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Robert Chafer

Music, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Creative Frameworks for Future Practice: Cross-synthesis of Mixed-Reality and Audiovisual Composition

My Research 

Mixed reality (MR) is a leading-edge, emerging, audiovisual (AV) technology for creativity in the digital age. MR superimposes digitally generated media on to physical-world environments, incorporating 360-degree audio, using ‘smart’ glasses interfaces. MR’s potential in the arts is enormous, but as a technology in its infancy, is still relatively unexplored. This makes it a priority both as pervasive technology and transformative effect, offering the potential for my research to present great originality and value. 

My research will make an innovative contribution to the nascent field that is only beginning to be acknowledged, with scant published research. My research will examine the technology’s potential in the arts in the context of composition (cf. interactive experience). In challenging this ontological question of what MR AV composition is or could be, the research will emphasise and expand the future use of this technology for the arts and entertainment. The study will develop critiques of existing works using MR technology and what this means for art consumption, valorisation, and authenticity. 

Contact Information

Please, use: robert.chafer@dmu.ac.uk 

(Please, do not use the contact email address given under my profile picture – it is automatically generated). 


Robert is an audiovisual composer, based in Leicester, the United Kingdom. His practice, specialising in spatial audio composition using mixed reality technology, is grounded in research and multidisciplinary collaboration.

After completing his undergraduate degree with a first in Music, Technology, and Innovation at De Montfort University (DMU), also in Leicester, Robert continued his research with a Master of Arts by Research titled Composing Audiovisual Space: The development of innovative tools for multichannel electroacoustic audiovisual composition. His current Ph.D. by practice-based research, supported by the Midlands 4 Cities (M4C) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), extends this knowledge by revealing the unique affordances the nascent technology of mixed reality has the potential to offer audio/audiovisual composers and other such practitioners of the future. 

Robert has taught on modules for all levels of undergraduate and masters students, mainly focusing on the audio and visual relationship. With additional experience in video editing, he has challenged his students to think differently about what sonic creativity could entail when working with both mediums, and how the power of sound can greatly influence the viewer’s perception of what they are seeing. Of note, the courses and workshops have included (but not limited to): Audio Realisation for Masters in International Film Production; Audio Visual Composition and Interactive Sound Design for Masters in Technologies for Digital Arts Practice; Interactive Sound Design for Performance (level 6); and, Audio and video production for Choreography for Screen (dance – levels 4, 5, and 6). Externally, Robert has designed and run Focus on Sound workshops for Graphic Design students (level 5) at Arts University, Bournemouth (AUB).

To this end, the networks and the experience Robert has gained has helped him engender collaborations with individuals and organisations from many different disciplines, globally. For example, Robert supported the running of the Kyma International Sound Symposium (2017); Represented DMU running an event at the Borderlines Festival (2018) called Telematic Hacking I and II, for the Creative Europe Scheme Interfaces Project hosted by the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens; and participated in a five-day collaboration workshop and performance with students from both DMU and the Royal College of Music (KMH), Stockholm, Sweden (2017).

Most recently, through connections made being a student advisory forum representative for the M4C Ph.D. cohort at DMU, his current collaborations have seen him working with the conservatoire trained opera singer Roxanne Korda, who is studying a Ph.D. at Birmingham City University, and Amira Salgado, an improvisation dance Ph.D. researcher also at DMU.

Research Area

  • Composition
  • Music