George Low is a PhD student in the Reid School of Music. His research explores the challenges facing disabled musicians, like himself, and aspiring musicians with disabilities, by attempting to identify the physical, psychological and social barriers they encounter.

George is supervised by Professor Raymond MacDonald, Head of the Reid School of Music, and Professor Dorothy Miell, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. He has participated in the inaugural Postgraduate Research Festival at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and was a panellist at our recent research ethics symposium, organised by OPENspace.

George has established a forum for researchers across and beyond the University of Edinburgh whose work engages with disability. Here, he tells us how and why he set up the group and why you should participate if you are involved in research which impacts on disabled people…

"As a wheelchair user and PhD researcher, I felt there was a need within the University of Edinburgh for a forum specific to disability research; a collaborative space that would encourage interdisciplinary engagement. 

I set about meeting this need with advice and support from my PhD supervisors and Dr Katie Overy, Co-director of the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD).

I established Disability Research Edinburgh (DRE), which I now co-ordinate. The main aims of the group are to help raise the profile of disability research in the University, and to provide a coherent and coordinated means of communication and collaboration between DRE members and the growing disability research community beyond Edinburgh.

The group comprises around 60 members of staff and students from various disciplines. Remote participation is possible and encouraged; our email network includes researchers working in Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Australia.

Within ECA, we have developed links with groups such as Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Collaborative Environments (CIRCLE), the recently-established Scottish Music and Health Network (SMHN), OPENspace and the IMHSD. Linkages beyond the University include the Social Dimensions of Health Institute at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews.

In late 2014, we initiated a series of research seminars presented by DRE members and guest speakers. These have proven extremely successful and have helped us become an established and permanent feature of the University and the disability research community. They also provide a great channel for knowledge exchange and a means of honing those all-important presentation skills! 

If your research includes a disability-related element, then DRE can provide access to the latest research ideas and methodologies in addition to perspectives from within the disability community itself. Please do get in touch by emailing"