Two projects using sound and advanced digital creative technologies will be developed to drive innovations in learning in schools and care of people with Dementia thanks to funding from CREST, GuildHE’s research network. 

Memory Tracks will investigate the impact of music as a means to stimulate memory and promote independent living amongst those living with dementia. The project brings together academics in business, music composition and computer games to enhance software developed by tech start-up Memory Tracks. The proof-of-concept will be tested in a care home setting, facilitated by an on-site artist in residence.

Augmented Acoustic Reality will assess the feasibility of using sound as a learning tool in the natural environment. The project brings together expertise in audio technologies, outdoor education, architecture, and environmental science. The group will explore how augmented reality and immersive technologies may be deployed to enhance school curricula and engage students in new ways with nature, biodiversity, and concepts of climate change.

CREST engaged academics based at small and specialist universities with the themes of the government’s Industrial Strategy at its ‘Sandpit Match Event’, delivered in partnership with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). At this event participants were encouraged to identify common areas of interest and co-design new projects in collaboration. Participants were drawn from multiple universities, from business, and from the nonprofit sector.

The resulting projects competed for a share of the £12k award fund. The funding was partly sourced from CREST members and represents an innovative model of stimulating collaboration within and beyond academia and creating equitable partnerships with a genuinely co-designed approach.

Gordon McKenzie, Chief Executive of GuildHE, said, “This innovative approach from GuildHE’s research network, CREST, shows how smaller and specialist universities are key partners in the delivery of the government’s Industrial Strategy by using creative collaborations with business and the third sector to tackle real world problems. Excellent applied research exists right across the UK’s diverse higher education sector and makes a substantial impact on the economy and wider society.”

Prof. Peter Childs, Director of CREST and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Scholarship at Newman University said: “Winning support funding amid strong competition, these are two excellent collaborative community projects that CREST is proud to help bring to fruition. We look forward to communicating the outcomes of the projects as they progress and develop.”

The projects will be supported by CREST throughout the twelve months of their award, with a view to creating sustainable outcomes that have impact beyond the duration of this initial funding.


  1. Memory Tracks is a collaboration between academics at the University for the Creative Arts and Glyndwr University, tech start-up Memory Tracks, and the Pendine Park Care Home (Wrexham and Caernarfon). The project is led by Mark Brill, Lecturer in Advertising, UCA
  2. Augmented Acoustic Reality (AAR) is a collaboration between academics at the University of Cumbria, University for the Creative Arts, Glyndwr University, and University of Chichester, educational charity Albion Outdoors and Kielder School. The project is led by Dr Ian Convery, Professor of Environment and Society, University of Cumbria:
  3. CREST is a research network of 27 institutions with a specialist focus or mission-based ethos. It is unique in not being defined by region, discipline, or funding source, and for its status as a sub-association of one of the two representative bodies for higher education, GuildHE.
  4. GuildHE is an officially recognised representative body for UK Higher Education. Its members include universities, university colleges, further education colleges and specialist institutions from both the traditional and private sectors. Member institutions include some major providers in professional subject areas including art, design and media, music and the performing arts; agriculture and food; education; maritime; health and sports. GuildHE member institutions have a particular focus on providing technical, professional and vocational higher education.