George Low

Name: George LowCP official photo

PhD Title: Disabled or Discouraged? An exploration of the lived experiences of disabled musicians

Department: Reid School of Music




George started playing Highland bagpipes when he was 6 years old. He was a solo Highland piper from for many years during which time he taught both Piobaireachd and Light Music, and judged at solo competitions around Scotland. As a wheelchair user George can no longer play Highland pipes so now concentrates on bellows pipes, in particular Scottish Smallpipes and Reelpipes, George also play piano and guitar. In addition to his PhD research, George is the coordinator of the disability research network Disability Research Edinburgh based in the University of Edinburgh and he is a member of the board of trustees of Drake Music Scotland.



George’s research explores the physical and psychological barriers faced by physically disabled musicians. Issues such as physical access, musical instrument design and adaptation, and the provision of appropriate tuition are considered in conjunction with social and cultural barriers such as stigma, guilt, disgust, exclusion, audience perceptions, and body image. Attitudes and stereotypes can prevent disabled people from benefiting from the same opportunities as non-disabled people and services created to assist disabled people can instead cause segregation and isolation. Through inductive, qualitative analysis George’s research attempts to determine to what extent these issues prevent disabled people from becoming musicians, and what role they play in the lives of existing disabled musicians.


Research interests

Inclusion, social attitudes, assistive music technology, disability studies


Invited Lectures and Conference Presentations

February 2016: PhD research presentation, Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow

October 2015: Guest speaker, Designing Alternatives Lecture Series, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art

April 2015: Panellist, Research Ethics Symposium, OPENspace, Edinburgh College of Art

October 2014: Guest speaker, Designing Alternatives Lecture Series, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art