Established in March 2007, the NOVARS research centre specialises in the areas of interactive music and media, audification, electroacoustic composition, game-audio, and locative-audio.

Our facilities

As part of an expansion to its research programme in electroacoustic composition, The University of Manchester invested £2.2 million in a new cutting-edge studio infrastructure. NOVARS directly benefits from these facilities and is based in the electroacoustic building designed by Cruickshank and Seward.

Our study opportunities

In collaboration with the Music department, we offer a well-integrated pathway at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels which merges electroacoustic composition, instrumental composition and music theatre, and includes experimental and contemporary performance practice.

We also offer a joint course with the Royal Northern College of Music. With access to esteemed performers in residence, NOVARS appeals to composers willing to experiment with extended techniques, chamber groups or large-scale instrumental forces in combination with new music technologies.

Our research

Our current research projects focus on sound spatialisation and diffusion of acousmatic composition, machine musicianship, cross-disciplinary projects including collaborations with sports science and biotechnology, and a range of interactive applications of sonic art, including: geo-locative tourist and cultural experiences augmented through sonic art; immersive multimedia experiences incorporating virtual or augmented reality and/or augmented reality where sound is the central, determining component; and composition using live game-audio with virtual and real performers, exploring the creative interactions between humans and VR/AR in digital performance.

Our events

Our MANTIS Festival (Manchester Theatre in Sound) explores new areas of creativity and pushes the boundaries of acousmatic performance. The event is an experimental research space for postgraduate students, an international platform for the performance and diffusion of electroacoustic music, and a valuable support network for hosting events in the field of computer music.

Our community

NOVARS has a clear focus on building a community and projecting its research internationally. Our research community is one of our most significant achievements and synergies between our artistic and scientific communities have led to many projects, concerts, events, prizes and activities.

We work hard to keep strong links with our researchers after they graduate and aim to grow sustainably to ensure the quality and focus of the work we do.