Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  How is visual music evolving? From experimental film making to assemblages of old A/V equipment, bespoke combinations of software and hardware to off the shelf units and live performance.

   Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

  Dr Shaleph O'Neill  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

How is visual music evolving? From experimental film making to assemblages of old A/V equipment, bespoke combinations of software and hardware to off the shelf units and live performance.

• What are the key technological drivers that are shaping the visual music of the future?

• What are the key technical problems that have been solved?

• Have they really addressed the fundamental issues at play at the heart of visual music or are they defacto standards built on the arbitrary explorations and trends of the past?

• What if the starting point for visualisation is the interaction and mastery of musical instruments. How does that effect how we construct visualisation solutions?

• What does thinking about the visual do to musical performance if they are happening at the same time?

• Is improvisation the best strategy? Can we build systems to enable visual music improvisation?

• Can we build systems that allow us to compose visual music in a fluid manner. Where considerations of the visual and the musical are deeply connected?

• What the visual component becomes the interface. How can understanding core visual music concpets lead to new visual tools for making and controlling sound?

This project aims to investigate what the legacy of Visual Music is in terms of the current field of practitioners that are involved in some technologically enhanced visual/music making process. What their approaches are, what tools and technologies they use and how they are moving the field forward.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Shaleph O'Neill,

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.5 in reading and writing, and 6.0 in speaking and listening). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications and alternative ways to demonstrate language proficiency; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:



Step 1: Email Dr Shaleph O’Neill, to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr O’Neill, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Art & Design (3 year) using our direct application system: Apply for a PhD in Art and Design.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-         Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-         Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Communication & Media Studies (7) Creative Arts & Design (9)

Funding Notes

While no institutional funding is available for this project, I am more than happy to help prospective students with applications to research councils, funding bodies and doctoral training partnerships (DTPs) as part of their application process. The Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) is the appropriate DTP for my institution. View Website


Towards a Semiotics of Visual Music
O'Neill, S., 27 Mar 2023, (E-pub ahead of print) The Intermediality of Contemporary Visual Arts [Working Title]. López-Varela Azcárate, A. (ed.). Intech
Live Visuals; History, Theory, Practice, eds. Steve Gibson, Stefan Arisona, Donna Leishman and Atau Tanaka, (London and New York, Routledge, 2023).

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?