Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Susan Donelly

,07980 487716

School of Music

BA (Hons) Music, MA in Contemporary Performing Arts (Music), Cert Ed (Post 16), QTLS, MSET, FHEA

I am currently HE Pathway Leader for music and Music Technology at University Campus, Barnsley. My main areas of interest as a freelance arts worker and researcher are in community music and therapeutic song writing and performance, particularly within the women’s refuge setting.


I have worked as a music lecturer/course leader since 1994 have both taught and led programmes in A-Level Music/Music Technology, BTEC Music, Music Technology and Performing Arts and degree courses in Popular Music and Music Technology. I also spent a number of years teaching music and performing arts to students with learning difficulties and disabilities, we often devised musicals and operas open to public performance. I began working for Barnardos Family Centre as a therapeutic music worker whilst taking my master’s degree. At the same time I was invited onto the steering group for Corridor Arts, a pioneering arts organisation aiming to promote the arts within the most economically deprived areas of Barnsley. During this time I delivered projects in a variety of community settings including youth groups and schools, I also wrote original music for the Worsborough Mystery Plays. More recently I have worked in Judith House Women’s Refuge providing song writing and performance activities as therapeutic intervention. I am researching the benefits and outcomes of this as an intervention within my PhD at Leeds University.

Research Interests

Post Graduate Areas of research have included:

  • An analysis of the music of Cornelius Cardew in relation to social/political belief and enlightenment. This research included interviews with John Tilbury, Michael Parsons and other friends of cardew. Copies of Cardew’s hand written scores were also sent by his son to inform research.
  • An analysis of the arts in Barnsley during the mid-90’s in relation to socio-political factors and context
  • The individual and group benefits of community music-making and their relation to society
  • Music appreciation in relation to context. Research included the functions and contexts of music appreciation and their links to passive through to active involvement. Music linked to indigenous cultures, music linked to dance and music linked to concerts all formed part of the research. Interviews included the administrator of the Proms during 1996, Stephen Maddock.
  • Current research centres around the outcomes and benefits of music as an intervention with the women’s refuge setting


In my current post as HE Pathway Leader for Music and Music Technology at the University Centre, Barnsley I lecture on a number of modules for all degree years including music study skills, musicianship, composition and arrangement, instrumental creativity and music in education. I also direct the Barnsley Community Choir. I am a PGCE student mentor for both Huddersfield University and Sheffield Hallam University and lead internal verifier for BTEC courses in Music and Music Technology. I also work as a freelance community arts worker for Qdos Creates who provide community-based arts projects and activities.

Research Centres & Groups

  • International Centre for Community Music (York St John University)

Professional Practice

I have composed a number of works for choir, orchestra or small chamber ensemble including:

  • Requiem (1992)
  • Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair (Fantasy on a Folk Theme) (1992)
  • Swete Jesu (A Song for Christmas) (1992)
  • Symphonia for Musical Ensemble, Voices & Sound Tape (1993)
  • Nativity (Devised with the children of Shafton Youth Club) (1995) 
  • The Celestial Dawning: Worsborough Mystery Plays (1995)
  • Accounts (A Music/Drama Piece for Soundtape and Voices) (1996)
  • The River (1996)
  • Pandora (A Piece using Extended Flute Technique and Electronic Effects) (1996)



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