A performance of Where the Light Falls at Firth Hall, Sheffield

A performance of Where the Light Falls at Firth Hall, Sheffield

'Where Light Falls: Songs about Joni Mitchell' involved collaboration between the IPM researcher and lyricist Mike Jones, Argentinean born guitarist Alejandro Sancho and singer Rosie Brown. Together they created a rich biographical body of work in song, exploring the artist's career and complicated personal life, joys and trials, the love she walked away from to fulfil her artistic dreams, her life as a painter, and her conflicts with fame. The project involved a series of live performances and the release of an album (Photos by Tracey Welch)


Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity (POPID) was a three-year project exploring how histories and memories of popular music shape identity and notions of heritage.

Supported by the European Humanities in the Research Area Joint Research Programme, the project involved collaboration between researchers in England, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia. The research in England was conducted by Sara Cohen (Director), Les Roberts (Research Associate) and Gurdeep Khabra (Phd student). It included interviews with representatives from music and media industries and tourism and heritage sector, and with music audiences, who were invited to create maps of their musical memories. Rollow-on projects included a collaboration with the Rotterdam Film festival and IPM project Music, Photographs and Cultural Memory.

Music, Repertoire and Value

  Hallé Orchestra members receiving their Twenty Year Service medals


Hallé Orchestra members receiving their Twenty Year Service medals

A three-month project exploring the Manchester Hallé Archives, a significant and comprehensive but under-utilised collection of documents relating to the Hallé’s history and operation.

The project focused on the Orchestra’s activities during the 1943-44 season when there was a dramatic increase in the number of women orchestral players and in audience numbers, changes in repertoire, and performances in non-traditional venues such as dance halls and a circus. It resulted in a virtual exhibition and GPS tour launched to coincide with the Manchester International Festival, and a workshop bringing together music archivists and researchers from across the UK and Ireland. The research was conducted by postdoctoral researcher Jacky Waldock and supported by The Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project was led by Sara Cohen (IPM) in collaboration with Margaret Procter (Department of History, University of Liverpool) and Eleanor Roberts (Trust and Research Manager, Manchester Hallé).  

Pop, Passion and Politics

A project exploring the relationship between music and politics through materials from the IPM Collections. It resulted in an exhibition staged at the Lodge of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and comprising 34 specially framed panels. The exhibition was curated by Sara Cohen, Mike Jones and Paul Sillitoe from the IPM. 

Collecting and Curating Popular Music Histories

An eighteen-month project exploring practical and theoretical issues involved with preserving and representing popular music in a museum. The project was directed by Marion Leonard and supported by the Beyond Text programme of The Arts and Humanities Research Council, and involved a partnership with National Museums Liverpool and the V&A Museum in London. The research was conducted by Marion and Robert Knifton and project outputs included the Mixcase exhibition staged at Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery and Museum and featuring materials from the IPM Collections.

The Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On, a four-year project exploring the popular music history of Merseyside, resulted in an exhibition staged at World Museum Liverpool, which ran for 15 months and attracted 478,188 visitors. Led by Sara Cohen and Marion Leonard, the project was based on a partnership with National Museums Liverpool (NML) and the exhibition was curated by Marion during a two-year secondment to NML. Among the exhibition's many diverse exhibits were 200 items from the IPM Collections and Mapping the Beat, a digital interactive installation produced by Sara Cohen and Brett Lashua and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and English Heritage. The exhibition was accompanied by The Beat Goes Online, an online resource produced by a team of IPM researchers, and the book The Beat Goes On: Liverpool, Popular Music and the Changing City edited by Marion Leonard and Rob Strachan.

Popular Musicscapes

A two-year project examining popular music and urban landscape in order to address topical debates concerning culture, creativity and urban regeneration. The project explored how Liverpool-based musicians engaged with the changing city through archival and ethnographic research, and the use of maps and map-making as a methodological and analytical tool.

Supported by the Landscape and Environment programme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the research was conducted by Sara Cohen (Principal Investigator) and Brett Lashua (Research Associate) in partnership with English HeritageNational Museums Liverpool and the urban arts company Urbeatz. Project outputs included a digital and interactive installation at Liverpool World Museum, commercial audio releases and public performances. Follow-on projects included a community-based film about the African and Caribbean clubs of Liverpool 8 supported by the University of Liverpool and Leeds Metropolitan University, and the Liverpool One project involving the recording and release of an album of original material.


Electric Blanket was an interactive digital audiovisual project exploring the memories of sheltered housing residents aged 55 to 80. It explored the process of remembering through physical media such as recordings, photographs and film; the power of sound to solicit memory; and the transience of both memory and media. It involved video interviews and oral histories with the residents, and audio recordings of sounds that were a significant part of their memories.

Co-directed by Rob Strachan (IPM) and commissioned by Tennantspin, The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) and Arena Housing, the project resulted in a digital archive and an installation at FACT, one of the UK’s leading digital arts institutions.

Twilight City

Twilight City  involved a series of four high profile audiovisual performances paying tribute to Liverpool's potentially overlooked spaces, including industrial and business buildings, the city centre and the suburb. Conducted by Rob Strachan (IPM) as part of the electronic music collective HIVE, each event involved a reworking of familiar sounds and a distorting of familiar sights, and state of the art projected visuals.