Research (Careers and Outputs).
Professor of Music - Christopher is a specialist in French Music, notably Olivier Messiaen and Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), and the history and practice of music criticism.

Tony Whyton crop image

Prof Tony Whyton
Associate Director of Research (External Funding)
Tony is Professor of Jazz Studies and is currently a HERA Impact and Knowledge Exchange Fellow.


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


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.