Artist in Residence

The project would have two aims.


One aim is to design and develop games that provide entertaining methods of learning musical skills.


This will involve:


 - Creating a connection between musical instruments and existing computer games so that the game is controlled by sound, or actions on the instrument rather than by actions of manipulating a console.


 - Creating new games that are controlled by actions on the instrument. The idea is that players are rewarded in the game for certain sounds or actions, for example sight-reading some music or moving a bow across a string.


 - Creating new games that when played result in the inadvertent learning or improving of a musical skill, for example reading music or playing polyrhythms like 2s against 3s.


These games will either directly correlate to musical activities, or will mask the musical activities. Where the musical activities and skills are masked, the intention is to create games with interfaces like Tetris or Zelda that are entertaining and absorbing by providing a mission or compelling exercise. In these cases the user would be barely aware that they were developing a musical skill.


The input of young people and children through creative thinking sessions will be essential. They will be able to provide the user-centred design and test that ensures that the games are pitched at the right level in terms of challenge and entertainment.


I will primarily use attachments to bind a cello to a computer including bio-feedback devices, movement detection devices, and microphones to explore these challenges. I hope that people will be able to bring their own instruments to play the games too.


My intention during the residency is also to forge links with organisations pursuing similar goals or performing relevant research, prioritising securing on-going support and networks for any projects that emerge that the local community wish to take forwards.


Preparation for the residency will include preparing and testing creative thinking games for young people and children, initial designs for musical games and experimenting with set up for binding real musical instruments to computers.


I have expertise in running collaborative sessions for individuals and groups of people to explore a particular challenge and come up with creative solutions.


I will use the Access-Space to run such sessions, using problem solving techniques to work with visitors to come up with ideas for musical games.


The other aim of the project is to use wide application of such sessions, promoting creative thinking and providing people with experience of new ways of looking at problems that they can take away. For example, a session might focus on using De Bono’s Thinking Hats as an approach, or principles from Triz, or simply use games where people use random objects for inspiration. I will provide a range of types of session and also encourage visitors to explore how to create their own innovative approaches to problems.


I will encourage visitors to explore topics of their own choosing, and I would like some of the topics to be based on the needs of the local community (incl. online communities), thus the output from the sessions will be ideas for dealing with local issues or ideas for exciting new community-based projects. My expertise is in using innovative approaches to facilitate constructive discussion and the discovery of new perspectives. The solutions that are the output are creative and also efficient, focussing on low resource, easily implemented solutions.


One of the challenges of the Creative Thinking Space for the artist is engaging young people and children so that they go away having experimented with new skills. I will be working with them to design entertaining games that they can play that encourage them to talk about the things that interest them and inspire creative thinking. Their input on local community needs, issues and potential projects will be invaluable.


I will also encourage people to participate in podcasts. The topics should be guided by the visitors but I am thinking of having a podcast series where people talk about their favourite music and what it means to them, a series where people talk about their experience of learning music and/or playing instruments and a series about community issues and ideas that come up in the sessions.