Henry McPherson

Henry McPherson


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Personal profile


I'm an artist-researcher with specialism in improvisation practices (Music, Dance), contemporary and experimental music(s), inter- and trans-disciplinary practice in the arts, applied arts in social and health contexts. My current research interests centre improvisation practices as applied and emergent within social and wellbeing centred work, as well as improvisation for/as empowerment of marginalised individuals and communities. 

I currently work as a Research Associate with Creative Manchester, and in the School of Health Sciences as a Research Associate on an NIHR SSCR funded study evaluating the impact of an improvised music-making programme on the wellbeing of staff and family carers in dementia care contexts. 

I came to the University of Manchester in June 2023, having completed my PhD at the University of Huddersfield School of Music/School of Drama, Dance, and Performance across the Covid-19 pandemic. My doctoral project was a practice-led study investigating transdisciplinary improvising practices, with a substantial component addressing intersections of gender, racialisation, embodiment, and the axiologies of practice in communities of improvisers in Europe and North America from 1950 to the present.

Between 2019 - 2023, during my PhD, I was a part-time lecturer at the University of Huddersfield School of Music, where I developed and led an undergraduate module-component on Free Improvisation for students of diverse musical backgrounds. I also maintain a role as Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where I have co-developed and co-taught a short course in interdisciplinary improvisation practice, encompassing improvisation and sociality, improvisation and politics, with co-ordinator Dr. Maria Sappho.

My professional arts practice draws across the performing and fine-arts disciplines, and I have worked internationally in contemporary composition for concert and stage, live performance, gallery installation, audiovisual production, recording, arts pedagogy and residency contexts. I have an interest in issues of artistic practice and marginalised identity, particularly around LGTBQ(+) and disability visibility, agency, and advocacy.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, More Than One Thing: A Practice-Led Investigation into Transdisciplinary Free Improvisation in Sound and Movement, The University of Huddersfield

Sept 2019May 2023

Award Date: 15 May 2023

Master of Arts, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Bachelor of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


External positions

Part-Time Lecturer (Music), The University of Huddersfield


Visiting Lecturer, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Mar 2020 → …

Areas of expertise

  • M Music
  • Improvisation Studies
  • Experimental Music
  • Free Improvisation
  • Performance Studies
  • Contemporary Performance
  • Applied Arts Practices
  • Dance Studies
  • BH Aesthetics
  • Transdisciplinary Studies
  • Posthumanism
  • Videographic Studies
  • HT Communities. Classes. Races
  • Queer Theory
  • Gender and Feminist Theory

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester