DARE’s Collaborative PhDs create knowledge relevant to the needs of the cultural sector.

Hope Bachmann is our latest DARE collaborative PhD student, pursuing a joint project funded by WRoCAH which explores arts engagement as pathways to solidarity with people who have refugee and asylum seeker experiences, capitalising on Opera North’s status as a Theatre of Sanctuary. With an academic background in art and design, creative writing and philosophy, Hope became interested in the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers due to her ancestors’ traumatic experiences in Auschwitz and Theresienstadt during WWII.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has understandably impacted the fieldwork Hope has been able to engage in, she has helped with events including the Whistle Stop Opera: The Magic Flute during Refugee Week in Leeds and The People’s Lullabies Project with St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax. She sits on the Opera North Theatre of Sanctuary Steering Group, and regularly attends ON’s Community Partnerships and Arts Together meetings. Such experiences have led to her producing a series of guidelines for Arts Together on working with people who have refugee and asylum seeker experiences.

Before this, in 2018, Kate Cameron was appointed in response to the need across the cultural sector for a research model to evaluate the impact of community engagement activity. Her PhD research aims to provide a toolkit to evaluate In Harmony, Opera North’s music education programme.

“This PhD will bring valuable knowledge not just into Opera North, but also to our peers nationally and internationally.  As one of the supervisors, I will also learn much about the purpose and impact of research, using the findings to have a tangible impact on the work we produce for the In Harmony programme to reach its full potential.”  Charlotte Taylor, In Harmony Manager, Opera North.

We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with Opera North further in the years to come, starting with our collaborative PhD which focuses on the value of educational outreach programmes such as In Harmony, and exploring other ways in which both organisations can benefit from our close working partnership.” Dr Karen Burland-Clark, Head of the School of Music, University of Leeds

Two earlier collaborative PhD studentships created knowledge that supports the development of opera as an artform.

“Jenny Daniels’ PhD research into ‘Compositional responses to source and libretto’ provided excellent insights that continue to inform creative thinking at Opera North.”  Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North.

Following studying for his PhD ‘J. N. von Poissl and the early 19th-Century quest for a typical German Opera’, at the University of Leeds, Opera North’s Head of Music co-developed and co-delivers a new Staging Opera module in the School of Music.


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