The research community of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is led by eighteen academic members of staff who are all highly active in their fields of research.  There is a large community of PhD students at the Academy who regularly engage taught programmes and research seminars, especially the post-graduate Logos events and public Tower Seminar Series. Postgraduate students have access to the state-of-the-art, dedicated research facilities at the Academy building and often engage in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The Irish World Academy primarily offers research expertise in the following research areas although several other related avenues of enquiry and research are frequently engaged:

Arts Practice Research; Chant Studies; Composition; Choreography; Community Music; Ethnomusicology; Ethnochoreology; Festive Arts; Irish Traditional Music Studies; Irish Traditional Dance Studies; Medieval Song Studies; Musicology; Music and Dance Education; Music Therapy; Popular Music Studies; 

This expertise is offered through the following members of faculty:

Mel Mercier Professor

Mel Mercier 

  • Irish Traditional Music
  • Music Composition (for Theatre, Gamelan and Various Ensembles)
  • Music Performance
  • Ethnomusicology
    Performance Studies
    Cultural Geography
  • Javanese Gamelan
  • North and South Indian Classical Musics
  • Ewe dance Drumming
  • American Rhythm Bones
  • American Minstrelsy
  • Music Education
  • Music and Community
Dr Aileen Dillane  Dr. Aileen Dillane 
  • Ethnicity, Identity, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism
  • Critical and Cultural Theory
  • Folk, Traditional, Celtic, and Popular Musics of Ireland, UK, North America, and Australia
  • Music, Emotions, and Society
  • Music and the Utopian Impulse
  • Acoustic Ecology, Urban Soundscapes and Critical Citizenship
  • Music, Well-being and Cultures of Care
Jean Downey  Jean Downey 
  • The Early Professional Journey of the Music Teacher
  • The Voice of the Music Teacher
  •  Assessment in School Music
  • Community Music in Practice
  • The Early Professional Journey of the Music Teacher
  • The Voice of the Music Teacher
  •  Supporting the Music Teacher
  •  Upskilling the Music Teacher
  • Creativity in School Music
  • Assessment in School Music
  • Community Music in Practice
Catherine Foley  Dr. Catherine E. Foley 
  • Arts Practices
  • Ethnochoreology
  • Dance Anthropology
  • Applied Ethnochoreology
  • Irish Dance and Music Studies
  • Diaspora Studies
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
 Sandra Joyce  Dr. Sandra Joyce
  • Irish traditional music
  • Irish harp tradition
  • Irish song tradition
  • Cross-cultural vocal traditions
  • Classical balladry
  • Historical sources of Irish traditional music
  • Historical musicology
  • The music and song of Irish Travellers
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music education/pedagogy
  • Traditional music and song pedagogy
  • Irish Studies
Niall Keegan

Dr. Niall Keegan


  • Irish Music and Dance Studies
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Musicological Analysis
  • Popular Music Studies
  • Performance Studies
  • Discourse and performance
  • Traditional music in Europe and North America
  • Tradition, modernity and Globalization
  • Nationalism and Ethnicity
  • Music Revivals
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
Dr Yonit Kosovske

Dr. Yonit Kosovske


  • Harpsichord Technique, Touch and Tone
  • Keyboard Chromaticism 1500–1700
  • Tuning and Temperaments
  • Pedagogy of Phrasing in Performance Practice
  • Sacred Cantatas in the 17th Century
  • Italian Monody
  • Contemporary Harpsichord Repertoire
  • Fortepiano: Repertoire, Construction, Technique and Performance Practice
Dr Óscar Mascarenas  Dr. Oscar Mascarenas 
  • Contemporary Performance (voice and dance)
  • Composition (music and choreosonography)
  • Gregorian chant notation and performance
  • Performing arts pedagogy
Tríona McCaffrey  Dr. Triona McCaffrey
  • Mental Health
  • Music therapy
  • Recovery
  • Service user evaluation
  • Service user experience
 Mats Melin  Dr. Mats Melin
  • Ethnochoreologically based research on transmission processes, kinaesthetic and somatic practices in dance
  • Percussive dance practices in Canada and Scotland
  • Historical aspects on solo and social dancing in Scotland, particularly in the Gaidhealtacht areas
  • New ways of holistically teaching traditional dance at third level institutions by using modern technology to assist knowledge gathering
Dr Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain  Dr. Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain 
  • Irish Music and Dance Studies
  • Ethnochoreology
  • Arts in Health
  • Music and dance education
  • Limerick Soundscapes
Dr Niamh NicGhabhann  Dr. Niamh NicGhabhann
  • Irish studies, with an emphasis on the visual arts and architecture
  • Cultural memory and cultural heritages
  • Architectural and spatial histories
  • Festivity and its role in society
  • Festivity and place
  • The representation of space and place in literature
  • Emotions and history writing
  • Critical historiography
  • Exploring innovation in research and practice across the humanities
Mary Nunan  Dr. Mary Nunan
  • Contemporary and Post-Modern Dance
  • Performance
  • Choreography
  • Choreography-for-Camera
  • Improvisation
  • Interdisciplinary Composition and Performance
  • Creativity
  • Collaborative practices
  • Dance Pedagogy
  • Contemporary and Post-Modern release-based dance techniques
  • Somatics
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Practice-based Research
  • Arts-in-Education policy and provision
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin  Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin
  • Music Composition
  • Music Performance (piano)
  • Musicology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Education
  • Irish Music
  • Irish Traditional Music
  • Irish Studies
  • Irish Music and Higher Education
  • Orality and Literacy in Music Composition and Performance
 Helen-Phelan-Nov-08-200x300-2 Dr. Helen Phelan 
  • Ritual Studies, with a particular interest in the sonic and somatic dimensions of ritual performance.
  • Ritual Song repertoires, particularly Western plainchant, Post Vatican II liturgical music and the ritual music of migrant communities in Ireland.
  • Performance studies, especially performative aspects of ritual, migration, community and singing.
  • Music education philosophies, particularly arts-based and practice-based approaches.
  • Arts Practice research methodologies including artistic practice, arts-based approaches, narrative inquiry and autoethnography.
  • Arts Practice theoretical approaches including somaesthetics, practice theory and broad spectrum performance theories.
Colin Quigley  Dr. Colin Quigley 
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music and Dance Interrelations
  • Traditional music in Europe and North America
  • Tradition, modernity and Globalization
  • Nationalism and Ethnicity
  • Music Revivals
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Global Fiddle Musics
hillary%20moss Dr. Hilary Moss
  • Music therapy and mental health
  • Music therapy and older age
  • Singing and health
  • Interdisciplinary research across health and humanities sectors
  • The aesthetic environment of hospital
  • Aesthetic deprivation in institutional life
  • The effect of arts participation on the health and well-being of older people
  • Medical humanities
  • Arts and health practice
  • Chronic pain and arts therapy
  • Mixed methodologies
  • Curatorship in hospital
  • Music and health paradigms

The Academy regularly hosts research seminars and conferences, details for which can be found here.
























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