Performance Research Hub

Performance is one of the primary activities of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The quality of our performance provision is the cornerstone of the Conservatoire’s international reputation as a world-class centre for education in Music and the Performing Arts. It is natural, therefore, that performance intersects with many aspects of research activity undertaken within the Conservatoire, and that performance is in turn influenced and informed by research. Performance Research is also a key part of our interdisciplinary research strategy, connecting in particular with the work of colleagues and students in the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts (BICA).

The Performance Research Hub was formalised in 2017 to foreground our collective expertise across Music, Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts. We recognise a disciplinary distinction between research about performance, and research in and through performance (Borgdorff, 2012), typified by the twin burgeoning fields of Performance Studies (including Historical Performance Practice) and Artistic Research (Performance-led Research), respectively. Both fields are reflected within the activities of the Hub, which also provides a means of connecting practitioner-researchers with the broader research community.

Additionally, the Hub brings together professional practitioners across Music, Theatre, Cinema, Visual Arts and Design to address research questions in interdisciplinary performing arts, embracing both creative practices and writing about performance through different disciplinary lenses. Understanding the complexities of 21st-century interdisciplinary collaborations, the Hub aims to synergise various fields – digital, spatial, physical – in creating new, experimental artistic expressions and audience experiences.

Performance research has the potential to create insights that are not possible by theoretical means alone. Performance is also a natural conduit for sharing insights generated through research, often with high potential for impact. But one the challenges of practice-led research, and therefore one of the Hub’s key objectives, is to develop and share best practice in the documentation and articulation of the research questions, methods and processes that underpin such activity.

The activities of the Performance Research Hub divide into three main disciplinary areas, each with a professorial lead: Music (Prof. Jamie Savan, RBC), Performing Arts (Prof. Aleksandar Dundjerovic, RBC), and Transmedia Arts (Dr Jonathan Day, Associate Professor, BICA).


  • Prof. Jamie Savan (co-director): Professor of Performance-led Research (Forum for 17th and 18th Century Music)
  • Dr Mike Fletcher: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Jazz Research)
  • Dr Andy Ingamells: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Composition)
  • Dr Corey Mwamba: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Jazz Research)
  • Martin Perkins: Head of Historical Performance (Forum for 17th and 18th Century Music)
  • Dr Paul Norman: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Composition)
  • Dr Helen Roberts: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Forum for 17th and 18th Century Music)
  • Jeffrey Skidmore OBE: Lecturer and Artistic Director for Early Music ((Forum for 17th and 18th Century Music)
  • Prof. John Thwaites: Head of Piano
  • Daniel Tong: Head of Piano in Chamber Music
  • Dr Michael Wolters: Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Composition (Composition)
Performing Arts
  • Prof. Aleksandar Dundjerovic (co-director): Professor of Performing Arts
  • Dr Polly Hudson: Head of Movement
  • Dr Gareth Somers: Senior Acting Tutor
  • Peter Wynne-Willson: Senior Lecturer in Applied Performance
  • Dr Paola Botham: Lecturer in Drama, Institute of Media and English
  • Dr Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez: Lecturer, Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
Transmedia Arts (key staff):
  • Dr Jonathan Day (co-director): Associate Professor in Transmedia Arts, BICA    
  • Prof Ravi Deepres: Professor of Photography and Moving Image, BICA
  • Nathan Tromans: Associate Professor, Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts
  • Steve Chamberlain: Head of Film Theory, BICA
  • Matt Tromans: Associate head of MAVisual Communications, BICA

See Performance Research Hub BICA for full staff and research student listings in Transmedia Arts.