Research at the Faculty

The Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music are two historically distinguished Melbourne arts institutions that have been brought together to form a vital and dynamic research Faculty at the University of Melbourne.

Associate Dean (Research)

Associate Professor Kenny McAlpine

The Faculty of Fine Arts and Music has an active and vibrant research culture that combines an exploratory and experimental approach to enquiry, and that draws upon both traditional and practice-led modes of research in the pursuit of excellence and innovation. Interdisciplinary collaboration is a key feature of our work, and the process of colliding traditional and emerging ideas, perspectives, knowledges and methods creates an environment of intellectual opportunity and informs and infuses our approach to teaching and learning. This approach to artistic research and arts-based research is embodied in all of the internationally-acclaimed creative artworks and scholarly work we produce.

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Research Centres, Units and Groups

Creative Arts and Music Therapy Research Unit

Our vision is to establish a culture of excellence in creative arts therapies research and training, grounded in a supportive and inspiring research milieu and fostered in international collaboration.

National Music Therapy Research Unit

NaMTRU aims to engage and integrate with key stakeholders and to educate and empower students and practitioners to enrich society through music therapy.

Research Unit for Indigenous Arts and Cultures

Our vision is to centre Indigenous philosophies of practice in the academy and society through arts practice, arts research, research training and partnerships.

Centre of Visual Art (CoVA)

Our vision is to establish a culture of excellence in creative arts therapies research and training, grounded in a supportive and inspiring research milieu and fostered in international collaboration.

ARC Centre for Excellence for the History of Emotions

Emotions shape individual, community and national identities. The ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions uses historical knowledge from Europe, 1100–1800, to understand the long history of emotional behaviours.

Creativity and Wellbeing Research Initiative

The Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative explores the intersection of creativity and wellbeing. It uses an interdisciplinary knowledge base to cultivate a network of researchers who investigate the relationship between creativity and wellbeing, and the impact of creativity on wellbeing across the lifespan.

Music, Mind and Wellbeing Initiative

The world-first Music, Mind & Wellbeing initiative links neuroscience with music and social wellbeing through a unique set of collaborations spanning music, science, health, education, and industry.


For Research in Art, Performing Arts and Design


Graduate Research Students


Research income over the last 5 years (HERDC)

Our Research Stories

Dance of change and growth

Dr Kim Dunphy is developing new and innovative methods to help dance movement therapists to assess their clients’ progress.

Art, music, text: working outside and inside traditional exhibition circuits

Dr Sean Lowry’s art practice mixes media, twisting the visual, aural and written word together – often outside of traditional exhibition spaces.

Online and on key: technology and music education

Senior lecturer Dr Carol Johnson is delving into how modern technology can enhance the learning process for both amateur and professional musicians.

The art of research: where the painter and the visual theorist meet

Professor Barb Bolt's work takes a philosophical approach to art, questioning the relationship between artist, subject, materials and audience.

The restorative power of music therapy

Professor Felicity Baker's world-leading research is showing how music can be used as a therapeutic tool for people affected by dementia and depression.

Understanding the mechanism of musical mastery

Professor Gary McPherson’s research shows that motivation and the quality of music practice are more powerful predictors of performance skill than the quantity of practice.

Vanitas: a modern reflection on death and its depiction in art

Robert Walton's Webby Award-nominated artwork for smartphones and cemeteries explores the themes of death and transience through immersive audio, vanitas paintings, text messages and apps.

Contact the Research Office

For more information about current research, graduate research opportunities, or support for current researchers, contact the Research Office.