Big Ears

by Damian Mills | 15th June 2015

Big Ears

“Designing Inclusive Interactions”

In March, 2015, Drake Music Northern Ireland had the pleasure of working with the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Queen’s University Belfast. This was a collaboration with a remit to enable a chosen mix of our associate and disabled musicians to team up with Sonic Artists from around The UK and Ireland in order to create bespoke interactive controllers for our musicians, Not only that, the musicians were then challenged to the task of performing with these custom made software controllers for a concert on the 3rd day. A kind of scrapheap challenge for music making.

Koichi Samuels, who is studying for his Doctorate at SARC and who is a member of the DMPNI’s associate musician team, brought together the team of student musicians, engineers, programmers and musicians with disabilities to collaboratively create and develop these prototypes.

The whole process was a huge learning curve both for the engineers and for the artists. Not only did the musicians get to design their own instrument tailored for their particular needs, but the students and designers got to study the nature of those needs, in particular the individual differences and the levels of customisation needed for each musician taking part in the performance.

A video documentary can be seen here.

A blog of the 3 days can be found here.

The music made for the performances can be listened to here.

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