Working in partnership with Higher Education to create new knowledge, enhance skills and inspire creativity, that strengthens learners, makers and places.

Our partnership with Opera North provides brilliant opportunities for both our students and staff. They gain insight into the operations of an award-winning, leading UK arts organisation, and work with them in understanding significant issues impacting on the Arts nationally and internationally.
– Prof. Darren Mundy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education, University of Hull

Through our partnerships with the University of Leeds (known as DARE), Leeds Conservatoire, Newcastle University and the University of Hull, as well as our links with other institutions, Opera North is:

Developing skills to support employment opportunities and talent development in the cultural workforce.

Students are able to learn directly from professionals in all areas of the Company, from marketing and fundraising to technical and performance. Activity includes paid internships, live project briefs, workshops, talks, careers insight sessions, masterclasses, joint concerts and participation in the production and rehearsal process.

“The partnership with Opera North means students already have a great link into the industry and have experienced working alongside the professionals whilst still studying.”
– Abbie Wheeler, Leeds Conservatoire student

The Pettman DARE Fellowship in Music Education and Community Engagement Project Management provides early career professionals with a year of practice-led research in the Learning & Engagement department at Opera North alongside studying towards a postgraduate diploma at the University of Leeds, before progressing to the next stage in their career.

“The Pettman DARE Fellowship provided me with an incredible foundation of knowledge, skills and experience.”
– Eleanor Jones, Pettman DARE Fellow 2018 & now Education & Community Project Manager, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Creating knowledge to spark new ideas and encourage academic and creative excellence.

Our Research Agenda encourages academic researchers to work with us to explore contemporary issues relevant to our work and those of the cultural and academic sectors as well as society.

“…to collaborate with such an inspirational partner is an enormous opportunity to develop new ways of linking across sectors, faculties, and, as we learned most recently, species. It is really special.”
– Prof. Jennifer Richards, former Director of Newcastle University’s Humanities Research Institute

Initiatives include hosting a DARE Academic-in-Residence, participating in student research challenge labs and supporting collaborative PhDs. These have explored themes such as race and decolonialisation in opera, the physiological response of audiences to opera and music, arts engagement and storytelling as pathways to solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers; evaluation models for music education programmes, and improving captioning of performances to enhance access. A series of symposia and ‘sandpits’ with our partners have brought academics and practitioners together to explore themes including music and neurodiversity, cross-species communication, the nature of tears, and the many ways of meaning-making on stage.

“At the DARE sandpit ‘World Without Antibiotics’, it was fascinating to see how the issue could be approached from a range of perspectives. It shows what exciting things can happen when you put different people together who might not normally meet to discuss a topic”
– Dr Marta Cobb, Senior Congress Officer International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds

The DARE Art Prize encourages and challenges artists to work creatively with scientific researchers at the University of Leeds to produce new artistic work. Prize-winners to date have explored alternative ways to represent climate change; human perception and Artificial Intelligence; the impact of infrasound on the human mood, e-waste recycling as well as mathematics education and creativity.

Opera North is also a proud supporting partner of the CoSTAR LiveLab, in collaboration with the University of York, developing technologies for future live performance experiences using virtual production.

Engaging with the public to enrich the cultural life of the cities in which we are active.

By staging performances and concerts on our partner’s campuses, we have provided cultural enrichment and community engagement opportunities for students and staff, local schools and the wider public.

“Dear Opera North, Thank you for coming to LJC and performing such a wonderful opera! The musicians were amazing and the singers superb.”
– Charlie, aged 11, Leeds Junior Conservatoire

In collaboration with the University of Leeds, we have opened up Opera North’s audiences to academic research and debate through our Thinking with Opera podcasts and DARE Liberty Lectures held at the Howard Assembly Room which explore the concept of liberty and freedom in different ways.

“As two large, specialist cultural organisations in Leeds we have a responsibility to come together and reflect on some of the very real challenges our industry and our region are experiencing. The partnership between Leeds Conservatoire and Opera North means we can also engage students, the future leaders of our industries, in the conversation and how we may work together to improve the cultural landscape for everyone.”
– Patsy Gilbert, Vice Principal, Leeds Conservatoire

Get in touch

Twitter/X: @opera_north_HE


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