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Network Directors

Dr Freya Bailes

Freya is the Programme Leader of the MA, PGDip and PGCert Music and Wellbeing Programmes at the University of Leeds.

She combines her research experience as a music psychologist with her education and insight as a musician to investigate the factors that make musical engagement so beneficial for so many people, and in so many different ways.

Prior to joining the University of Leeds, Freya held appointments that include Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull (2012-15), Senior Research Fellow at the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney (2007-12), and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Canberra (2004-07), Ohio State University (2003-04) and Universite de Bourgogne (2002-03). She obtained her PhD in 2002 from the University of Sheffield, and since then has published widely on topics as diverse as musical imagery (i.e. imagining music in the mind’s ear), music and memory, mental representations in musical creativity, therapeutic uses of music, and cognitive and social processes in performance.


Professor Karen Burland

Karen is a Professor of Applied Music Psychology at the University of Leeds and her research interests centre around musical identities and their role in musical participation in a variety of contexts, including in therapeutic music settings.

Karen is interested in the impact of life transitions on individuals and understanding the role that identity plays in the ways in which individuals adjust and cope with a range of experiences. This work has been applied in investigations of music technology in therapeutic settings, as well as in Higher Education and professional music contexts. Her book ‘Coughing and Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience’, edited with Stephanie Pitts, was published in December 2014.


Craig Robertson

Craig is the Head of Research at Nordoff Robbins, a UK-wide music therapy charity. Craig holds a PhD in Music Sociology from University of Exeter. He is on the editorial board for the online peer-reviewed journal Music and the Arts in Action and he is a member of the following research groups: Sociology of the Arts, Art and Conflict, International Peace Research Association and Asia-Pacific Peace Research Association. He has previously worked on a project for the Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), School of Politics, University of York, funded by the British Council, that investigated the role of the arts in the ‘Arab Spring’ events in 2011-2012.

Craig is particularly interested in how music therapy, music sociology and the arts and culture in general intersect with the field of peacebuilding. He has conducted scholarly research on music and diaspora; music, food and identity; music and cultural identity, emotion and belief structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the North African nations affected by the “Arab Spring” and, most recently, in Palestine. He has also been conducting an ethnographic study on the perceptions of music therapy in educational settings.