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Professor Matthew Sansom

Faculty Head of International and External Engagement

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Research Supervision:

Matthew Sansom is a multidisciplinary artist working with sound, video, sculpture, and installation. Building on a doctorate in free improvisation, his work explores the practice and theory of creative process, its philosophy, aesthetics, and pedagogy.

[email protected]

Visit Matthew's website


With over 25 years of higher education experience, Matthew Sansom has held academic leadership roles in the UK and Malaysia. He holds a PhD in Music from the University of Sheffield and is an international artist and researcher. His interdisciplinary exploration focuses on the intersections of music, sound, media, and culture, and his publications span philosophy, aesthetics, and the pedagogy of creativity.

Employing various media and contexts, including sound, video, sculpture, installation, performance, and musical composition, his work has been exhibited and performed internationally, including at the National Theatre of Prague, Victoria & Albert Museum, ICA (London), CCA (Glasgow), t-u-b-e Galerie (Munich), Korean Institute of Culture, and Ely Cathedral. Commissions have included sound-based works for Liverpool City Council, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.

Research interests

  • Creative process
  • Sound art
  • Free improvisation
  • Environmental sound

Areas of research supervision

  • Computer-based musical composition
  • Sound arts practice
  • Free Improvisation


  • PhD Music, The University of Sheffield, 1997
  • BMus (Hons), The University of Sheffield, 1992
  • Post-Graduate Certificate of Professional Practice, University of Derby, 1999

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • VARRN - Virtual Augmented Reality Research Network (Co-Director), 2021. A collaborative transdisciplinary team of ASEAN region researchers. Sunway University, Malaysia £10,000.
  • AHRC Research Award (CI), 2012-13. Landscape Quartet: a collaborative investigation into the creative possibilities afforded by working in direct dialogue with the natural environment. Newcastle University and University of Surrey £130,000.
  • ESPRC University of Surrey MILES funding (CI), 2012-13. Cross-disciplinary project: music, choreography, computer science. University of Surrey £17,000.

Selected recent publications

Installations and Exhibitions

Sansom, M. (2016<) Park Bench Sojourn [Online]. Available at: www.parkbenchsojourn.org (Accessed: [27 March 2024]). Shown at:

  • Aural Diversity Conference and Concert, University of Leicester and Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, UK. (30 Nov - 1 Dec 2019)
  • DigitalHERITAGE 2018 New Realities: Authenticity & Automation in the Digital Age. 3rd International Congress & Expo, San Francisco, USA. (26 - 30 Oct 2018)
  • Transmedia // A Digital Storytelling Exhibition // School of Arts, Sunway University, Malaysia. (Dec 2017)
  • SONOLOGIA’16 OUT-OF-PHASE, International sound studies conference. NuSom – Research Centre on Sonology, University São Paulo. (22 - 25 Oct 2016).

Sansom, M. (2015) Of Other Spaces [art installation: sound, music, spoken text, and video intervention]. The Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK.

Sansom, M. (2014) Isolations [art installation: sound and video]. The Old Police Station, Deptford, London, UK.

Sansom, M. (2013) Homelands - working the rice, working the mountain [mixed-media installation and site-specific performances]. Manzi's Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam. Funded by DOM DOM (Center for Contemporary Music in Vietnam).

Sansom, M. (2013) WeakForce4 [collaborative sound/sculptural installation]. St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, NZ.

Sansom, M. (2013) East Mere Hide [audiovisual work]. 2013 Sonorities Festival, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Modern Art Oxford, Digital Art Soundscapes in conjunction with Music, Digitisation, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies, University of Oxford, UK.

Book Chapters

Sansom, M. 2017, 'Under the Aspect of Eternity: A Perennialist Interpretation of Free Improvisational Aesthetics and Pedagogy', in Boyce-Tillman, J. (ed.), Spirituality in Music Education, Peter Lang, Oxford.

Sansom, M. 2017, 'Improvisation', in King, A., Himonides, E. & Ruthmann, A. (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Music, Technology, and Education, Routledge, London.


Sansom, M., Siang See, Z. (2021), ‘Translating performative mediated art into virtual reality: A case study’, Virtual Creativity, 11:1, pp. 53–65.

Sansom, M. (2015), ‘Dissolving dualities: Onto-epistemological implications of ecological sound art’, Contemporary Music Review, 34:4, pp. 267–80.

Sansom, M., Hogg, B. (2015), ‘Perspectives from Practice’, Contemporary Music Review, 34:4, pp. 259-261.

Sansom, M. (2007), ‘Improvisation & Identity: A Qualitative Study’, Critical Studies in Improvisation, 3: 1.

Sansom, M. (2001), ‘Imaging Music: Abstract Expressionism and Free Improvisation’, Leonardo Music Journal, 11:1, pp. 29-34.

Recent presentations and conferences

Sansom, M. (2021), 'Participation, awareness and the mediated self', online artist talk and exhibitor, Visual Culture 2021, CICA Museum, Seoul, S. Korea. (28 March 2021)

Sansom, M. (2019), 'Perceptually Diverse Inclusivity in Multimodal Interdisciplinary Arts Practice', artist talk and academic paper, Aural Diversity Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester and at the Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester, UK. (30 Nov - 1 Dec 2019)

Sansom, M. (2016), 'Listening Out for the Metaphysical: an introduction to Park Bench Sojourn', SONOLOGIA’16 OUT-OF-PHASE, International sound studies conference, NuSom – Research Centre on Sonology, University São Paulo. (Oct 22 - 25 2016)

Sansom, M. (2016), 'Technology, the digital musician and higher education', presenter and panel member, In Sync? Music, teaching and learning in higher music education, University of Agder and CEMPE/Norwegian Academy of Music, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. (Aug 31 - Sept 1 2016)

Sansom, M. (2016), 'In the making: insights gained from ecological sound arts practice', presenter and panel member, Site and Sound: Practice-Based Explorations of Music and Space, RMA 52nd Annual Conference, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London. (Sept 3 - 5 2016)