As part of their studentships, Sara, Ryan and Nicola completed a 1-month placement, or 'Researcher Employability Project' (REP) with an external partner organisation.  This is a short internship working on a specific project with a tangible outcome such as a report or performance.  

Below are brief descriptions of the placements planned or completed by the three students as part of the Expressive Ensemble Performance network, supported by WRoCAH.

WRoCAH student: Nicola Pennill
Partner: Australian Chamber OrchestraSydney, Australia
The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) is widely regarded as one of the world's finest string orchestras, with a programme of national and international performances, recordings, and an innovative and extensive education programme. For her placement Nicola will be working with the orchestra on a number of organisational projects, focusing on their extensive education programme. The orchestra are based at the Sydney Opera House, but are planning a future move which will create further opportunities for their educational and artistic programmes. Led by artistic director and lead violin Richard Tognetti , the ACO's highly collaborative approach to rehearsal and performance is one of their unique features, and among her objectives for the placement will be to get to know more about how the orchestra works on a day to day basis.  

WRoCAH student: Ryan Kirkbride

Partner: The Spark Arts for Children, Leicester, UK


The Spark Arts for Children (“Spark” for short) is a charity based in Leicester that aims to improve the well-being of children in the local area through engagement in the arts. Each year Spark puts on the largest children’s art festival in England and Wales over May school holiday, which sees over a hundred different events taking place in schools and venues across the city. In the weeks preceding the festival, Ryan was tasked with assessing the organisation’s digital engagement with their audiences through social media platforms and their website. This involved suggesting future improvements for not only improving the reach of online promotion but also continuing the conversations that were started with families at any of the number events Spark puts on each year. During the festival week itself, Ryan organised a team of volunteers to digitally document the Spark Festival by videoing and photographing the wide range of diverse arts events that were happening simultaneously all over the city. He also conducted interviews with artists and audiences alike in order to create a rich understanding of the impact the festival has on the families in the local area. The footage collected was then used to create two short videos; one for promoting the festival online and the other to showcase the importance that the festival has on children in Leicester to future investors and funding bodies. While not directly related to his PhD studies, Ryan is interested in public engagement in the digital arts, especially with young people, and this project has given him insight into the running of a large scale event of this nature.

WRoCAH student: Sara D'Amario
Partner:  Department of Speech, Music & Hearing, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

KTH is Sweden's largest and most prestigious technical university with a rich history of pioneering ideas and innovation and global reputation for excellence. The centre attracts students from all over the world and offers a range of study options for international students seeking world-class education within science and technology. The university hosts the department of Speech, Music, and Hearing committed to multi-disciplinary research on communication and interaction between humans via speech and music.

As part of WRoCAH studentships, Sara worked at KTH with Prof Sten Ternström on a research project that aims to characterize how lung volume affects vocal fold contact patterns. Data were collected by means of respiratory inductance plethysmography, multi-channel electroglottograph, head-worn microphones, and pressure transducer (see on the left a picture showing a typical set-up). Initial results show a significant correlation between lung volume and EGG waveshapes, featuring high variability across subjects, and consistency of the EGG waveshapes within subject.

This internship was an inspiring experience for Sara: she had the opportunity to work with a well-known researcher in the field of voice science, as well as reinforce and broaden a set of hard and soft skills that will be instrumental to move forward with her professional career, providing the foundations for a post-doctoral research project.

Advice for future WRoCAH students:
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the starts" (Vincent Peale).