Professor Ray Lee


Professor of Sound Arts, Postgraduate Tutor for School of Arts

School of Arts


Ray is a Professor of Sound Arts and the School of Arts Postgraduate Tutor. He has worked at Oxford Brookes University since 1999 and during his time at the University, he has had various roles including as Head of Arts and Assistant Dean for the School of Arts and Humanities.

Teaching and supervision

Ray teaches on the MA Sound Arts and leads the regular practice-based PhD seminar as part of the Doctoral Training Programme in the faculty of Technology, Design and Environment.


PhD projects currently supervised as Director of Studies: 

  • Kesia Decotes RodriguesFor a Dramaturgy of the Piano Recital – an investigation of interdisciplinary strategies for live classical piano performances
  • Alissar McCreary, Hybrid Residues/Memories: Utilising active participation within sculptural art practice as a direct form of communication to implicate experiences of displacement
  • John Twycross, Games without rules; a practice based investigation into the function of rules as a primary defining characteristic of video-games
  • Peta Lloyd, Text – Body – Action = TextAct: Reading text and image in live art and its documentation
  • Alex Newton, Making strange: making as thinking in art, education and the uncanny
  • Simon Blackmore, Audible Information: A practice based investigation into sound and rhythm in wireless communication through performance and installation.
  • Anna Yearwood, ‘Signals of transcendence’: An exploration of a Christian perspective of home through an arts practice-based methodology

 PhD completions as Director of Studies:

  • Isabell Schafer (PhD awarded 2008) Water and Its Relationship to Contemporary Artistic Practice. An Investigation of Water as Artistic Material
  • Stelios Manganis (PhD awarded 2011) Affect Transmission Through Seemingly Functional Mechanical Sculptures
  • Mike Blow (PhD awarded 2015) On the simultaneous perception of sound and three-dimensional objects
  • Aya Kasai (PhD awarded 2017) The Phenomenological Interaction between Being and Non-Being – an Intercultural Investigation into the Notion of ‘Ma’ and Its Function in Art
  • Veronica Cordova de le Rosa (PhD awarded 2017), Images of Violence from Mexico: a performance art based enquiry


Chorus (2013-present):

Chorus is a composition for a monumental installation of rotating sound machines designed for outdoor locations. Funded by Arts Council England, PRS Foundation for new music, Oxford Contemporary Music, Corn Exchange Newbury and Oxford Brookes University. Shortlisted for the British Composer of the Year Award for Sonic Art 2014.

2017    Hong Kong International Arts Festival

2016    Winter Lights Festival, Canary Wharf, London

  • Zone Artistique Temporaire, Montpelier France
  • Freedom Festival, Hull
  • Inside Out Festival, Dorset
  • New Scientist Live, London

2015    White Night Melbourne, Australia

  • Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Romania
  • Warsaw Autumn International Contemporary Music Festival, Poland

2014    Future City Festival, Salford

  • Milton Keynes International Festival
  • WOMAD Festival, Charlton Park, Wiltshire
  • National Theatre Outdoors, Southbank, London

2013    Premiere, Town Square Newbury for Corn Exchange Newbury

  • Lieux Public, Place de l’Opera, Marseilles, France
  • Winchester Hat Fair Festival
  • Henley Festival
  • Bournemouth Arts Festival
  • Constellation Festival, Reading
  • Festival of Light, Huddersfield

The Ethometric Museum (2011-2014):

A composition for a performance / installation of a collection of fictitious scientific instruments known as Ethometric Instruments. Using a theatrical/compositional structure the work introduces the instruments as real, questioning the line between truth and fiction. Funded by Arts Council England, Oxford Contemporary Music and Oxford Brookes University.

Winner of the British Composer of the Year Award for Sonic Art 2012.

2014      Science Museum, London

2013      Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

2012      Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia, supported by the British Council

  • Alms House, Corsham Festival
  • Council Chamber, Battersea Arts Centre, London
  • Gravity Fields Festival, Grantham
  • Natural Science Society, Bournemouth Arts Festival

2011      BEAM sound art festival, Brunel University, London.

  • Cellar of Mason’s Lodge, Hill Street, Edinburgh
  • The Old Library, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell
  • Premiere at Museum for the History of Science, Oxford. 40 public performances.

“A kind of musical H.G.Wells” Ivan Hewitt, Radio 3

“The oscillating sonorities thrum into something exquisite, unearthly, transcendental.”

The Herald ****

Cold Storage (2011):

Commissioned for Battersea Arts Centre’ second ‘one on one’ festival of new performance work Cold Storage was a performance/installation that asked the question: What would it be like to go to sleep and wake up in one thousand year’s-time? In this intimate, immersive experience audience members were, one at a time, invited to enter a ‘cryogenic’ tank and be ‘frozen’. 200 performances over a two week period. Discussed in Alston, Adam Participation and the Production of Affect in Ray Lee’s Cold Storage Conference Paper Theatre and Performance Research Association 2012.

2011    Battersea Arts Centre One on One Festival, London.

Murmur (2010-2011):

A spatial composition for an array of kinetic sound machines. Commissioned by New York group ‘No Longer Empty’ for Liverpool Biennial in 2010, it was reinstalled for Audiograft Festival in 2011.

2011    February. Audiograft Festival, Oxford

2010    Sept – November. Basement of disused building, Seel Street, Liverpool. Liverpool Biennial.

Electric (2010):

Commissioned for Battersea Arts Centre’s first ‘one on one’ festival of new performance work, Electric, invited audience members to experience a mild electric shock with Ray Lee. 200 performances over a two week period.

2010    Battersea Arts Centre One on One Festival, London.

‘Walking away with a tingle still caught on your skin and a bemused smile, it’s the sort of experience that feels like a small privilege.' Matt Trueman

Detectors (2008-2009):

A series of kinetic sculptures using electromagnetic induction to detect hidden electrical sound.

08/09   ‘Creatures Great and Small’ Kinetica Museum group exhibition at A1 Galeria, Budapest, Hungary

2008    ‘Creatures Great and Small’ Kinetica Museum group exhibition at Rove Gallery, Hoxton Square, London

Harmonium, a robotic Theremin ensemble (2008-2010):

A performance/composition for multiple Theremins. First shown in 2008 at LEV Festival, Gijon, Spain as ‘The World Theremin Quartet’, the work consisted of a performance for four Theremins, three played by Robots and one by Ray Lee. Invited performer at Kinetica Art Fair, London 2010.

2010    The Robotic Theremin Ensemble, Kinetica Art Fair, London

2008    The World Theremin Quartet, LEV Festival, Gijon, Spain

Swarm (2008-2010):

A kinetic sound composition designed for atrium spaces consisting of a series of suspended motors from each of which were hung three loudspeakers. As the motors rotate the loudspeakers were swung out by centrifugal force, emiting stored sounds above the heads of the audience. Originally commissioned by Muziek Centrum Nederland it was recomposed for FACT, Liverpool 2008/2009.

2010    (V 3) Battersea Arts Centre, London

08/09   (V 2) Atrium of FACT (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology), Liverpool. December 2008 to February 2009. Part of Liverpool European City of Culture.

2008     (V1) Atrium of Amsterdam Muziekgebouw. Commissioned by Muziek Centrum Nederlands.

‘a sweet, sonic shower of Ambient electronica’ The Wire

Kinetic Sculpture (2007):

In 2007 Lee was invited to present a solo show at the Kinetica Museum. Circles of Ether was a computer controlled installation of kinetic sound machines. Sculptures from the exhibition were subsequently shown at ‘Late at Tate’ at Tate Britain in April 2007.

2007       Circles of Ether, Kinetica Museum, London

2007       Late at Tate. Sound sculptures for Cybersonica event at Tate Britain

Siren (2004-2015):

A 45 min performance of a composition for a large-scale kinetic sound installation consisting of rotating

sirens. Originally commissioned in 2004 by Oxford Contemporary Music and financially supported

by Arts Council England it has since been performed over 300 times in 17 countries across 3 continents with significant British Council support.

2015      Alhondiga Gallery, Bilbao, Spain (automated version)

2014      SPILL Festival, Ipswich

2012      Galway Festival, Ireland

2011      Theatre Trafo, Budapest, Hungary

  • Straw Theatre, Tallinn, Estonia
  • LAB 30 Festival, Augsburg, Germany

2010      WOMADelaide, Australia.

2009      Under the Radar festival, New York, USA

  • PUSH International Festival, Vancouver, Canada
  • Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, USA
  • Wexner Arts Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Auckland International Festival, New Zealand
  • 10 Days Festival, Tasmania, Australia
  • Melbourne International Festival, Australia
  • Sleepless Night Festival, Miami, USA

2008      Kontejner, Zagreb, Croatia

  • LEV Festival, Laboral, Gijon, Spain
  • Circulo, Tenerife (automated version)
  • International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, USA
  • Gaudeamus Music Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Ignite Festival, Royal Opera House, London

2007      Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria

  • Ponctuation Grande Bretagne, Angers, France
  • Festival les Urbaines, Lausanne, Switzerland

2007      Shunt, London Bridge. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Late Junction, feature in Daily Telegraph

  • Victoria Baths, Manchester, Futuresonic Festival
  • British Council International Showcase, Edinburgh

2005      Festival A/D Werf, Utrecht, Arts Council England funded

2004      Hanger 3022, disused F1-11 fighter jet hanger at ex-US Airbase, Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire.

“hums with beauty” Metro Daily, Auckland;  “Taking in Sirens is a bit like ingesting a mild hallucinogen, then waiting for the buzz to hit. And it does hit…” PLANK Magazine, Vancouver

“a mesmerising journey into the nature of sound’ The Age, Melbourne

Force Field (2007-2009):

A 30 minute performance of a composition for MIDI Theremin and sound machines. By interacting with the electro-magnetic ‘force field’ that surrounds the Theremin, Lee activates and controls a series of kinetic sound machines creating music and movement from the Ether. Somewhere between a Victorian illusion, a performance of electronic music and a scientific demonstration, Force Field is an exploration of invisible forces made tangible, audible and physicalForce Field won an Honorary Mention at the 2008 Prix Ars Electronica, digital music and was developed with the aid of a research and development grant from the Arts Council of England.

2008      Science Gallery, Dublin. Co-presented with Kinetica Museum.

  • Bishopsgate Institute, London. Co-presented with Kinetica Museum

2007      ICA, London.

The Theremin Lesson / Spin / Choir (2000-2001):

Using the disused top floor of the historic Masson Mill, Derbyshire, The Theremin Lesson consisted of a series of sound machines that evoked the sense of spinning with sound. It was reconfigured as Spin, a 30 minute performance at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, and part of this piece became Choir, MOMA, Oxford.

2001      ‘Choir’ Sound performance/installation at MOMA, Oxford, for the OX1 Festival. Arts Council England funded. 4 performances.

2001      ‘Spin’ Sound performance/installation for the Sensitive Skin international festival, Future Factory Nottingham. 5 performances.

2000      ‘The Theremin Lesson’ Year of the Artist award winning project for residency in Masson Mills, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 4 performances.

Swing (1994-1999):

A composition originally made for the surface building of a disused coal mine in Snibston, Leicestershire, Swing consisted of a series of suspended loudspeaker cones made to swing above the heads of the audience by a team of ‘bell ringers’. Discrete sounds emitted from each speaker replayed a composition that evoked a sense of the industrial history of the building. Swing was presented at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and was broadcast on Hear and Now, BBC Radio 3.

1999      Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

‘A fascinating counterpoint of sound and light’ The Independent.

1995      Barclays New Stages Festival in Nottinghamshire. Performances in disused electricity generating station

1994       ‘Un Earth’ Fine Rats International event at Snibston Coal Mine, Leicestershire. Performances in winding house of colliery.

Research impact

Ray's work Siren was the subject of an impact case study: Siren, a sonic art masterpiece by Ray Lee, artist, composer, performer and lecturer 



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Further details

More on Ray Lee's work can be found on his artist's website:

Other experience


  • Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Arts and Music, Nottingham Trent University (0.5)


  • Course Tutor, Postgraduate Professional Development courses for artists, Loughborough University School of Art and Design. Developed professional practice material for artists: Writing business plans, Fundraising, Marketing and Promotion, Working to Commission, Organising Exhibitions.


  • Part-time lecturer in time-based media, video installation, and performance art, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham