"On Song - Bridging the gap between teaching, research and impact"

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


    This paper highlights an evolving set of relationships between postgraduate teaching and research in the context of songwriting and practice based research. In particular the focus lies on three projects where songs written as responses to a creative brief for coursework on UWS Masters in songwriting have been deployed within documentary film research projects engaging with heritage or indeed have been written to coincide with these projects.
    The first collaboration was 'Fountains on Film' which saw a series of songs created in response to the wholesale refurbishment of Paisley’s Grand Fountain a large and ornate cast-iron fountain celebrating Paisley’s global connections. This regeneration project was driven by the local community and embodied a drive to develop and enhance civic pride.The documentary was initially commissioned as a technical record of the restoration but it quickly became apparent that there was an opportunity to do more with it, and the addition of the diverse body of songs transformed what could have been quite a dry and factual treatment into something more ambitious. a more intentional collaboration was planned to augment the research project focused on pioneering women engineer Dorothée Pullinger and her involvement in developing the Galloway car, made largely by women for women at the Tongland factory near Kirkcudbrightshire. As with the Fountain project, David Scott, musician and academic leader of the songwriting MA at UWS set a brief for the students to write a song in a few hours at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum where there is a rare example of the Galloway car as part of the collection. He was joined by fellow UWS academics Professor Katherine Kirk and Tony Grace from MCS who filmed David and the songwriters on location. Some great songs emerged from this and featured in a performance at Paisley Abbey – itself part of the MA course . The songs also inform and provide some soundtrack for the longer documentary project on Dorothée Pullinger part of the RAEng funded "Ingenious" Project.
    Following the success of these collaborations it was decided that the concept could be applied to the core module Collaborative Project and this year, students were asked to respond to the hidden heritage embodied in the archaeology of Paisley Abbey’s Great Drain a fascinating monument lying under the abbey precinct which has been the subject of several excavations revealing a wealth of finds including slates inscribed with the earliest polyphonic music in Scotland. This body of work was performed at the Abbey and also formed part as soundtrack for a further documentary project on the BIG DIG 2019 further archaeological investigation of the drain in the summer of 2019.
    These three projects highlight the interplay between creative forms teaching and research and also the benefits of this interdisciplinary approach in reaching a wider audience and creating significant impact.
    Period26 Jun 2019
    Event titleUWS Annual Teaching, Learning and Research Conference 2019
    Event typeConference
    LocationPaisley, United KingdomShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionNational


    • Songwriting
    • Documentary
    • Postgraduate
    • Heritage
    • Interdisciplinary