This Cross-disciplinary Research Cluster provides collective thinking of Design, Technology, Allied Health, Physical Science and Business to deliver market-driven and user centered product/service innovations for the performance arts. The cluster aims to develop and commercialize products in this area. A number of issues for performance artists such as dancers and musicians in terms of the products, devices and wearables that are intended to physically support them in their performance have been identified. In many instances these products have not kept pace with the changes in the performance, are not ergonomically designed, or do not cater for the individual needs of performers.


Project areas:

Project 1: to investigate how technological advancements and the design of footwear can prevent injury and improve quality of life for the Irish dancer.

Project 2: to transfer the knowledge and skills developed in project 1 to mitigate against injury and enhance the performance of other dancers: ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom and salsa.

Project 3: Dance solutions for the older Adult. A specifically designed dancing shoe for the older adult, could in turn enable the general adult population to take up dancing without risk of injury. This would complement projects being conducted with the older adult population within the Arts and Humanities research cluster.

Project 4: to identify needs amongst other performance artists such as musicians, in terms of ergonomics, repetitive strain injury, customization and physical impairments. This may extend to orchestral musicians, session musicians, marching bands and the teaching and learning experience.


Cluster leads:

Dr. Louise Kiernan (PI) – School of Design

Dr. Orfhlaith Ni Bhriain – Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

Bernard Hartigan – School of Design


Cluster Collaborators:

Prof. Drew Harrison - Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences

Dr. Ian Kenny - Department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences

Dr. Roisin Cahalan - School of Allied Health

Dr. Briga Hynes - Department of Management and Marketing


Design Practice & Education

We are actively engaged in research for design education, continuing professional development and design practice.

Design for Health

Our user-centered work in health and wellness focuses on humanising technology that benefits both patients and clinicians.

Design for Sustainability & Society

Our research projects take a design led approach to framing and tackling societal, environmental and consumption issues.

Human Factors in industry

Our research on work related musculoskeletal disorders examines occupational health and industrial ergonomics.