Edinburgh Research Explorer

Ms. Dee Isaacs

Senior Lecturer

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Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

music in the community, ethnomusicology, composition, community arts

Education / Academic qualification

Bachelor of Music, University of Edinburgh

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseMusical composition, Music in the Community, Ethnomusicology

Biography

Dee studied music at the University of Edinburgh and composition with Professor Nigel Osborne. Dee has been commissioned by and worked closely with a wide range of professional arts bodies throughout the UK, including Opera North, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia,Scottish Ballet, Share Music UK, and the Scottish Arts Council. In 2003 she was nominated for a British Composer Award for her mixed-ability chamber opera FESTUS, for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In 2006 she was nominated again for SUPPOSE LIFE...a musical promenade through the glasshouses of the Botanic Garden. Dee is passionate about the creation of music and its wider value.

She performs contemporary classical music and has been the recipient of a number of awards to enable her to travel and study African percussion and vocal styles in Mali, the Gambia, Uganda and Senegal.She has recently set up annual research visits for students to The Gambia to study with master drummer, Thomas Camara.

She has worked for the international children's charity War Child Amsterdam, establishing a creative and developmental arts programme for refugee children in the Republic of Georgia.

She is currently an assessor for the Scottish Executive on a 3 year research programme for the National Companie

Current Research Interests

The study of indigenous vocal styles and voice production techniques of women from Mali and the Gambia, in particular, female singers from the Bambara, Malinke and Wassoulou tribes.  Currently preparing an annotated collection of traditional songs from these regions.

Creative links with Institute of Arts in Bamako, Mali, working towards the development of exchange visits by UK students.

Ongoing study of djembe drumming/dance and song in The Gambia

Beyond Bach - a devised performance for cello, live electronics and puppets

Research Interests

       Musical composition, Music in the Community, Ethnomusicology, Community Arts Practice

  • Output includes orchestral, chamber, and choral music, as well as music theatre with commissions from major arts organisations including: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Glasgow Tron Theatre, Perth Concert Hall and Magnetic North Theatre Company.
  • Compositional research into the musical and social practices within traditional song in the cultures of West Africa, the Republic of Georgia and other Eastern European traditions.
  • Recent collaborations have involved the implementation of multi-disciplinary arts projects within communities, aimed at encouraging cohesion in a diverse society.
  • Current work includes: Memories are made of this – inspired by the Alasdair Hopwood exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery March 2013 and a score for a new opera, Watching in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University and the Royal Botanic Garden for performance March 2014.
  • The study of indigenous vocal styles and voice production techniques of women from Mali and the Gambia, in particular, female singers from the Bambara, Malinke and Wassoulou tribes.  Currently preparing an annotated collection of traditional songs from these regions.
  • Big Boat – working in The Gambia, West Africa - students from the University, teachers and pupils from Deeper Life School are involved in a 3-year research project using music as tool for enhanced learning of literacy skills.

Administrative Roles

Responsible for project management and fundraising of all Music in the Community productions in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, National Museums of Scotland and other key arts organisations in Edinburgh.

Responsible for setting up and supervision/assessment of student placements with national and local organisations including The City of Edinburgh Council – Education and Social Work departments, local organisations such as Multi Cultural Family Base, Sikh Sanjog, Rowanfield Special School, Oaklands Special School, Howden Hall centre for young offenders, Prospect Bank Special School, Saughton Prison, Royal Hospital for Sick children.

Research activities & awards

  1. Watching - an opera about Sleep for Children

    Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Schools engagement

  2. board member - creative learning

    Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Work on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement

  3. Scottish Executive (External organisation)

    Activity: MembershipMembership of peer review panel or committee

View all (4) »

Research projects

  1. Windows on the world

    Project: Other ProjectResearch Collaboration with external organisation

  2. Music in the Community Projects -UK and International

    Project: Other ProjectUniversity Awarded Project Funding

  3. Orpheus in the Gardens

    Project: Other ProjectUniversity Awarded Project Funding

View all (4) »

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