This research investigates the work of a prominent East German protest singer about whom little is known outside of his own country. Gerhard Gundermann, from the Lausitz coal-mining region, was an open-pit miner and - simultaneously - a highly acclaimed musician who died prematurely in 1998 at the age of 43. Emerging out of the GDR state-controlled political singing movement in the 1970s Gundermann was particularly active in the peaceful revolution of autumn 1989. After German unification his record sales grew as he became the mouthpiece of culturally and politically disenfranchised East Germans. In this way he can be seen to be a critical songwriter who dealt with the contradiction between political ideals and reality, both during communism in the GDR and subsequently in capitalist Germany of the 1990s.
This AHRC-funded research project examines the access barriers encountered by visually-impaired music producers using software-based creative tools in the context of a music production studio. Performance Without Barriers (PwB), an established research team at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), active in the area of inclusive, accessible instrument design, will lead this proposed three-year research project. PwB will collaborate with the Centre for Digital Music (CDM) at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), benefiting from their engineering expertise in electronics hardware design and development. The research aims to bridge the gap between visually-impaired music producers and their sighted counterparts. At the heart of the PwB team is a firm belief that equal and undifferentiated access to technology can lead to equal employment opportunities.
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.
Dr. Aoife McGrath (Drama) is PI on this major H2020-funded project, working with Marie Curie Reseaarch Fellow, Dr. Shonagh Hill. The ability of all women to realise maximum political, economic and personal empowerment is a cornerstone of gender equality. From the First Wave of feminism in the late 18th century and through the 19th and 20th centuries to today’s Fourth Wave, the movement, the actors and the issues have evolved considerably. With this in mind, the EU-funded GenFem project examines the embodied experiences of different generations of women in Northern Ireland, as well as their differing relationships to feminism: both feminist movements and feminist ideas as they circulate within culture. Specifically, through performance the project will study the working practices that address the tensions and solidarities of intergenerational relationships. It will bring together critical and practice-based methods to generate pioneering research.
ERIN offers a network analysis, investigating the cultural articulation of national identity in 19th-century Europe as found in the musical works of Irish poet-songwriter Thomas Moore. He created two European song series, the Irish Melodies and National Airs, of global circulation; these inspired arrangements by European composers. His epic poem Lalla Rookh inspired operas and ballets. ERIN is the first systematic study of this cultural network, and innovative in considering the temporal and spatial aspects of networking. ERIN contributes to the knowledge-based economy and society through accessible research outputs designed to engage the European public: an online forum, a podcast, a radio show, an interactive online exhibit, a database, an edited book. ERIN's research foundation is the substantial Moore collection at host Queen's; a database of its and other's Moore holdings becomes a dataset to be mined for the remaining outputs.
This interdisciplinary collaboration, the first of its kind, was made possible through a shared conception of improvisation between lawyer and law lecturer, Dr Sara Ramshaw, and sound artist, improviser and lecturer, Dr Paul Stapleton. Many myths currently exist in society regarding the nature of improvisation. This project seeks to debunk its conceptualisation as purely spontaneous and unplanned, or simply about individual self-expression. Improvisation is not, in other words, unfettered freedom, but is instead made up of several structural elements, such as harmony, melody, rhythm and time. Moreover, accounts regarding the individualistic nature of improvisation fail to account for the ways in which improvisation is about 'community building'. In the words of Fischlin and Heble, improvisation is 'about fostering new ways of thinking about, and participating in, human relationships' (Fischlin and Heble 2005: 23).
Paul Murphy (Drama) and Michaela Clarke (DARO) working with Deirdre Wildy (Special Collections & Archives) are leading a major project focussing on the heritage and legacy of the writings of Brian Friel, Northern Ireland's most acclaimed dramatist, short story writer and founder member of the Field Day Theatre Company. Friel was NI’s leading playwright and is widely recognised as one of the greatest dramatists of his generation. Friel Reimagined is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and The Steel Charitable Trust. The funding is enabling the University and its staff to digitise an important selection of the Friel archives, in collaboration with the National Library of Ireland (NLI), who hold the archives on behalf of the Friel Literary Estate.
Piers Hellawell's impact in musical composition is expressed in concert performances that have reached many thousands live and via broadcast, online, via learned journals and in peer academic activity in journals and peer activity. Work has been disseminated in collaborations with world-leaders – Philharmonia Orchestra, Schubert Ensemble, Hilliard Ensemble – at the BBC Proms and in leading concert-halls world-wide. Composers and performers acknowledge his “striking character, colour and texture” (Guardian) and its underpinning research: new configuration of words/music, his ‘Escalator Series’ harmonies and radical narrative structures offering multiple possibilities. Most recently, the acclaimed CD ‘Up By The Roots’ appeared in 2020.
Led by Broadcast lecturer, Don Duncan, this project explores how animation and its unique capacity for narrative plasticity can be an apt form through which to explore, express and represent shifting identities – and renegotiations of identity positions – in sectarian, post-conflict contexts. The project grew out of Ulster Gaeilge: It’s Yours Too! a continuing factual animation project that comprises a growing series of profiles of East Belfast Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists who are learning and embracing the Irish language. The project’s research has expanded to Lebanon, looking at how factual animation/animated documentary is being used as a tool to explore, express and represent post-conflict renegotiations of identity positions there. The project is multi-disciplinary, involving Music and Sound Design practitioners at Queen’s; NGO and CSO stakeholders in Belfast and Beirut; and animation companies, such as EnterYes in Belfast. “Animated Identities” produces both practice outputs and academic research outputs in the form of papers and presentations. The project is designed to expand further to additional places where sectarianism is prevalent and where identities are shifting and renegotiating positions after conflict.Read more Read less
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.
- Whether AfR is achieving conflict transformation
- The distinctive strategies and practices of AfR
- How we can improve practice and promote the values of AfR
Stefano Baschiera (Film), along with AEL colleagues Dominique Jeannrod (French) and Andrew Pepper (English), leads the Queen's strand of this major international research project, funded by EU H2020. The project addresses the formation of European cultural identity as a continuing process of transformation fostered by the mobility of people, products and representations across the continent. Because of the extraordinary mobility of its products, popular culture plays a decisive role in circulating representations that constitute a shared cultural asset for large sectors of the European society.
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.
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.
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.
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.