Name: Shelly CoyneShelly Coyne

PhD Title : Exploring choirs and community singing groups for singers who have experienced homelessness

Departments: Music and Sociology

Supervisors: Prof. Raymond MacDonald, Dr Niamh Moore & Dr Katie Overy



Shelly has been working as a Community Musician and Choir Leader for over 20 years, leading community choirs and training other singing leaders, teachers and children. Her primary focus has been working with singers who are socially disadvantaged and has set up choirs in communities with multiple deprivation, in prisons and homeless day centres

She completed her Masters in Music in the Community at Edinburgh University in 2009 then worked for Sing Up, the National Singing Programme at The Sage Gateshead. In 2010 she set up and managed the Community Music charity Givin’ it Laldie in Glasgow, seeking to address poverty, poor health and Sectarianism though community singing.

Shelly conducted a SGSAH funded internship with the International Arts and Homelessness Movement, With One Voice ( in 2018, conducting a National Review of Arts and Homelessness in Scotland with a team of co-researchers with lived experience of homelessness.

Shelly has delivered a series of lectures across Scottish Universities to Community Music. Music Education and Music Therapy students about her research and sharing experiences from her work as a Community Musician.

Research Interests

Shelly’s research interests are concerned with the experiences and perceptions of marginalised participants singing in choirs and community singing groups. Her doctoral research focuses on exploring the role of choirs and singing groups for singers who have experienced homelessness and the role the groups play in the life of these singers. She travelled to Rio in July 2016 with With One Voice interviewing and meeting participants and choir leaders from 11 homeless choirs as part of the Cultural Olympiad.  She is particularly interested in how singing groups create a safe and separate asylum, which remove singers from the challenging experiences of homelessness (DeNora, 2013). She is also exploring how the groups enable singer to construct a new ‘able’ musical identity, reconciling their homeless identity.

Previous research was conducted in Thethi in Albania, looking at the impact of learning a second language through singing entitled, What is the Effect of Using Music and Singing with Albanian Children Learning English as a Foreign Language?

Musical Interests 

Shelly (mis)spent much for her 20’s and 30’s singing in various bands, performing around Lancashire and singing and arranging songs for her a capella group Cat’s Chorus. She plays the piano and accordion, was a member of the Edinburgh University Balkan Music project and continues to lead community choirs in Glasgow.

Academic Publications

  • Coyne, S. (2018). ‘I am someone, I am not invisible’: Exploring the experience of participating in choirs for singers affected by homelessness in Rio de Janeiro. Transform: New Voices in Community Music. (1) 4 -17.

Homeless Arts Publications

  • Coyne, S. (2018). Review of Arts and Homelessness in Scotland.

Singing Resource Publications

  • A credited contributor to two publications developed by IMHSD in 2009.

            Teaching Foreign Languages through Song

            Teaching Music in Prisons

  • Co-author of a training manual for young singing leaders.,

Sing UpYoung Singing Leaders (2011).

  • A credited contributor to a singing and mental health resource, produced by The Sidney de Haan Research Centre at Canterbury Christchurch University.

Morrison, I., & Clift, C. (2012) Singing and Mental Health.                

Conference Presentations

October 2018 – Attended and lead a discussion at MUSOC the Music and Social Intervention Network event at York University

July 2018 – Attended and presented at ISME Community Music Activity pre-conference seminar in Tbilisi, Georgia

March 2018 – Presented at homeless conference knowledge exchange event called ,  Homelessness, Substance Use and Health Event, run by Scottish Universities Insight Institute at Strathclyde University.

November 2017 – Presented at the annual Community Music Student Symposium at the International Centre for Community Music at York St John University

July 2017 – Presented at the 2nd SIMM-posium, Social Impact of Music Making at the Guildhall of school of Music and Dance

June 2017 – Presented at the Reid School of Music PhD Student Symposium, Edinburgh University.

June 2017 – Presented at the SGSAH 2nd Year Symposium event

April 2017 – Presented at Annual New Directions conference in the Sociology Department at Edinburgh University April 2017

July 2016 – Presented at the With One Voice International Arts and Homeless launch event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

October 2015 – Presented at Scottish Music and Health Network / SEMPRE, Glasgow

Sept 2011 – Presented at SEMPRE, Canterbury.


Funding Awarded


MUSOC – £100

Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities – £795

Post Graduate Research Expenses – £200


Post Graduate Research Expenses – £200

SGSAH Student Development Fund – £1115

Reid School of Music awards – £220

Edinburgh College of Art – £400


SEMPRE / The Gerry Farrell Travel Award – £2000

Gwen Clutterbuck Award – £1000

Principles Go Abroad Fund – £500

Edinburgh College of Art – £200


AHRC DTP Studentship 3 years funding


Edinburgh School of Music Travel Scholarship £800

Teaching and invited lectures


Guest Lecturer at Edinburgh University Music Department, Community Music.

Guest lecturer for 2 days at Aberdeen University Music Department, Community Music and Music Education.

Guest Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Music Therapy.

Invited speaker Edinburgh University, Social Work Department.

Guest lecturer at Edinburgh College, Community Music.

Tutor at Edinburgh University for Psychology of Music Undergraduate course


Guest lecturer at Edinburgh College, Community Music.

SGSAH Student Internship Mentor

Tutor at Edinburgh University on the Psychology of Music Undergraduate course


Guest lecturer at Edinburgh College, Community Music.


Guest lecture at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Community Music.


Guest lecturer on the Folk and Traditional Music Degree at Newcastle University.