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Dr Brianna E. Robertson-Kirkland

Dr Brianna E. Robertson-KirklandEarly Career Researcher
Brianna works as both a singer and researcher and recently completed her PhD research on the 18th century castrato singer Venanzio Rauzzzini and his students funded by the University of Glasgow College of Arts Internship scholarship. Earlier this year, she gave a talk about her research at the sold out event, TEDxGlasgow, which is a locally organized event licensed by the famous TED organisation. She has sung in master classes and private lessons with early music specialists including Emma Kirkby, Nicholas Clapton and Robert Toft and regularly performs lecture-recitals at conferences and events. Her research interests span a wide variety of topics and she undertook a research project on the biographies of Great War soldiers as part of the GU Great War Project. Brianna recently performed as a service that took place at the Pollock Park Trenches and would like to expand her research to examine the function of music in war hospitals and the front line.

Research and Teaching Interests

Since 2016, I have had the privilege of contributing to the University of Glasgow Great War project, first by researching biographies of Great War Soldiers, being Creative Director on the Erskine 100 Night at the Museum and performing at services of Remembrance both at the Pollok Park Trenches and the University of Glasgow. While music continues to hold an important role in military life and remembrance of veterans from all wars, my research thus far has shown that music served an important function both in the rehabilitation of Great War veterans. This was a significant turning point in the role of music, which had previously been considered harmful particularly during recovery. It was this turning point that led to a re-evaluation of the effects music had on mental health, which is now recognised as a legitimate therapy. However, there are several questions that can be asked about the effects on music and the mental health of soldiers who have been part of wars across the 20th and 21st centuries. Audio technologies have advanced to such standards throughout this 100 year period, that soldiers have more access and control over their personal listening, but do these practices affect their mental preparations before into the field and their emotional connections to home while away? Do listening practices and the effects on mental health differ between nations armies? Does listening to the same music after returning from a campaign trigger an unusual response when they come home?


First World WarHistory of MedicineMental healthMilitary HistoryMusicWar