Digital Frontiers: Inclusion, Young People and Music Technology, Northampton, 28.10.14

Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust invited me to give a talk about my work using music technology to encourage young offenders to critically reflect on their offending behaviour, as part of their exploration into how new cutting-edge research into computer programming and innovative approaches to the use of music technology can be used in education and outreach projects. Dr Rebecca Fiebrink from Goldsmiths, University of London also gave a presentation and a demonstration of her work. Rebecca’s work was fascinating to me because her research involves using adaptive technologies to trigger and manipulate music and sound. This involves using software such as her programme, Wekinator that can be trained to recognise human gestural/movement responses and to trigger corresponding musical data. Rebecca calls this machine learning. I was particularly interested in the compositional applications of this type of adaptive technology that would allow me to generate music using gestures and movement. Rebecca is also experimenting with using commercial sensors such as the Kinect sensory bar and the WII controls as well as her more exotic pull cord sensors. As a community music practitioner, I also thought that Rebecca’s research would work well for people with disAbilities where their individual movement styles would enable them to create interesting and unique musical textures. This got me thinking about how we could creatively combine Rebecca’s research with my compositional work and Dr Rachel Swindells’ (from MMU’s RIHSC) gamelan enterprise research with children with disAbilities – gesturally (perhaps using Wekinator) modifying the sound of the gamelan with a live gamelan orchestra, laptops and live disAbled musicians. Watch this space about this potential creative research project…..

Breakout conversations

Our breakout sessions explored the relationship between arts-led community development and research in terms of how we measure our outputs beyond the anecdotal. Many of the themes about how arts-led social enterprises go about forming research relationships with university partners were discussed especially in view of the latter’s Public Engagement agenda. These themes echoed much of what we explored in my segment of the Fortaleza conference about the role of the arts in community development.

During the breakout sessions, I met Simon Glenister from Noise Solution who was interested in how we at MMU could use his extensive archive of session notes and outcomes of his one to one sessions as secondary data for an experimental research project measuring the efficacy of his work (perhaps in the area of wellbeing and mental health). This approach to exploring evaluative reports and data as hypotheses for research testing was suggested in my music and wellbeing paper for the Young Musicians for Heritage Project

Amongst other brilliant practitioners, I also had great chats with Kate Rounding from Zola Day Music and the British Centre for Music and Enterprise, Elizabeth Edwards of Lady Elizabeth: Mindful Music and Stories (Elizabeth was interested in learning about how to accredit her training programme) and Morcea Walker one of the trustees for the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust.

I will keep you updated with these exciting research prospects….

Please visit my Academia.edu page

About ornettedclennon

Composer, Musician, Visiting Enterprise Fellow, NCCPE Public Engagement Ambassador. Dr Clennon is also a Lecturer in Arts and Community Practices in the Contemporary Arts Department at Manchester Metropolitan University.
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