Dr. Susan A. O’Neill

Principal Investigator – MODAL Research Group

Email: sao@sfu.ca          Phone: 778-782-3062
Office: EDB 8634 – Faculty of Education – 8888 University Drive Simon Fraser University

Susan A. O’Neill


Susan O’Neill is a Professor in Arts Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Canada. She has been working in the area of artistic learning and musical development for over 20 years with an emphasis on fostering youth arts and music engagement in ways that explore and contribute to expansive learning opportunities, motivation and transformative engagement, positive values, well-being, personal and social identities, intergenerational relationships, digital media and multimodal creative collaborations, and cultural understandings. She is Director of MODAL Research Group (Multimodal Opportunities, Diversity and Artistic Learning) and Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME). She has been awarded visiting research fellowships at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (2015), University of Melbourne, Australia (2012), and the University of Michigan, USA (2001-03). She is Research Commissioner for the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and Senior Editor of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association (CMEA) Biennial Book Series, Research to Practice. She has published widely in the fields of music psychology, youth development, and arts education.

Research Activities

  • Mapping Artistic Learning in Diverse Contexts
  • Creating Expansive Learning Opportunities In and Through the Arts
  • Transformative Arts and Music Engagement in a Digital Age
  • New Directions for Musical Futures: Inquiry, Reflection and Dialogue
  • Intergenerational Arts and Singing Programs: Creative Collaborations for Connection and Communication
  • Global Youth Intercultural Learning and Creative Arts Practice

Research Funding

  • Informal and Participatory Learning and Transformative Music Engagement in the Music Studio (SSHRC Partnership Development Grant $199,941, 2015-2018) Co-Principal Investigator (with Francis Dubé, Laval University)
  • Learning together: A multiple case study of intergenerational multimodal literacy curricula (SSHRC Insight Grant $263,174, 2015-2020), Co-investigator (with Rachel Heydon, Western University, Principal Investigator)
  • Understanding Artistic Learning and Youth Arts Engagement in a Digital Age (SSHRC Insight Grant $396,999) Principal Investigator (Co-Investigators: Yaroslav Senyshyn, SFU; Sandra Bosacki, Brock University, Valerie Peters, Laval University)
  • Artistic Learning Dialogues (Supported by ArtsStarts, Arts Umbrella, Vancouver Biennale, Sarah McLachlan School of Music, Access to Media Education (AMES), Langley Fine Arts School, 2010-2013)
  • Arts Matter Learning Projects (Presidents Research Grant, Simon Fraser University; $15,000, 2010-2013)
  • Intergenerational Arts Program: Past, Present and Future of Work on the Waterfront (SSRHC Partnership Development Grant $199,970) Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Peter Hall, Urban Studies, SFU)
  • Transformative Arts Engagement (SSHRC and Vancouver Biennale, $20,000) Principal Investigator, 2011-2013
  • Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME): Youth Participation in Music (SSHRC Standard Research Grant $94,000) Principal Investigator (Co-Investigators Yaroslav Senyshyn, SFU; Carol Beynon, UWO, 2008-2011)
  • Exploring Multimodal Learning Opportunities and Generativity in an Intergenerational Singing Program (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research on Singing (AIRS), SSHRC Major Collaborator Research Initiatives, $2.5 million) Co-Investigator (Project Leader: Rachel Heydon, UWO; Principal Investigator, Annabel Cohen, UPEI, 2009-2016)
  • Youth, Music and Sociocultural Ecologies: Towards a Theory of Transformative Music Engagement
  • New Directions for Musical Futures: Inquiry, Reflection, Dialogue and the Three B’s (Braiding, Blending, Blurring, 2010-2012)