Engaging with the Community
See a selection of case studies demonstrating impact both locally and internationally.
FROM RESISTANCE TO RECONCILIATION
This project investigates the effects of sound (including sonic arts, participatory music-making and storytelling in theatre) and their distribution through digital media activities. We are analysing how sounds project and ameliorate community experiences, memories and narratives of conflict across cultures and different conflict/post-conflict settings of resistance through to reconciliation.
AHRC-funded international and multidisciplinary project that investigates how Restoration Shakespeare used to be performed, and how it can be performed today. It brings together Queen’s University Belfast, Syracuse University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Globe Theatre, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Two major recent investments have positioned SARC_Immerse at the centre of immersive technology research in Northern Ireland:
1) A Central Research Infrastructure Fund of £100k by Queen’s University Belfast, and
2) the £13 million investment by the AHRC, with co-funding from the industry sector, to secure the future of the creative industries in NI. This ‘Future Screens NI’ bid is the largest single investment in the creative industries in NI: https://goo.gl/vUiPV8.
People working as part of SARC_Immerse are:
Prof Michael Alcorn
Dr Trevor Agus
Dr Zeynep Bulut
Mr Christopher Corrigan
Dr John D'Arcy
Dr Declan Keeney
Mr Michael McKnight
Dr Matilde Meireles
Dr Miguel Ortiz
Prof Pedro Rebelo
Dr Koichi Samuels
Dr Franziska Schroeder
Prof Paul Stapleton
Dr Maarten Van Walstijn
Dr Simon Waters
Dr Kurt Werner
EXPERIENCE ANOTHER WORLD IN THE HEART OF BELFAST
The Soundscape Park Project is a permanent sound installation located in a community garden in East Belfast. Speakers hidden all around the garden are constantly projecting different soundscapes throughout the day. Integrated technology allow visitors to interact with the sounds using motion detection and their smart phones.
The Sonic Arts Research Centre has been commissioned to install and develop content for three sound gardens for the re-built Northern Ireland Hospice building on Somerton Road, Belfast.
The project will help contribute to create a calm, yet uplifting atmosphere, engage patients and visitors through changing sound environments and create sensory garden spaces through soundscapes.
Director of Research, Professor Pedro Rebelo and SARC Technical Coordinator, Mr Craig Jackson will lead the project which began in August 2015 and will continue into the beginning of 2016 when building work is due for completion.
The audio in each of the three spaces will have different design treatments to reflect their architecture and use. The development of sonic materials will be based on a participative process with current patients and staff. This will allow us to make use of sound in a reflective manner, triggering sonic memories or transporting listeners to another place. For example the seaside, or birdcalls at dawn.
Multiple loudspeakers will be located in each of the gardens, carefully located to immerse each of the spaces in an ambient cloud of sound. This might include loudspeakers hidden in planting or positioned at at height.
Undergraduate and PhD students at SARC will be contributing to the creation of the sound environments. They will also be undertaking research into the appropriate use of different soundscapes in this type of setting by performing several workshops with patients and staff.
This project has developed from another SARC installation, The Soundscape Park Project. A permanent sound installation in Bridge Community Garden, East Belfast (www.soundscapepark.org). It is anticipated that SARC will continue to feed into these sonic garden installations and continue to develop new and immersive sounds to make pleasurable outdoor environments.
Preparation for contact training in disciplines including Medicine and Social Work involve various forms of simulation training to help students equip themselves for 'real' world experiences following graduation.
Where clinical skill and technical competence are taught to high standards, the complexities of interpersonal interaction are referred to in cliched terms as ‘soft skills', 'bedside manner' and 'non-technical skills' and are often under-valued and poorly understood in terms of formal education and training. The aim of this series of symposia is to understand how education and training in health and social care can be enhanced by integrating techniques more commonly associated with theatre and performance.’
Music making is known to have benefits for social cohesion. As a social practice, music depends on personal interaction, dialogue, agreement on conventions and trust. Previous work on music and conflict has illuminated the different roles that music and sound play in conflict situations (from exacerbating conflict to mitigating it). Moreover, recent scholarship has highlighted the transformative power of music, demonstrating how music making activities could have a direct and positive impact on conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation by non-violent means.
This research project aims at contributing to these ongoing debates by exploring the possibilities of music and sound in conflict transformation in Mozambique through a participatory case study rooted in sonic art methodologies.
In 2015, the first collaboration between SARC and DMNI aimed to enable musicians with physical disabilities and learning difficulties to independently compose and perform their own music through custom-built music technology devices. The event was held under the theme “Designing Inclusive Interactions” and brought together student interaction designers with disabled musicians to collaboratively design accessible musical interfaces and perform improvised music with them in an inclusive ensemble performance.
SARC put together an exciting programme in 2016 to continue their collaboration with DMNI under the theme “Performance without Barriers”. The programme involved a 6-month long collaborative design project, which started with a design event at SARC (7th - 9th June 2016). Five interaction designers worked with pupils from local special educational needs schools and brain injury rehabilitation charity to collaboratively design customised accessible musical interfaces. Two subsequent phases of this project involved going to the participants to show them progress of the designs and gather feedback. The project ended on November 27th with a showcase performance at The Sonic Lab, SARC. Alongside the design project, an international networking meeting for partners working in the area of inclusive music making, digital design, disability and well-being also took place on 10th June 2016.
This collaboration has impacted positively on the quality of life of disabled musicians across Northern Ireland. Participants’ composition and performance skills are enhanced by using accessible musical interfaces through a collaborative design process that matches physical and cognitive abilities to an appropriate gestural interface. Designers and musicians alike are given the opportunity to express their creativity on equal terms as collaborating improviser musicians.
Performance without Barriers 2016 design project culminated in a public performance at Ireland’s longest running contemporary music festival, the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music.
Two theatre companies identified a specific need of engaging young people in listening and in discovering the role of sound in everyday life. The proposal was developed according to those needs and brings a research component (distributed listening) into a portable form in the shape of a newly custom-designed app for mobile devices.
This case study, led by Pedro Rebelo, demonstrates how new approaches to collaborative sonic arts lead to increased awareness of the role of sound and its relationship to place in everyday life.
The Belfast Sound Map is an open resource that aims at engaging local communities in capturing everyday sound and hence characterise the soundscape of the city. We encourage not only the submission of sound recordings, but also other forms of experiencing and registering sound, such as text or image. The overall design of this platform facilitates this multiplicity of approaches, while also allowing participants to create their own projects. These are presented as separate, individual layers of recordings within the map.
Recomposing the City is a collaborative research group. Our mission is to bring together artists, architects, planners and others in investigating the relationship of sound to urban space. We explore various questions on urban sound through seminars, events, publications, and design projects. Our ultimate aim is to support new design and development projects, and to improve the understanding of sound within architecture studies and architectural practice.
Sonic Art For Public Ears: Enabling Children As Designers
This work, led by Franziska Schroeder, impacted on children between the ages of 8 and 14. Since 2011 over 90 children living in Northern Ireland have benefitted from day-long workshops, taking place at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast.
This network seeks to understand the role of arts and cultural managers as intercultural brokers in our context of globalisation, internationalisation and global migration. Intercultural understanding suggests capacity for appreciating, recognising and relating to different world viewpoints and experiences. Historical and empirical research recognises the role arts and cultural objects and expressions, like fine and performing arts and heritage, play in political, cultural and ethnic relations. Yet, little is known about the role of arts and cultural managers, their practice and education, in this process.
Three complementary projects - Theatre of Witness’s We Carried Your Secrets and its eponymous documentary; the film We Never Give Up II; and the Prisons Memory Archive – address the role and impact of storytelling in post-conflict societies.
A collection of 175 filmed walk-and-talk recordings with those who had a connection with Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh Prison during the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.
Queen's University Belfast to take part in the Being Human Festival 2017 - led by Dr Franziska Schroeder, Impact Champion, School of Arts, English and Languages.
BSc Music Technology and Sonic Arts Students contributed to a one-week environmental design and creative event by creating sound installations with an aim to invite audiences to discover hidden, unexpected and surprising aspects of sound in specific spaces in Belfast.
The case study shows how short chamber compositions by composer Piers Hellawell have transformed the musical experience of young musicians within the on-going Chamber Music 2000 project in England. Circles of impact radiate from his provision of practicable new chamber work for ensembles: children from 8 to 16 have explored the challenging demands of performing contemporary music created for them in an individual and exciting idiom.
They have participated in new experiences in communal music-making; they have processed new notated instructions and encountered unfamiliar sound-combinations; they have become part of a collaboration with professional artists during coaching. Through these experiences young musicians have been equipped to give a world premiere in an international venue, a life-enhancing experience.
The Stroke Folks research project by Brenda Winter-Palmer is part of a continuing study which seeks to explore whether improvisational drama (a process–based methodology which need not necessarily result in public performance) could be therapeutic in the promotion of increased emotional health in patients recovering from stroke. Research has shown that the physical and cognitive effects of stroke may result in feelings of grief, denial, depression, perplexity, frustration, anger and embarrassment. In tracking the progress of a group of stroke survivors over the period of one year the study aimed to assess whether involvement in process drama might bring some alleviation of these symptoms and generate a general improvement in confidence, optimism and motivation.
David Robb’s research into folk and protest song has an impact on a wider public through its promotion at music clubs and festivals and in its use in political education in schools. The context for the impact is the general political climate in Germany since the Second World War where protest song has been supported at a national level as ‘democratic’ heritage. Questionnaires from a recent workshop revealed how teachers have made use of Robb’s recent on-line research project to promote a democratic consciousness amongst pupils. His research has also influenced the song repertoires of folk groups and performers.
The children used an app, developed at SARC, to live stream sounds captured around the building. By working together creatively they were able to create some fantastic sound works.
This is part of the Distributed Listening project - Socially Engaged Art.