Week 3: Towards a Research Proposal

August 28, 2020

This post comes a little later this week, but I will try, going forward, to keep to Wednesdays. On the personal side, it has been quite a busy week—finding a place to live and moving to another temporary accomodation in the meantime.

As for PhD work, I have started to expand my research proposal, which I will have to submit, in the next few months, for my stage 0. This will be in the form of a report and a presentation. In this post, I will draft some ideas around the ‘Motivation and aims’ section. I basically need to think about what I want to take away from this PhD.

Firstly, I am motivated by the opportunity to contribute to the growing field around Accessible Digital Musical Instruments and to help shift this towards being Disabled-artist-led as this will honour the ‘nothing about us without us’ adage from disability rights activism. Secondly, I want to collaborate with organisations who are pushing the boundaries of disability arts and to be part of the movement to make musical expression accessible to all. Finally, I want to connect with disabled artists to co-design musical artefacts which address their access needs while helping them express their lived experience of disability to their audiences.

The aims of this research are as follows:

  • To explore the aesthetics of access in ADMIs and gain an understanding of the desirable qualities of instruments to be played by disabled musicians, and how/if these qualities help affirm their disabled identity, or communicate their lived experience of disability, through their music.
  • To design new ADMIs that honour the “nothing about us without us” adage of disability rights activism. This will involve investigating participatory and co-design processes to ensure that the development of new artefacts is undertaken in a musician-centred approach that gives control to the disabled musician.
  • To investigate the sociocultural roles of ADMIs and how identities are formed for new instruments. This will involve determining the effects of conserving cultural forms or constructing new ones when adapting or designing new instruments.
  • To provide a pathway towards ADMIs which strive for low barrier, high ceiling learning, by finding the right balance between constraint and expressivity, i.e. preserving a sense of agency whilst avoiding points of inaccessibility.

This week I was happy to revisit The Velvet Underground’s albums and I had memories of listening to this song a lot as a teenager.

I’m not going to recommend papers anymore on here I don’t think. Just music for now, maybe films when going to the cinema becomes normal again.


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