Dr Leo Murray
BA (Hons), Grad Dip Ed, PhD

Lecturer; Leader of Creative Arts

About me

My teaching and research relates to two broad areas: Firstly, the theory and practice of sound in areas such as film and television, interactive media, popular music, radio and sound studies. Secondly, digital media forensics including enhancement and authentication of digital audio, image and video.

Before becoming a lecturer I worked as a studio recording engineer and then as a radio engineer with BBC Radio in the UK. Whilst working in radio I completed a BA majoring in Criminology. I took a year out to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education at Murdoch in 1999 and later returned to Australia and began working here in 2002. More recently I have worked on a number of short films and documentaries in Perth.

Teaching area

In 2016 I developed a new unit SOU681 Digital Forensics which is now a core unit in the Masters in Forensic Science. It covers forensic acquisition, authentication and enhancement of digital media from devices such as computers, audio recorders, cameras and phones.

Recently I developed a unit SOU376 Sound Design which focuses on creating sound for film, television and interactive media. It covers all aspects of sound from location sound, ADR and foley, through dialogue editing, music editing, sound effects design, interactive sound design, surround sound, rerecording and delivery.

Another unit I developed recently is SOU377 Soundtrack which is an analytical unit covering the soundtrack itself in all its forms and how we get meaning from it. Whether categorising as dialogue, music or sound effects, literal or non-literal, direct narrative or subliminal there are different explanations for the way things appear in the soundtracks to audiovisual media. The unit covers a number of theoretical approaches to sound.

I have also written and teach in the following units:

Introduction to Sound Studies
Sound Production
Music Technology
Popular Music

I have given guest lectures or workshops in several other units:

Introduction to Radio
Introduction to Audio Production
Introduction to Cultural Studies
Introduction to Digital Media
Introduction to Screen Studies
Radio Presenting & Producing

Radio Projects
Screen Production 1
Screen Production 2
Professional Development in Screen Production
Advanced Screen Production
Media Projects

Research areas

The focus of my research is around the practice and theory of sound, particularly for film, games and interactive media. I am interested in how and why soundtracks are created in the ways that they are, and how they function. My work encompasses analysis of the range of soundtracks for television, cinema and games and the practitioners who make them. I also continue to work in film production myself both as sound recordist and sound editor so my research feeds into my practice and my practice informs my research.

I also teach and research in digital media forensics, digital media technologies and techniques including voice intelligibility from audio recordings, voice recognition and authenticity tests for digital media materials.

Current projects

My current research is based around the practice and theory of sound design. I am interested in how and why soundtracks are created in the ways that they are. I am researching the of film sound practice to help in analysing, teaching and actually creating television and film soundtracks.

I am currently writing a book on sound theory and practice for Routledge for publication in 2019.

Recent film projects include production and post-production sound for a feature film Broken (dir. Damian Fasolo) in 2018.

Awards and grants

2016. School of Arts Small Grant Scheme for Early Career Researchers ($3000). Research project with colleague in IT for equipment to develop a Electrical Network Frequency recording system for forensic authentication of recordings.

2015. School of Arts Small Grant Scheme for Early Career Researchers ($3000). Top up fund for travel related to research interviews for book on film sound theory and practice.

2014. School of Arts Small Grant for development of interdisciplinary postgraduate courses ($7000). Development of Media Forensics postgraduate unit in Masters of Forensic Science.

Awards and Nominations
2016. West Australian Screen Awards: Winner BEST SOUND – SHORT FORM for Sol Bunker.

2016. Australian Screen Sound Guild: Nomination BEST SOUND FOR A SHORT FICTION FILM for Sol Bunker.

2017. Murdoch University School of Arts: ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP AWARD.

Identified as being in top 10% of teaching staff in the university in 2013 and 2002.

Events and speaking engagements

I have presented at conferences in Australia, UK, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Germany.

At the 2016 NECS conference in Potsdam, Germany, I was invited to take part in a panel entitled ‘“Sound and…?” The in/between of Sound and Visual Media Studies (Workshop)’ on the subject of Practice-based Research.

At the 2015 NECS conference in Lodz, Poland, I chaired a session on Sound and Archives in addition to presenting a paper on the use of fiction techniques in archival non-fiction films.

At the 2013 ANZCA conference in Fremantle, Western Australia, I was invited to speak at the pre-conference panel on postgraduate research. I also chaired a session on community radio at the same ANZCA conference as well as presenting a paper myself on the ethics of sound.

Professional and community service

Professional Service


University Service

  • 2018-  Co-chair, School of Arts Honours Sub-committee
  • 2017-  Member, School of Arts Research Committee
  • 2017-  Member, University Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Strategy Committee
  • 2015-  Arbiter, School of Arts
  • 2014-  Cluster Leader, Creative Arts (English & Creative Writing, Theatre & Drama, Games Art & Design, Graphic Design, Photography, Sound, Radio and Screen Production)
  • 2014-15  Member, Arts Research Subcommittee on Non-Traditional Research Outputs
  • 2014  Member, Design Committee for school-wide 2nd Year Research Unit
  • 2011-14  Academic Chair, Sound and Radio
  • 2013-  Member, Arts Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2012  Acting Chair, Media Communication & Culture Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2010-12  Member, Media Communication & Culture Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2012  Member, University Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2012  Member, School of Arts Implementation Committee (Media Communication & Culture)
  • 2012  Acting Chair, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee (Faculty of Education, Arts and Creative Media)
  • 2010  Acting Academic Chair of Screen Production
  • 2013, 2015  Murdoch Sound and Radio coordinator for Southbound Festival, Busselton
  • Coordinator for student productions during One Movement / One Music festival and conference
  • Executive Producer for Murdoch Radio 2002-2008.

Media Forensics Consultancies

I have undertaken a number of digital media forensic consultancies which usually involves authentication or enhancement. Recent consultancies include:

  • audio authentication of a set of recordings
  • authentication of CCTV video recordings
  • forensic enhancement of covert audio recordings

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Leo welcomes PhD students interested in areas such as

  • Sound for film and television
  • Sound studies
  • Practice based and practice led research
  • Peircean semiotics
  • Interactive sound design



Co-authored Journals

  • Order, S., L. Murray, J. Prince, J. Hobson & S. de Freitas (2017) “Remixing Creativity in Learning and Learning of Creativity: A Case Study of Audio Remix Practice with Undergraduate Students”, Asia Pacific Media Educator, Prepublished October 20, 2017, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1326365X17728827

Refereed Conference Proceedings

  • Murray, L., (2013) “With my own ears: the ethics of sound in non-fiction film and TV”, In: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) Annual Conference (2013).
  • Murray, L., (2007) ”Weewar and Footprints in the Sand – Sound choices for the representation of Aboriginal cultures in fiction and documentary”, In: Nordic Anthropological Film Association 27th Annual Conference in Visual Anthropology (2007).

Non Traditional Research Outputs

  • Murray, L., 2015. Sound Design. In Sol Bunker (Short Drama) Dir: Nathan Mewett
  • Murray, L., 2015. Sound Design. In Synergies of Meaning. (Documentary) Dir: Glen Stasiuk
  • Murray, L., 2014. Sound Design. In Wadjemup: Black Prison, White Playground. (Documentary)  Dir: Glen Stasiuk
  • Murray, L., 2012. Sound Design. In Eleven Thirty. (Short Drama) Dir: Rebecca Cialella.
  • Murray, L., 2011. Sound Design. In The Road Not Taken. (Short Drama) Dir: Damian Fasolo.

Other Conference Papers

  • Murray, L., and Damian Fasolo. 2016. “Less is More: restraint and limitation as a stimulus for connectivity in cinema” European Network for Cinema and Media Studies: In/between: cultures of connectivity. Potsdam, Germany.
  • Murray, L., 2015. “Clues in the Library: Fiction Techniques in the Non-Fiction Film Soundtrack Archive” European Network for Cinema and Media Studies: Archives of/for the Future. Łódź, Poland.
  • Murray, L., 2014. “Peirce and Sound Practice” European Sound Studies Association: Sound Studies Mapping the Field. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Murray, L., 2014. “Peirce and Sound Design: Sound Theory from Sound Practice” European Network for Cinema and Media Studies: Creative Energies – Creative Industries. Milan, Italy.
  • Murray, L., 2013. “A Peircean Theory of Sound” European Sound Studies Association: Functional Sounds. Berlin, Germany.
  • Murray, L., 2010. “Authenticity and Realism in Documentary Sound” Sounding Out 5. Bournemouth, UK.
  • Murray, L., 2009. “Just Below the Surface” Australia and New Zealand Communications AssociationCommunication, Creativity and Global Citizenship. Brisbane, Australia.

Other Film and Television Credits

  • 2017. Broken. (Feature Drama). Dir: Damian Fasolo
    Location Sound and Sound Post-production
  • 2011. This Space Film. (Short Drama) Festival. Dir: Seymour Davison
    Sound Post-production
  • 2010. Ronan’s Escape. (Short Drama) Festival. Dir: A J Carter
    Sound Post-production
  • 2009. The Swimmer. (Short Drama) Festival. Dir: Colette McKenna
    Location Sound and Sound Post-production
  • 2007. Footprints in the Sand.  (Documentary) SBS TV. Dir: Glen Stasiuk
    Sound Post-production
  • 2007. Liyarn Ngarn. (Documentary) Festival. Dir: Martin Mhando
    Sound Post-production
  • 2006. PIAF. (Documentary) Festival. Dir: Glen Stasiuk
    Sound Post-production
  • 2006. Weewar. (Short Drama) ABC TV. Dir: Glen Stasiuk
    Location Sound and Sound Post-production
  • 2005. Broken Bonds. (Short Drama) ABC TV. Dir: Ashley Sillifant
    Location Sound
  • 2002. Sly Dogs. (Short Drama) Festival. Dir: Julius Avery
    Location Sound