'Digital Delius' project wins VC Public Engagement with Research Award

dan grimley

A project led by Professor Daniel Grimley, Faculty of Music, has won a Project Award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards.

The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at Keble College, Oxford, on 10 July 2019, hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.

'Digital Delius: Interpretation, Performance, and Analysis' explored the cosmopolitan connections of the composer Delius and his creative affinity with the landscapes and cultures of other countries. The team created a catalogue of his works which demonstrated his painstaking compositional process and the multiple versions his pieces went through as he refined them.

“We worked with the British Library, the Delius Trust and the Villiers Quartet to create a permanent digital exhibition of Delius’s manuscripts supported by a range of outreach activities” says Professor Grimley.

The objectives of the project were to enable wider understanding and appreciation of musical sources, using Delius as a rich case study through access to the manuscripts, to show what they mean and to provide a holistic view of the whole life-cycle of a musical work.

Engagement activities included: a commercially-released recording; a schools workshop with the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra, a performance by the orchestra for primary age children; a workshop with the Villiers String Quartet and Oxford students using digital technology; and a seminar for GSCE and A-level students on composer manuscripts.

“It was very interesting to see how composers wrote their music and how they didn’t write it from start to finish but a little bit at a time,” commented a participating school student

“This was fundamentally a team effort, bringing together musicologists, computer scientists, performers and heritage experts, leading to a number of collaborative projects and papers. This research also lays the foundation for future researchers in heritage and digital musicology,” adds Professor Grimley. Particular recognition is due to the project team, including Dr Joanna Bullivant, Faculty of Music; Dr Kevin Page and David Lewis, Engineering Science; Helen Faulkner, The Delius Trust; and Dr Amelie Roper, British Library and James Dickenson, Villiers Quartet.

Professor Alison Woollard, Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research, University of Oxford says: “These awards highlight the many ways that Oxford’s researchers engage with the public. This includes informing and empowering people by sharing research findings; working in partnership with communities to shape research and enabling citizens to take part in the research by collecting and analysing data through Citizen Science. These winning projects also demonstrate that excellence in engagement results in a ‘win-win’ for both researchers and publics alike.”

About the awards

The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The awards are in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Building Capacity and Projects. Entrants can be at any level in their career and activities of any scale are welcome.

Winning entries receive recognition for their achievements at the Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards Ceremony that took place on 10 July 2019. The Vice-Chancellor’s prize was also announced at the ceremony, with the winner to receive a cash prize of £1,500.