Franziska Schroeder is the Queen’s University lead for the “Performance Without Barriers” Project. She is a saxophonist, theorist, and a Reader at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, School of Arts, English and Languages and a Fellow of the HEA (Higher Education Academy in the UK). She serves on the peer review panel for the UK’s AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and is a registered expert for the EU’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Franziska was awarded her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and has since written for many international journals, including Leonardo, Organised Sound, Performance Research, Cambridge Publishing and Routledge. She has published a book on performance and the threshold, an edited volume on user-generated content and in 2014 a book on improvisation entitled “Soundweaving”.

Michelle McCormack is founder and CEO of The Drake Music Project Northern Ireland, a charity that provides access to independent music making for children and adults with complex disabilities. The charity that has been operating for 25 years provides workshops in composition and performance skills through adapted computer interfacing technology, in order that physical and cognitive ability is matched to an appropriate gestural interface, allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to express their creativity in an independent and controllable environment.

Christian Cherene is a co-founder of BeAnotherLab, an interdisciplinary multinational group dedicated to understanding, communicating and expanding subjective experience; focusing on understanding the relationship between identity and empathy from an embodied perspective. The team has backgrounds in Cognitive Sciences and Psychology, Interactive Systems Design, Digital Arts, Computer Sciences, Social Communication, Anthropology, Cultural Management, Philosophy and Conflict Resolution. Christian has been working as part of our research group since 2017, contributing expertise in immersive interaction research & development, design and implementation of VR instruments.

Miguel Ortiz is a Mexican composer, sound artist, and Lecturer of Design and Prototyping at Queen’s University Belfast. His work focuses on the use of sensing technologies for creative applications, specifically Digital Instrument Design and its intersection with Composition and Improvisation. Dr Ortiz has performed using traditional acoustic instruments, laptop improvisations, bio-instruments and hyperinstruments.

John D’Arcy is a Lecturer in Digital Media at Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast.  His research involves interactive media and live performance.  Recent projects include ‘Laganside’, a locative media poetry experience at Belfast’s River Lagan; and ‘Raise Your Expectations’, a walking VR experience addressing urban redevelopment in Belfast.

Koichi Samuels is a music researcher and electronic musician. He is now a permanent researcher with our team, having previously been a postdoctoral fellow funded by an AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship, where he conducted research into music technology, accessibility and inclusive music.
His current research interests include electronic music, digital media, social inclusion, and social research approaches to study music technology practices. Koichi is also a creative practitioner who has released and performed music for international events and record labels as well as founding his own record label and multidisciplinary digital arts event called RESIST based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Alex Lucas is a Product Designer who specialises in designing music technology hardware interfaces. He has been designing professionally since 2013. Recent products designed by Alex include the Novation Peak polyphonic synthesiser and Circuit Mono Station sequenced monosynth. Alex has a passion for intuitive user experience and aspires to improve the accessibility of music technology interfaces. Alex completed an MSc in Creative and Computation Sound at the University of Portsmouth in 2007.
In 2017 Alex relocated to Belfast to take up a prestigious AHRC NPIF (National Productivity Investment Fund) PhD studentship to join the Performance Without Barriers Team.

Damian Mills has joined our research group in October 2020. He is funded by a competitive PhD scholarship, a Collaborative Studentship Award (CAST), funded by the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland. Damian is drummer, who has become recognised as a leading developer of cutting-edge percussion performance, specialising in carnival drumming. He has extensive experience in scoring and teaching music for small- and large-scale percussion ensembles, and always seeks to integrate new sounds and new ideas into the heart of Northern Irish drumming.  He has been working with Drake Music NI for many years and will join our research team to to identify improved ways in which digital technologies, esp. immersive, augmented and virtual reality technologies can afford better inclusion of disabled musicians in music making.

Leonid Kuzmenko has received the highly competitive CITI-GENS PhD studentship to join our team in February 2021. Leo is a Russian composer / sound designer and a virtual reality enthusiast. He premiered his first experimental opera at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center in Spring 2017. He collaborated with NYU Abu Dhabi Music and Sound Cultures research group as a developer on a couple of projects, creating innovative browsing strategies for large collections of music using VR. He also held an Audio Director position at the largest VR company in the UAE, Mental Images, working with clients in both the public and private sector.

Past Researchers in our Team:

Matilde Meireles (Postdoctoral Research Fellow in IITis a recordist, sound artist, and researcher who makes use of field recordings to compose site oriented projects. Her works have been exhibited in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain, and United Kingdom. Her research and work examines the role of design and photography in expanding sound art practices, in particular field recording and its use in the construction of multi-sensorial experiences. They take an holistic and interdisciplinary approach to site. It also further explores how the term site is used to refer not only to the physical site, but also the contextual, the experiential, and the virtual site. The projects often highlight participation and collaboration as catalysts for a shared understanding of place, and the role of technology in augmenting the experience of place.

Karen Rafferty (CI in IITis Deputy Head within the School of Electronic, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  She has over fifteen years experience working within the fields of software engineering, sensor fusion and real time software development and she has over ten years experience working within the areas of virtual and augmented reality and multi sensorial systems.   During her research career she has acted as PI or co-Investigator on several national and European funded grants.  She is also actively engaged with external professional bodies.  She is a professional registration interviewer for the IET and has been and continues to act as an expert evaluator, recorder and Vice Chair for various calls in H2020, FP7 and FP6.   She has authored over 75 publications and two books, one on virtual reality and one on engineering innovation. She has supervised 7 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising 4 PhD students.