Paul Stapleton


  • Room 02.031 - Sonic Arts Research Centre

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Critical Improvisation Studies, New Musical Instrument Design, Music Performance, Sound Design, Sound Art


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Paul Stapleton is a native of Southern California who began lecturing at Queen’s University Belfast in 2007. He is Professor of Music at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), where he conducts research in the areas of new musical instrument design, music performance, sound design, and critical improvisation studies. Paul designs and performs with a variety of modular metallic sound sculptures, custom made electronics, found objects and electric guitars in locations ranging from Echtzeitmusik venues in Berlin to remote beaches on Vancouver Island. His composition and sound design work as part of the immersive audio-theatre piece Reassembled, Slightly Askew has received widespread critical acclaim, including 4-star reviews in The Guardian, Time Out London, and London Evening Standard, and has touring internationally in both artistic and medical training contexts (e.g. SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto, and the Brain Injury Research Center of Mount Sinai in New York City). Paul was Co-I for the recently completed AHRC funded network Humanising Algorithmic Listening, and has led a number of previous AHRC and European Commission funded interdisciplinary research projects on topics ranging from the relationship between music improvisation and law, to the development of new methods for studying social interaction and entrainment in music performance. He has held a Visiting Scholar position at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, and regularly gives invited keynotes and workshops at international conferences and festivals (e.g. Art, Body and New Technologies 2016 colloquium at Universidad de Chile, and Resonate 2017 technology in art and music festival in Belgrade). He is a regular contributor and committee member for the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), and frequently performs and records with his own instrument designs in collaboration with professional improvising musicians in Europe and North America. His album FAUNA (2013) with saxophonist Simon Rose has received acclaim from music critics such as Ken Waxman (Jazzword), Mark Corroto (All About Jazz), and Marc Medwin (New York City Jazz Record). Additional notable collaborations include: a networked distributed instrument Ambiguous Devices with Tom Davis; new music for the performance of Irish poetry with Steve Davis and The Lyric Theatre; a virtual acoustic instrument VASPBI with Maarten Van Walstijn and Sandor Mehes; studies on sonification feedback in motor skill learning with Matthew Rodger and John Dyer; and co-direction of the Translating Improvisation research group with Sara Ramshaw.

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Research Output

Ens Ekt California Tour

Stapleton, P., Pultz Melbye, A. & Rose, S., Oct 2019

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

  • New Communication (installation and performances by Ens Ekt)

    Stapleton, P., Pultz Melbye, A. & Rose, S., Aug 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  • Pandemonium Trio perform Drone and Drama v2

    Cullen, B., Stapleton, P. & Ortiz, M., 06 Jun 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

    Open Access
  • 4 Downloads (Pure)

    Rite (music album by Ens Ekt)

    Stapleton, P., Pultz Melbye, A. & Rose, S., 10 Oct 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

  • Prizes

    Best Poster Award at NIME 2017, Copenhagen, 2017

    Sandor Mehes (Recipient), Van Walstijn, Maarten (Recipient) & Stapleton, Paul (Recipient), 18 May 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    Invited Talk at Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham

    Paul Stapleton (Invited speaker)

    17 Jan 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Invited Talk and Graduate Seminar at the Music Department of University of California, San Diego

    Paul Stapleton (Invited speaker)

    21 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    19th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Event)

    Paul Stapleton (Peer reviewer)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Invited Talk at the Music Colloquium Series, University of Virginia

    Paul Stapleton (Invited speaker)

    25 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Invited Talk and Workshop Participant at Future Folk / Traid Le Teacht, Newnham College, University of Cambridge

    Paul Stapleton (Invited speaker)

    05 Sep 201906 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Press / Media

    Making the Club Strange

    Ricki O'Rawe & Paul Stapleton


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research


    Human Movement Sonification for Motor Skill Learning

    Author: Dyer, J., Jun 2017

    Supervisor: Rodger, M. (Supervisor) & Stapleton, P. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy