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Dr. Helen Phelan


Helen Phelan is Professor of Arts Practice at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland. She is an Irish Research Council recipient for her work on music and migration. She is co-founder of the female vocal ensemble Cantoral, specializing in Irish medieval chant. She is founder of the Singing and Social Inclusion research group and Chair of IMBAS, a support network for artistic research in Ireland. Her most recent Health Research Institute funded project explores the use of participatory arts-based methods in migrant health research. Recent books include Singing the Rite to Belong: Music: Ritual and the New Irish (Oxford University Press) and The Artist and Academia (Routledge) with Graham Welch.

Research Interests

music and ritual; migration, music and new ritual communities in Ireland; music and the Second Vatican Council in Ireland; ritual studies; performance studies; music and education; music and community, music education philosophy.

Teaching Interests

My teaching is primarily linked to the PhD Arts Practice programme where I teach theory and method modules in arts practice research.

At the Masters level, I teach modules in ritual studies as well as writing and the documentation of arts practice to programmes in ethnomusicology, ethnochoreology, festive arts, ritual chant and song, Irish traditional music, Irish traditional dance, contemporary dance classical strings and songwriting,

I have designed a suite of modules in performance studies for the undergraduate programme as well as a broadening module in arts, activism and awareness.