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Ms Kathleen Turner



Dr Kathleen Turner is a singer, songwriter, community musician and vocal tutor at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, where she is Course Director for the Masters Degree in Community Music and teaches on a number of programmes including MA Songwriting and BA Performing Arts. She is an experienced community choral leader and has directed a number of significant performances. In 2011, Kathleen performed for the Dalai Lama during his visit to Limerick, both as a singer in the female chant ensemble ‘Terirem’, and as a conductor, leading a children’s choir in a specially composed piece, ‘Forgiveness is a Gift.’ She is the conductor of the Irish World Academy Gospel Choir and the former conductor of the Limerick Gospel Choir and the University of Limerick Gospel Choir.Kathleen recently completed a Ph.D in Arts Practice at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, exploring the role of music in the process of social regeneration. She also holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Limerick, MA Community Music and MA Ritual Chant and Song. In 2008 she was invited by the Irish Chamber Orchestra to pilot a Sistema inspired initiative in Limerick City. The programme, Sing Out with Strings, now provides 300 children annually with free access to singing, songwriting and instrumental tuition. From 2008 – 2014, Kathleen was Community Engagement Manager for the Irish Chamber Orchestra, implementing a number of projects that bring live music into the classroom and community. She continues to maintain a strong relationship with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Sing Out with Strings.

Research Interests

Dr. Kathleen Turner completed her doctoral research in 2017 in the role of community music in social regeneration, with particular focus on issues of power, language and identity concerning children and young people. Her work, both as a performer and as a researcher, centres on the profound potential music holds in instigating tangible social change.

Themes include:

  • the importance of policy language (community music, music education and regeneration theory) and its impact on perceptions of youth
  • the importance of children’s voices in the development of a new regeneration discourse
  • possible implications for how community artists are trained to work / approach their practice with communities in areas of socio-economic disadvantage
  • contribution to the emerging canon of Arts Practice Research, specifically in the area of narrative inquiry and auto ethnography

Teaching Interests

I am a practicing community musician, writer, performer and researcher and each of these areas of practice connect directly to my teaching at the academy. I contribute across programmes, but my particular areas of interest are in arts practice research, auto ethnography and narrative inquiry, songwriting, and community music facilitation.

Professional Activities


  • 2017 - Jerome Hynes Fellowship


  • 2014 Committee for Non-mainstream Department of Education and Skills Funded Music Education, Non-mainstream music education and community music programmes
  • 2013 Music Generation Limerick City, Working group and steering committee for the proposal, funding and development of Music Generation Limerick City. Part funded by Ireland Funds, U2 and local authority.


  • 2008 University of Limerick - Master of Arts
  • 2007 University of Limerick - Master of Arts
  • 2005 University of Stirling - Bachelor of Arts (Hons)


  • International Women’s Day: Curating an annual concert hosted by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, featuring prominent female performers in music, dance, poetry and theatre.
  • World Carnival: A joint initiative led by Dr Helen Phelan, supported by Sanctuary (Irish World Academy and HEA) exploring the use of world music to celebrate diverse cultures within the school environment. World Carnival was supported by musicians from the Irish Chamber Orchestra and students of Maria King Presentation Primary School, Limerick City. 
  • Venezuelan Percussion Ensemble: Two days of community workshops and a family concert featuring members of the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, hosted by the Irish Chamber Orchestra. 
  • International Day of the Girl 2015: Two days of community performances and events in support of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, in association with Limerick City and County Council, Limerick Milk Market and Limerick City Gym.
  • International Day of the Girl 2016: A two day mentoring programme with staff of the Irish World Academy and 25 female students from schools in Limerick City. This is a joint initiative with Limerick School of Art and Design (Fiona Quill) with colleagues Jennifer De Brún, Dr Niamh Ní Ghabhann and Hannah Fahey.
  • Sonas is Sláinte: Developed with colleagues Dr Hilary Moss and Dr Alpha Woodward, this is a series of student performances hosted by University Hospital Limerick, intended to improve experiences of the hospital environment for staff, patients and visitors. This is a joint initiative between the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (Community Music and Music Therapy) and University Hospital Limerick.