Music Department Research Strategy


Music research at Goldsmiths has long been recognised as distinctive in its quality and variety.

Since 2008 we have characterised our efforts as centring on three main areas: the integration of creative practice with academic research; the investigation of music and sound through technology, and vice versa; and the understanding of social processes through musical and sonic practices. These themes, each of which is identified with one or more of our departmental research Units, remain at the core of our work.

Continuity and Sustainability

The Department continues to develop its international reputation for diverse, practice-rich research through a series of intellectual and practical initiatives.

  • We continue to publish, perform and create at the highest levels.
  • We are consolidating and exploring our own history and identity via music research projects. These are currently focused on the long tradition of experimental and electronic musics that have flourished at Goldsmiths, and include work on the composers Daphne Oram, Hugh Davies and Lily Greenham.
  • We are embedding our work within research Units, and in institution-wide research themes. Our Units help concentrate research in specific subject areas, and regularly host nationally and internationally significant events. Participation in Goldsmiths’ research themes, particularly ‘Invention, Creativity and Experience’, facilitates collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines, and is so doing both enhances research in music and extends its audience reach.
  • We continue to participate in, support and develop national and international networks. Department staff include the President of the Royal Musical Association and the Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology; among other organisations, colleagues also perform leadership roles within the Institute of Musical Research and the Sonic Arts Network. These relationships enrich our work and environment by bringing researchers and ideas into Goldsmiths, and enrich the national sector by taking Goldsmiths thinking out.
  • We are responding to an increasingly challenging economic situation for music research by broadening our sources of funding. We actively seek to increase grant capture, and to participate in collaborative projects led by other institutions.
  • The Department continues to foster an inclusive, supportive, and inspiring environment for all its researchers.
  • Our research culture is avowedly non-hierarchical, with internal funding opportunities and input on decision-making available to all research-active colleagues; both research time and other duties are equitably allocated according to a workload model. 
  • We continue to foster innovative work from Postgraduate research level onwards. MPhil/PhD students are important makers of the department’s research culture, regularly organising and participating in research events with the department’s support, and these contributions are formally recognised and fairly rewarded. Early-career colleagues receive targeted support towards publication and grant application.
  • We aim to maintain and develop links with our graduates. Whatever their career paths, researchers trained at Goldsmiths take a distinctive set of concerns and approaches into the world, and the department intends both to support their efforts and to track the continuing, broader impact of its own work.

Forward Strategy

The research pursued in our department is distinctive, innovative and unusually diverse in subject and method. Our primary aim is to share and develop our work with ever-wider audiences, both in and outside the university, so that we might expand ideas of what music research can be.

  • We aim to lead the national conversation on practice research, developing and demonstrating innovative methodologies and resultant creative work. This we are doing through participation in several internal and national initiatives, including the HEFCE Practice as Research Group consulting on REF2021.
  • We are increasingly conducting research in collaboration with non-academic partners whose concerns and aims coincide with our own. Partners currently include arts organisations (The Longplayer Trust), cultural enterprises (Women’s Revolutions Per Minute) and public bodies (the BBC’s relaunched Radiophonic Workshop).
  • We aim to broaden the dissemination of our research among non-academic as well as academic audiences. We are doing this by increasing our participation in funded public engagement initiatives (as with the Fringe and Underground Music Group) and external organisations’ outreach activities (as with La Gaîté lyrique, Paris). We also aim to build engagement and impact strategies into our research activity wherever possible.
  • We are developing new ideas by thinking and talking with each other. The diversity of our interests belies what is a foundational group of shared concerns – those three themes identified at the outset – and the department’s collegial culture means that researchers are often to be found working together across conventional subject boundaries. We will continue to cultivate this research environment, and our intertwined research practices, in service of the unforeseen and the surprising.
  • Department of Music Research Committee, June 2017