PhD Candidates

“We are fortunate at UCC that we can be so interdisciplinary, and there’s an openness to these ideas that don’t either sit in one field or maybe don’t sit in your central past studies … I do think we have really valuable projects because of that openness” (PhD Student focus group)

“The support I have received from my supervisors has been, and not to sound trite or cliché in any way, life changing!” (PhD Student survey)

We have an active postgraduate research community of around 50 PhD students and 30 research and taught postgraduate (MPhil, MRes) students in the School. As a doctoral student in the School of Film, Music & Theatre, you are also part of a wider community of humanities and social sciences scholars at University College Cork.

Our School is part of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences (CACSSS), which brings together over 300 research students and 600 taught postgraduates. The CACSSS Graduate School aims to enhance the student experience and to provide a range of courses and facilities which foster a high-quality research culture. Find out more about their offer and resources.

Sandra Costello

Originally from Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, Sandra Costello is a PhD candidate and IRC Scholar in Film & Screen Media at University College Cork. She graduated with a BA International in English and Italian at NUI, Galway in 2010 and went on to complete a Professional Diploma in Education at UCC in 2012. After this, she undertook an MA in Film Studies at UCC where she completed a thesis titled Ireland Interrupted: Repressive and Ideological Institutionalisation in Contemporary Irish Cinema under the supervision of Dr Barry Monahan. Costello’s research interests include Irish Cinema, representations of institutions, cultural memory, sociology, women in film, Marxist theory, cinematic soundscapes and visual studies. She is a member of FOCUS: Forum on Film and Screen Media Theories, a permanent forum for researchers in the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC.

Supervisor: Dr Barry Monahan     Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers

Title of PhD thesis:  Institutional Acts of Watching in Irish Cinema: Surveillance, Power and the Camera

Summary: The aim of this research is to analyse acts of watching between and within Irish institutional environments and to investigate how latent power systems of watching and surveillance might be manifestly exposed by televisual and cinematic representation. Significantly, cinematic and television apparatuses are primary institutions that observe other institutions and so may usefully foreground the watching of watching. This study is based on several case studies of Irish Cinema and television since 1981 and the foundation of the first Irish Film Board.

Tadhg Dennehy

Tadhg Dennehy is a PhD candidate with the Department of Film & Screen Media, University College Cork, where he also teaches. In 2019 he earned an MA in Creative Documentary from the Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh). Tadhg has also produced and directed several short documentary films which have screened at film festivals in Ireland and the United Kingdom. His research and teaching interests include Irish national cinema, historical cinema, and the representation of Ireland in British cinema. 

Supervisor: Dr. Barry Monahan Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers 

Title of PhD Thesis: Filmmaking as Resistance: The Northern Irish Conflict and The Workshop Declaration 

Summary: The Workshop Declaration — a UK initiative established in March 1982 and disbanded in 1990 — sought to democratise filmmaking practices and amplify the voices of communities marginalised due to class, race, gender, and sexuality. This was done through the practical and financial support of regionally based film and video workshops across Britain and Northern Ireland. Films produced under this model in Northern Ireland, and those adjacent, are some of the only examples of cinematic expression from within the community during the conflict, liberated from external influence, promoting equality diversity and inclusion. 
This movement was driven by feminist, Marxist, and anti-imperialist filmmakers who, alongside their cinematic output, engaged in various forms of community cultural education. This research project is an exploration of the construction of Northern Ireland and the “Troubles” in these films. But it is not just that.It will highlight how the workshops contested established modes of representation, emphasising negotiations of activism, political advocacy, and even autonomous self-narration, within the wider discursive economies of Northern Irish history.
This research is concerned with a silenced cinematic movement, one that subverted dominant narratives and that tested the limits of hegemonic modes of representation of Northern Ireland. This is cinema that realises the epistemological limitations of our “ability to know [the] past, since we are both spectators of and actors in the historical process” (Hutcheon 1988:122). The Northern Irish workshop films, despite their historical demotion, embody a highly significant counter-hegemonic moment of activism in the broader representation of Northern Ireland on film.

Dennehy was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship

Rachel Gough

Rachel Gough is a Film and Screen Media PhD candidate at University College Cork. In 2017 she graduated from UCC with a joint BA in English and Film and Screen Media. The following year she commenced an MA in Film and Screen Media, also in UCC, where she completed a thesis entitled Maushops Cave: The Misremembering of Colonial Violence on the American Screen supervised by Dr. Aidan Power. Her research interests include postcolonialism, Irish cinema, ecology, video game theory, representations of history, folklore, and folk horror. She is a member of FOCUS: Forum on Film and Screen Media Theories, a permanent forum for researchers in the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC. She is also a creative practitioner of both film and short fiction. Her works concentrate on the intersection between memory and the imagined and have been screened and published nationally.

Supervisor: Dr. Barry Monahan Advisor: Dr Heather Laird

Title of PhD Thesis: Greening the Screen: Ireland’s Rural Ecologies in Media An examination of Ireland’s rural ecologies as they appear across film, television and video games.

Summary: This project explores film, television and video game representations of Irelands rural landscape. The project takes particular interest in the way in which rural landscapes of agricultural, historical or folkloric interest are portrayed on screen. Through the framework of postcolonialism this project seeks to understand contemporary media’s relationship with Ireland’s ecology.

Bob Jackson

Bob Jackson is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at University College Cork. He first graduated with a BA in Arts at UCC in 1999, before going on to complete an MA in Music Technology at the University of Limerick.

A full-time lecturer in creative media at the Munster Technological University (formerly IT Tralee) since 2006, Bob was nominated for an IFTA (Irish Film & Television Award) for his first feature film, A Doctor’s Sword, which was released in Irish cinemas in 2015. This documentary has been broadcast in Ireland, Australia and throughout Asia, and has featured at film festivals in Ireland and abroad.

In August 2016, The Collins Press published his first book, also titled A Doctor’s Sword and based on the same story as the documentary.

Supervisor: Dr Ciara Chambers Advisor: Dr Barry Monahan

Title of PhD thesis: Based on a True Story: Cinematic Approaches to the Past

Summary: The aim of this research is to investigate the conflict which arises between the demands of storytelling on screen, and what is known about the events depicted based on traditional historical sources. This research uses the process of creating a dramatic production as a case study, with the intention of developing a methodology which helps filmmakers to engage with the past on a deeper, more meaningful level. 

James Mulvey

James Mulvey is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at the University College Cork. He is the Reviews Editor for Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media and the English Language Editor for Cinergie Journal. He is a member of the editorial board of Alphaville. James has been selected as the Early Careers Researcher representative for the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) in the division of film studies. He has presented his research nationally and internationally, as well as writing on film in CinEireann and Alphaville. James is passionate about public engagement with cinema and frequently organises cultural events such as panel discussions and Q&A’s with filmmakers. He has taught film studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in UCC. James is the features and documentary programmer for IndieCork film festival, with an emphasis on fostering independent, essayistic and art cinema, where he focuses on developing links between the academic and filmic communities. His research interests include portrait and the essay film.

Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli

Title of PhD thesis: Art Cinema in the Age of Globalisation: Locating an Aesthetic of Violence

Summary: Located within the field of contemporary art cinema and adopting a film-philosophy methodology, my research proffers a new methodological understanding of the modified position of art cinema today, by identifying the violent impact globalisation is having on “being in the world”, and rescuing art cinema from recent accusations of elitism and irrelevancy. Applying conceptual tools developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, my research explores the commonality found in the images of art cinema — the violence impressed upon people and communities by governing institutions. My approach offers a renewed and sustainable perspective for critical analysis for a global art cinema, rescuing it from current methodological limitations, which culturally disempower art cinema as highbrow or inaccessible. Finally, this film-philosophical study of violence forces new broader disciplinary questions and, consequently, engages with already-embedded questions in the areas of genre and identity politics.

Daniel O’Connell

Daniel O’Connell is Practitioner in Residence in the Department of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork. He has earned an MRes in Film and Screen Media, with a thesis titled Body Horror Revisted: A New Wave of Body Horror Films Directed by Women under the supervision of Dr Gwenda Young. He has recently collaborated with Dr Gwenda Young on a Creative Ireland/UCC funded project titled “Movie Memories”, which explored memories of cinemagoers in rural areas of Cork, Ireland. He has over twenty years of experience as a creative practitioner and is an award-winning filmmaker of short and feature length films and documentaries, which have been screened at film festivals both locally and internationally. He is a Director at SUPEREGO, a high-quality video production company with large multinational clients and a founding member of, an online filmmaking hub with over four hundred members, where filmmakers can share knowledge and resources and participate in each other's projects. Egomotion has also hosted various screenings, workshops and meet-and-greets in order to promote local filmmaking talent.

Supervisor: Dr Gwenda Young     Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers

Title of PhD thesis:  New Social Experiences of Irish Film Exhibition: The Changing Shape of Film Exhibition in Ireland From 2010 to the Present Day.

Summary: The central purpose of the thesis is to examine the efforts being made to lure audiences back to the cinema in Ireland since 2010, and to explore whether alternative film exhibition practices provide fruitful avenues for audiences to return to more social and visceral cinema-going experiences. The proposed project combines theoretical and historical analysis with a creative practice portfolio, comprising of four short documentaries on a number of exhibition experiences. 

Nicholas O’Riordan

Originally from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Nicholas O’Riordan graduated with a BA in English and Geography in University College Cork in 2010, he went on to complete an MA in Film Studies at UCC where he completed a thesis titled Dublin’s Fair City?: Representations of Dublin City in Contemporary Irish Film under the supervision of Dr Barry Monahan. O’Riordan’s research interests include Irish cinema, national cinemas, film theory, socio-linguistics and representations of group identity in film. His writing has featured in Film Ireland and in the edited collection Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts (2015). He has co-organised international film conferences and co-edited for Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media. He also works as a filmmaker.

Supervisor: Dr Barry Monahan

Title of PhD thesis: Inflections and Representations of Accents in Irish Cinema

Summary: Against a history of politicisation of the Irish language, and the more recent politicisation of Irish accents in contemporary culture, this thesis questions the representations and receptions of Irish accents in recent cinema. Focusing on a range of contemporary Irish films, this thesis examines the ‘mis-representation’ of Irish accents on screen, as well as the position of accent as a marker of identity against a backdrop of Celtic Tiger/Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Ellen Scally

Ellen Scally is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and a PhD candidate in Film & Screen Media at University College Cork. She previously completed a BA in Film & Screen Media with English at UCC in 2016, followed by an MA in Film & Screen Media at UCC in 2017. Her MA thesis was entitled Hidden Spaces: Excavating Histories in the BBC’s Super 8 Stories and on Northern Ireland’s Digital Film Archive and was completed under the supervision of Dr. Ciara Chambers. Her research interests include amateur cinema, Irish screen history, and the audio-visual archive.

Supervisor: Dr. Ciara Chambers Advisor: Dr. Abigail Keating

Title of PhD thesis: Cine-film Across Borders: The History and Legacy of Amateur Film Production in Ireland

Summary: This project is addressing a gap in scholarly research into the historical and cultural significance of amateur filmmaking and amateur cinema culture in Ireland. Through close analysis of film and archival materials, and the use of personal interviews with filmmakers, archivists and amateur film enthusiasts, this project aims to assess and contextualise the role of amateur filmmaking as it related to social, cultural, and political life in Ireland from 1900 – 1980.

Rory O’Sullivan

Rory O’Sullivan is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at University College Cork. After studying Architecture in London, Rory worked in production design for major film studios in the UK and Ireland. He completed the MA in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at UCC in 2020, in which he pursued his interest in contemporary screen media culture  by investigating themes around authenticity, behaviours and ethics.

Supervisor: Dr Abigail Keating Co-Supervisor: Dr Ciara Chambers

Title of PhD thesis: Too Much Information: Screen Media, Anxiety and Control

Summary: My research aims to examine the exchange, manipulation and projection of information in screen media culture leading to investigations into the repercussions to psychological, behavioural and societal conventions. The information explosion that began in the late twentieth century has led to a time of overwhelming access to, and interaction with information through individualised digital media and technologies. As we attempt to derive understanding and meaning from our dynamic, digitally augmented lives, existential issues of anxiety and control manifest. Investigations into the concepts and themes of storytelling, archetypes and pattern recognition will ground this research in an effort to frame the paradigms that humanity employs to sustain in an ever-increasingly chaotic and fractal mediated environment. The opportunity to explore and demonstrate this research through audiovisual intervention is paramount to realising the full rigour and potency of the outcomes and output. The employment of carefully curated multimedia material and experimental production methods will encourage an urgent and innovative dialogue with the viewer and invite much needed, fresh perspectives on the core issues related to this research into contemporary screen media culture.

Arran Tenzin Bradstock

Arran Tenzin Bradstock is a filmmaker and musician from Cork who is interested in exploring the perceived relationship between sound and image through an experimental filmmaking practice. He began making films at age 9 and has since produced over 40 short films, many of which have received film festival screenings in Ireland and internationally. Music also makes up an important part of Arran's creative practice, both in terms of original music and audio compositions for his film work and the experimental music he releases under the name ‘Don’t Think’. While the style and genre vary greatly between releases, the sound revolves around a mix of hypnotic drones, deep ambient passages and harsh noisescapes. 

Supervisors: John Godfrey, Dr Jeffrey Weeter


Summary: The main focus of Arran's practice-based PhD in Composition is the development of an experimental filmmaking practice in which sounds and images are treated as independent equals. His research will be presented in the form of a portfolio made up of a diverse range of film projects that, when taken together, seek to explore new approaches to experimental filmmaking while offering a critique of filmic practices, both experimental and narrative-based. His research areas of interest include post-Cagean experimental music, Fluxus, American Avant-Garde film, British Structural/Materialist film, sound art and video art. His research has also led him to engage with the field of philosophy, in particular the areas of philosophy that seek to explore concepts of meaninglessness such as nihilism, absurdism and atheism. He is also interested in metaphysical topics such as free will, consciousness, perception, the philosophy of time, objectivity and the work of Immanuel Kant. 

Chara Charalambous

Chara Charalambous has completed a BMus in classical saxophone, an MA in Music Performance, and an MA in Ethnomusicology. In her early career, she performed in many cross-cultural concerts in Cyprus, Greece, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and India. Chara is pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCC under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan P. J. Stock and Dr Alexander Khalil. Her research focuses on the cultural importance and sustainability of the Limassol Carnival Serenades. Furthermore, she has presented her research at various conferences and seminars in Cyprus, Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal and Canada. Chara was awarded a UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship.

Supervisor: Dr Alexander Khalil

Title of PhD thesis: Limassol Carnival Serenades: An Applied Ethnomusicological Approach to Sustaining Sound Communities


Luca Gambirasio

Luca Gambirasio is a musician and composer from Tuscany, Italy, and a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at UCC. Luca holds a BA in Jazz Guitar Performance (Conservatory of Livorno, Italy) and a MA in Ethnomusicology (UCC). Luca's current research interest is ecomusicology and musical and auditory responses to the ecological crisis.  

Supervisors: Jonathan Stock, Alexander Khalil 

Title of PhD thesis: Listening to Care: sonic and musical practices to acknowledge ecological interdependence in Tuscany

Summary: This research focuses on an eco-ethnomusicological study aimed to consider the full range of contemporary musical expressions that Tuscany’s inhabitants choose and deploy in their ecocritical efforts. I treat new music, related music-making activities, and listening to local soundscapes as key elements in the contesting, appropriation, and recuperation of space and for ideas about rootedness, place-making, and the ongoing risks of ruination. For this, I am taking into consideration a variety of sonic niches, and a diversity of ecocentric auditory responses to the ecological crisis, especially concerning this particular geographical area.
I employ artistic practice as research methodology in ethnomusicology, thus enabling a point of observation that fluctuates between observer and observer-participant, offering two different perspectives to present a vivid image of this music while getting me closer and more involved with the selected community.  

Gambirasio was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship 

Yaoshen Liang

Yaoshen Liang is a PhD candidate at the Department of Music, UCC and the award holder of the 2022 Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship for his study of "Matteo Ricci's contribution to the history of Sino-Western musical exchanges". He earned his Master's degrees with honours in Vocal Singing (Canto) and Music and Theatre Studies from the Conservatory Vivaldi and the University of Bologna in Italy in 2015 and 2019, respectively. He has published several articles in key national and international journals. His research interest is the history of Sino-Western musical exchanges in the early modern period.

Supervisors: Melanie L. Marshall, Jonathan Stock

Title of PhD Thesis: Matteo Ricci's contribution to the history of Sino-Western musical exchanges

Summary: Matteo Ricci was an Italian Jesuit Priest, who was part of the Catholic Church's mission to East Asia, and who went on to be the initiator of modern cultural exchanges between China and the West. Well-versed in classical Chinese and embedded in the Chinese culture of his days, Matteo Ricci's impact as a cultural mediator was huge. The particular focus of this research is Ricci's first trip to Peking in 1598. After arduous efforts, he was finally granted an audience with the emperor. He had anticipated that the emperor would be interested in Western instruments. Therefore, he brought a clavichord and composed eight lyrics entitled "Eight Songs for Western Keyboard" (Xiqin Quyi). These songs are lyrical poems that involve ethical and moral themes, each time illustrated adequately through the use of quotations from Christian writers. This research aims to provide an in-depth analysis of these lyrics, setting them alongside the remarks concerning Chinese music contained in Ricci's diaries. The ultimate objective is to understand the missionary's vision of Chinese music and culture. Accordingly, the study of textual evidence will be complemented by the reconstruction of the cultural and specifically musical context that Ricci had the occasion to meet at the time -- that is, the musical styles he came into contact with, the artists he made the acquaintance of, etc. Eventually, I aim to produce a comprehensive study of how Ricci brought together the worlds of Chinese and European music, as a part of his attempt to bring these two cultures in communication with one another. This kind of research is long overdue insofar as Ricci's contribution is often mentioned within the field of Chinese music studies, but it has never been the subject of in-depth research.

This PhD is being funded by the Irish Research Council and Liang is the recipient of the 2022 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme.

Keyi Liu

Keyi Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, UCC, funded partly by a College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences Excellence Scholarship. She holds an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Manchester (2018), and a BA in Musicology from the China Conservatory of Music (2016). Her research primarily focuses on the music and dance of indigenous minorities in China, as well as exploring the broader scope of traditional East Asian music.  

Supervisors: Jonathan Stock, Alexander Khalil

Title of PhD Thesis: Music on the fringes: Migration, cultural survival and identity among the Lisu in China and Myanmar  

Summary: The Lisu are a trans-border ethnic group, who form a minority of the population of several different contiguous states, namely China, Myanmar, Thailand and Northern India. This project will explore Lisu music as transnational and as an expression of the contrasting multi-ethnic areas where it is found. It traces characteristics of Lisu music endowed by migration and by divergent historical pathways and explores the importance and roles of music and music retention in cross-ethnic communication and cross-border migration, especially focusing on China and Myanmar. Doing so entails considering various issues such as musical creation and dissemination, identity, politics and diaspora as well as globalization.  

Liu was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship

Tianyu Liu

Tianyu Liu is a PhD Student in Ethnomusicology at University College Cork, Ireland. Liu very interested in the evolution and development of Chinese culture include music in the context of globalization and graduated from the University of Sheffield with a master's degree and a bachelor's degree from Northeastern University.

Supervisor: Jonathan Stock, Alexander Khalil

Title of PhD Thesis: 
Training, Performance and Music Creation of Erhu on Global Era

Summary: Liu’s study takes the training, performance and music creation of erhu, a Chinese musical instrument, as the research object, and mainly using the method of virtual ethnography, taking erhu as an example, to observe and analyze the present situations of China music culture from the perspective of globalization theory. 

Phil Maguire

Phil Maguire is an artist and composer from Scotland working with sound. Maguire produces music and sound works for synthesiser and computer that explore emptiness and emergence, of self and of machine. These works are informed by his experience composing, performing, and presenting works across the gamut of Minimalism. These works place timbre under the microscope; examining fine details of sound over extended durations. Informed by intuitive use of feedback, chaos, and chance, these sounds are simultaneously static, yet always in motion. 

Supervisor: John Godfrey      Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Weeter 

Title of PhD thesis: Currently untitled

Summary: A portfolio of original compositions for synthesisers, exploring dyadic communication between the composer and the instrument. The works exploit the rich web of interactions possible within synthesisers, and extends this to posit a temporally diffuse network between it, the composer's actions, the resulting works, and resulting perceptions of these works. The works prioritise timbral development and examination, and will contribute new approaches to the sphere of experimental electronic and Cybernetic musics. 

Phil was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship


Deirdre Molloy

Deirdre Molloy’s PhD follows a Masters in Ethnochoreology (1st Hons) from the University of Limerick in 2022. Interdisciplinary arts practice research flows from a wide-ranging education: BA (Hons) in Psychology from TCD (1996), and an MSc in Multimedia (1st Hons) from DCU. From 2011 to 2019 Deirdre was multimedia communications designer for Microscopy Australia, headquartered at the University of Sydney.  Deirdre has always danced. Her research centres dance as a decolonising resource of collective knowledge and innovation. This Afrocentric arts research is suited to film, photography, music and performance collaborations – so be in touch!  

Supervisors: J. Griffith Rollefson    Advisor: Roisin O'Gorman

Title of PhD thesis: From Blues Dance to African Diaspora Identity: A Postcolonial Perspective

Summary: Using dance ethnography and audio-visual design, DecodeNoir maps Black Atlantic diaspora rhythms through ancestral space-time. From my ‘micro’ individual embodied practice of blues and related dances, the enquiry widens to embrace ‘macro’ social expressions of identity and postcolonial critique. To document vernacular heritage, a diversity of voices is important.

Molloy’s PhD proposal won a UCC scholarship for interdisciplinary humanities research innovation – the Danijela Kulezic-Wilson Memorial Award in 2022.


Decheng Shao

Desheng Shao is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at UCC. He graduated from Binzhou College with a BA, and from Shanghai Normal University with a MA degree in 2021. In 2022 he came to UCC as a Master of Music student studying Ethnomusicology and started his PhD program in October 2023 under the supervision of Lijuan Qian and Jack Talty.  He is a piano major and also specialises in the Irish harp, Bodhrán, and the Chinese instrument Erhu. He has given several piano concerts during his time at university and has rehearsed several operas and plays. He also has extensive experience teaching piano at pre-school, primary and secondary school level and to adults, and his students have achieved excellent results in various competitions and performances as well as piano exams. He was awarded the title of "Outstanding Teacher" by three music training institutions in 2022.  

Awards include the National Inspirational Scholarship (2016) and first prize in the adult category of the Shandong Province Competition and the China University "Internet+" Entrepreneurship Competition (2020). He was awarded the title of 'Ambassador of Irish Culture' by the Irish Department of Education in 2023.  

Desheng Shao published in four academic journals in 2021 and his current research interests include ethnomusicology, analysis of Chinese and Western opera, music analysis, and Chinese popular music and culture.  

Supervisors: Lijuan Qian and Jack Talty

Title of PhD thesis: A Piano Lesson with a Chinese Essence Sustainability and Localization of piano learning in China

Yalun Yang

Yalun Yang is a pianist graduated from keyboard faculty in Royal college of music. Comes from Yunnan province in Southeast China. Now focus on traditional Yunnan ethnic minorities’ music.

Supervisors: Lijuan Qian and Jonathan P.J. Stock

Title of PhD thesis: Sounding Ethnic Minorities in China into Piano Grade Exams Practice: Identity, Representative, and Authenticity. Adapting different ethnic minorities’ traditional music into piano etudes in order to training for Grade exam in order to discuss identity , decolonization. 

Summary: Adapting different ethnic minorities’ traditional music into piano etudes in order to training for Grade exam in order to discuss identity, decolonization.

Gao Yanming

Gao Yanming is a lecturer in pipa at Zhejiang International Studies University, an MA graduate of the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and now a Ph.D. scholar at University College Cork, Ireland where her research is concerned with the History and Inheritance of the Pinghu Pipa School.

Supervisors: Jonathan Stock, Alexander Khalil

Title of Thesis: The History and Inheritance of the Pinghu Pipa School

Summary: This selection takes ethnomusicology as the research perspective and the Pinghu school pipa as the specific object of study, focusing on the cultural phenomenon of the Pinghu school pipa, interpreting its cultural value through the historical origin and lineage of transmission, and trying to present the cultural connotation and artistic value of the Pinghu pipa objectively, with a view to serving as a reference and reference for future development.

Panteleimon Zafiris

Panteleimon Zafiris studied Music Composition and Musicology at the Ionian University (Corfu-Greece) with Professors Dimitris Giannelos, Lenia Sergi and John Plemmenos. His research interests then led him to Istanbul-Turkey where he obtained a postgraduate degree in ethnomusicology at the department of Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) at Istanbul Technical University with Professors ethnomusicologists Şehvar Beşiroğlu and Robert Reigle. He has participated with papers in conferences in Greece, Turkey, Finland, Italy, and Czech Republic. He has written articles and books while he has directed Byzantine choirs in concerts and festivals of religious music in Greece, Turkey, France, Switzerland and Germany.  

Supervisors: Jonathan Stock, Alexander Khalil  

Title of PhD thesis: Ecology of eastern Mediterranean sacred music: Continuity and change in Byzantine and Armenian traditions.  

Summary: It is field research in the field of ethnomusicology that has the ultimate goal of documenting and investigating the musical ecosystem of sacred music in the Eastern Mediterranean, focusing on the communities that have inhabited Istanbul for centuries. To this end, a large number of interviews have been and will be conducted in the near future with members of the Greek and Armenian communities in Istanbul who are engaged in the sacred music of their own tradition.  

Mengwei Zhang

Mengwei Zhang completed her undergraduate degree in Music Performance at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in China and then earned an MA in Music at Hong Kong Baptist University. Furthermore, Mengwei worked as a researcher at a research institute in Guangzhou for several years. In 2022, Mengwei won co-funded by the China Scholarship Council and University College Cork with her project “Reforming music education in China, 1861-1952.” She has commenced her Ph.D. research under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Stock and Dr. Alexander Khalil since Sep. 2022.

Supervisors: Jonathan Stock; Alexander Khalil

Title of PhD Thesis: Reforming music education in China, 1861-1952

Summary: Mengwei's research explores reforms of music education in China from 1861 - the foundation of Qingxin Nüzhong (Qingxin Women School in Shanghai) to 1952 – the first formation of the current musical educational system in the People’s Republic of China. The exploration is based on research to be carried out mainly at three institutions: Qingxin Nüzhong (Qingxin Women school), Beida Yinyue Chuanxisuo (Training Institute of Music attached to Peking University), and Shanghai Guoli Yinzhuan (National Music Institute in Shanghai). Through the analysis of the educational system of these institutions, as well as an overview of how they imported music education strategies from abroad, this research is concerned with the subject of Western influence of musical educational system, focusing particularly on the use of German musical thought and systems as prototypes.

This PhD is being funded by the China Scholarship Council-University College Cork PhD Programme

Zhang has been the recipient of:
Third Prize of Youth Chinese Lute in 9th Korean International Youth Art Contest Guangdong Division
Golden Prize of Chinese Lute Quartet and Silver Prize of Chinese Lute Solo in Asian International Art Contest
Bronze Prize of Youth Chinese Lute Group in Singapore International Youth Art Contest
Silver Prize of Youth Chinese Lute Group in 9th Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Cup Art Contest

Eoin Nash

Eoin Nash is an Irish Research Council research scholar at University College Cork. He is a disability rights activist with a primary focus on artistic rights and equality in the arts and disability sectors. Eoin is an award-winning creative explorer with over twenty-five years of experience working locally, nationally, and internationally. With an academic background in Music, Music Therapy and Psychotherapy and professional experience in theatre, performance, dance, arts production, music and facilitation, Eoin has woven creative modalities and multi-disciplinary experience into a rich tapestry of artistic service provision and opportunity for persons with intellectual disabilities and / or autism in a variety of settings. Eoin has a commitment to discovering new knowledge that will support the rights of persons with disabilities within and through creative artistic processes. Previous international projects he has led and collaborated on have been highlighted to the European Parliament and at the United Nations Conference of State Parties. Eoin has a track record in bridging gaps in arts policy and strategic development where space for disabled artists has not previously existed or is underdeveloped. Eoin currently holds positions in an Irish and European context where he produces and advocates in and through the arts for disability rights and inclusion. Eoin works as Manager of Arts and Creative Arts Therapies (Cope Foundation, Cork Ireland), is a Board Member of the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (E.A.S.P.D.) with a portfolio for Arts and Culture. Eoin is a casual lecturer and is invited to speak in a range of educational settings and regularly presents at conferences nationally and internationally.  

Supervisors: Yvon Bonenfant and Professor Máire Leane

Title of Thesis: Distilling Meaning from Performing Arts Participation to Inform Rights Based Disability Policy and Quality Service Delivery.  

Summary: The “European Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2021-2030” (ESPRD), in action 5.5, specifically aims that  “accessible and inclusive arts and culture…for full participation in society….” are critical to people with disability. “They [the arts] increase wellbeing and give everyone, including persons with disabilities, the opportunity to develop and utilise their potential,” asserts the strategy.  In this context it is urgent to research how best to evaluate our achievement against such goals in grounded, arts service delivery contexts. As traditional models of service provision for persons with intellectual disabilities progress to *rights-based* service provision, service provider organisations will need, more than ever, to have discipline-specific evaluation methodologies in place to make meaning of participant experiences beyond the assumption that mere attendance gives the participant an experience of true quality.  In this context, this research aims to conjoin artistic and social science methods to develop, pilot, test, and refine a new, whole-person-centred methodology to evaluate the quality of the experiences of, specifically, persons with an intellectual disability (PwID) when engaging, especially, in performing arts activities.  Such a methodology is required in order to best understand the qualitative nature of service user experiences and inform disability policy, strategy and service delivery.  Through sharing the methods we develop, we aim to impact on policy development, strategic planning and disability service provision.  We wish to  ensure that creative and cultural rights are figural to service delivery and the people who access these services.  We expect that this research will contribute positively to reviews of the UNCRPD and ESRPD with emerging areas of research in artistic and cultural rights of PwID and form a substantive new building block that can underpin future research and development in the field.  

Joshua Wagner

Josh Wagner received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and his MSc from the University of Edinburgh. Fascinated by rhizomes, paradoxes, and things left unsaid, Wagner prefers keeping a toe or two in currents of magical and fantastic realism. Publication credits include Cafe Irreal, Fish Publishing, Not One of Us, Cleaver Magazine, Medulla Review, Fractured Lit, the Lovecraft eZine, and Image Comics. He has won awards in comics and theatre, but prose remains his most abiding love.  

Supervisors: Róisín O'Gorman, Maureen O'Connor Advisor: Daniel O'Connell 

Title of PhD thesis: Grieving with Forests: Improvisations with non-human species as a posthumanist work of mourning 

Summary: The concept of ecological grief has become increasingly central to the story of climate change. In the modern west, we have long considered grief and other so-called negative emotions as obstacles to overcome, so that the productive subject can return unhindered to business as usual. My research joins a chorus of voices who see the transformative power of grief rather as an asset worth leaning into. Using a mixed-method practice-based approach, my project engages in ecosomatic, forest-based practices to explore the potential for personal grief to awaken/affectively mobilise ecological grief, and for this resonance to alter one’s relationships with more-than-human worlds often blanketed into the background by the terms “nature” or “environment.” I combine autoethnography with a creative embodiment practice focused on outdoor interspecies improvisational encounters, to produce posthumanistic artworks capable of investigating affects and processes at the intersections of grief and ecology. 

Wagner was awarded the UCC CACSSS PhD Excellence Scholarship 



FMT Doctoral School

Scoil Dhochtúireachta FMT

Dr. Alexander Khalil