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Dr James Dooley

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University as Lecturer in Music Technology in July 2020. I contribute to teaching on module A232, and I am currently involved in developing new courses that explore music technology and it's impact on musical practice. Prior to my appointment at the Open University, I completed a PhD in Music Composition at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (2015), where I was also Lecturer in Music Technology from 2017 to 2020. From 2015 to 2017 I was also Associate Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, providing dissertation support to final year Audio Production students.

I am active as a composer and performer of electronic music, and have presented my work at festivals and venues internationally, including Slingshot Festival (USA), Longyou Grottoes International Festival (China), InSonic (Germany) and Supersonic Festival (UK). As a live electronics musicians, I have worked with and supported performances for a wide range of composers and ensembles, such as Jonathan Harvey, Robert Ashley, Philipe Hurel, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Examples of my compositions and performances can be found at:

Research interests

My practice-based research focuses on the development and application of novel interfaces for the composition and performance of electronic music. Currently, I am developing a digital musical instrument (DMI) that examines ways in which musicians can easily control complex sound synthesis and sound manipulation through the use of touchscreen interfaces. This raises a number of research questions, such as what barriers exist between musicians and technology, what musical interface design considerations need to be addressed when creating new DMIs, and how can both affordances and hidden affordances of DMIs be catalysts for creative exploration? In trying to answer these quesitons, my research has begun to recognise how DMIs more broadly exhibit biases about the user, encasing ideas and assumptions about musical practice and cultural norms within the design of their interfaces.

I supervise PhD students and welcome enquiries from potential candidates.

Recently completed PhD theses:
Balandino Di Donato (2020)
"Designing embodied human-computer interactions in music performance"

Niccolò Granieri (2020)
"Augmenting the experience of playing of the piano: controlling audioprocessing through ancillary gestures"

Teaching interests

I am Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and have taught Undergraduate and Postgraduate students since 2011. I have experience teaching the following areas of Music Technology: Sound Synthesis, Sound Recording, Surround Sound, Mastering and Production, Live Electronics Composition and Performance.


HarpCI, Empowering Performers to Control and Transform Harp Sounds in Live Performance (2019)
Di Donato, Balandino; Dooley, James and Coccioli, Lamberto
Contemporary Music Review, 38(6) (pp. 667-686)

Improvising through the senses: a performance approach with the indirect use of technology (2018)
Michailidis, Tychonas; Dooley, James; Granieri, Niccolò and Di Donato, Balandino
Digital Creativity, 29(2-3) (pp. 149-164)

Live Electronics in Practice: Approaches to Training Professional Performers (2013-08)
Bullock, Jamie; Coccioli, Lamberto; Dooley, James and Michailidis, Tychonas
Organised Sound, 18(2) (pp. 170-177)

Retaining pianistic virtuosity in #MIs: Exploring pre-existing gestural nuances for live sound modulation through a comparative study (2021)
Granieri, Niccolò; Dooley, James and Michailidis, Tychonas
In: Hepworth-Sawyer, Russ; Paterson, Justin and Toulson, Rob eds. Innovation in Music: Future Opportunities
ISBN : 9780367363352 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK

MYtrOmbone: exploring gesture controlled live electronics in solo trombone performance (2021)
Dooley, James and Hall, Simon
In : International Computer Music Conference 2021 - The Virtuoso Computer: redefining limits (ICMC 2021) (25-31 Jul 2021, Santiago (Online)) (pp. 23-26)

GRAZpatterns (2023-01-13)
Dooley, James
James Dooley

Scintilla for dancer, clarinet and live electronics (2019-05-05)
Johnson, Liz; Dooley, James; Hurst, Dane and McNeill, Jack
Sound and Music

rive (moog) (2018-06-24)
Dooley, James
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham, UK. [Performance].

colligation (Moog): exploring the confluence of gesture, light and the Moog System 55 analogue synthesiser. (2018)
Dooley, James

rive: splitting sound and light (2017-12-09)
Dooley, James
ZKM_Cube. Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany

NuBody (2017)
Sabri, Sonia; Dooley, James and Di Donato, Balandino

arK1a (2017)
Dooley, James

Equinode II (2016-10-22)
Dooley, James and Di Donato, Balandino
Integra Lab, Birmingham.

esthesis (2016-05-31)
Dooley, James

entryiseasierthantheexit_exit (2016-02-01)
Dooley, James

formuls: audiovisual performance at SPECTRA Festival, Malaysia (2016)
Dooley, James

formuls: performance at sonADA Festival (2016)
Dooley, James

formuls: performance at Electric Nights Festival, Athens, Greece (2016)
Dooley, James

entryiseasierthantheexit_entry (2016)
Dooley, James

equinode (2015)
Dooley, James and Di Donato, Balandino