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Personal profile


Michael McKnight is a Lecturer in Screen Production at Ulster University. Prior to this appointment he accumulated 17 years professional experience in the film and television industry, having held head of department positions in both production and post-production environments. His research explores creative practice and the perceptual experience of sound, which spans the areas of film, arts, music and extended realities, with a particular interest in spatial audio and emerging technologies as it relates to these fields. His DfE funded PhD from the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, entitled ‘Designing Space and Place in Auditory Virtual Environments’, saw the development of a framework for spatial compositions that facilitated various levels of agency for multiple tracked listeners to interact within a shared experience, and established the ‘Hybrid Listening System’ at SARC’s Sonic Lab. In 2019, aspects of this work was presented at the International Conference for Computer Music in New York and showcased at IEEE VR in Osaka, Japan.

Creative outputs include sound installations, electroacoustic/acoustic composition, field recording and sound design, with works that have been supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and featured as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. He has collaborated with both artists and virtual reality developers on projects ranging from experimental films to 360° video projects and large room-scale events. Examples include ‘Dragon Slumber’, the largest room-scale immersive VR experience in Northern Ireland as of 2019, which was exhibited at W5 Belfast, NI Science Festival and SXSW Festival; ‘Across and In-Between’ by Suzanne Lacy, a multi-screen film projected on the side of Ulster Museum with the sound designed for a bespoke multichannel loudspeaker array, and most recently ‘Blinded By The Very Force It Imagined It Could Handle’, a film by Donovan Wylie and Peter Mann exhibited at Belfast Exposed.

Michael’s work in the film industry has covered a broad range of genres, including feature film, TV drama, documentary, outside broadcast, and light entertainment, which has been disseminated nationally and internationally via BBC, C4, RTE, TG4, Discovery, Netflix and Universal Pictures, in addition to independent film productions. Of particular interest was his work in music documentaries that afforded opportunities to capture performances from some of Ireland’s most highly regarded musicians, including Barry Douglas, Camerata Ireland, Cara Dillon and Steve Cooney to name a few. Working primarily within the wider documentary genre led to engagement with a diverse range of subjects and filming all over the world with highlights in India, DR Congo, Senegal, South Africa, across Europe and North America. Facilitated by the BBC's High Risk Team in London, he has also undertaken training in Hostile Environments and First Aid (HEFAT), a prestigious course to ensure safe working practices in remote or dangerous locations.

He has held full memberships to the Institute of Professional Sound and Audio Engineering Society, and is a current member of the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Designing Space and Place in Auditory Virtual Environments, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 18 May 2023


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