A message from LED’s Principal Investigator, Prof. David Rowland
We are very nearly at the end of the first, funded stage of the Listening Experience Database project. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it, especially the members of the Project Team, who have seen it through from its beginnings at the start of 2013 until now. A great deal has been achieved. We are not far short of our target 10,000 entries into the database – within the first couple of months of the new year we should achieve the total and we will probably exceed it, given the inputter and approval contracts that are lined up. We had an immensely successful conference, with participants from many parts of the world, following our two earlier symposia. The conference enabled us to make contact with several other scholars working in related areas and a new listening network site is being launched. We also have two volumes that will be published in 2016 using innovative open-access publishing processes. So the project has already made a significant impact on the study of listening.
While this is the end of the first phase, it is by no means the end of the project – the plan is for it to continue and grow for many years to come. We still await the outcome of a second AHRC bid – which will probably now be announced in the new year – but whatever happens the database will continue to expand and be used. As we have always said, the bigger it becomes, the more useful it will be, so I hope you will all continue to contribute to it, and to use it as the basis for study and teaching.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thankyou to the Open University’s partners in the project, the Royal College of Music. We have developed very good ways of working together which have stood us in good stead. Particularly crucial to the development of that relationship have been Helen (OU) and Simon (RCM), who have done a fantastic job keeping us on track, coming up with suggestions and working tirelessly throughout the project. It’s been a privilege to have that on the project. A big thankyou to them!
I hope you all have a good Christmas and new year.
As David says, we were delighted with the success of our conference ‘Listening to music: people, practices and experiences’. It was held at the RCM on 24 and 25 October 2015, and about 60 people attended. Twenty-six papers were presented under 11 broad topics including: listening and life writing; listening in 17th- and 18th-century London; provincial listening; practitioner listening; practitioners and the impact of recordings; listening and new technologies; colonial influences; ordinary and expert listeners; the impact of war; Victorian listening contexts; and listening in entertainment contexts. There was a paper on the technical aspects of the project, and two roundtables, the first on the listening experience of the concert hall and the second on modernist writers listening to music. The keynote address, ‘More than meets the ear: on the sociology of listening’, was given by Prof. Simon Frith. The conference programme contains all the abstracts – you can read it on the LED website. There will be a volume of conference proceedings in due course – the plan is for these to be published online in 2016. If our bid for further funding is successful, a second conference is planned for 2017, and we hope this would signal the start of a biennial series.
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, our technical colleagues in KMi will be implementing a change to the way the browse tables are viewed; this is now managed on the LED server, as opposed to the client PC. The intention is that this will standardise performance of the database across everyone’s machine. There will also be an additional ‘location’ facility that will enable users to browse listening experiences via an interactive map. This will be the final update for this period of funding but do keep your suggestions for updates coming. As users of the database, your feedback is invaluable to us!
We now have over 8,700 submissions, and the inputters and gatekeepers are still hard at work, so we fully expect to reach our initial 10,000 target in the new year. However, as David says, whatever happens with funding, the intention is for the database content to continue to grow, so please don’t stop adding entries whenever you come across anything relevant.
Publicity, networking and outputs
The co-authored paper that Simon gave at the Thirteenth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, in Vancouver, has now been published in The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review for 2015. It is available to download here: http://ijhar.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.281/prod.30
As we develop our plans for online publishing, we are consulting closely with the AHRC-funded Academic Book of the Future project http://academicbookfuture.org/ . One of its associated projects involves the British Library Sound Archive’s ‘Save Our Sounds’ campaign, and focuses on how audio-visual resources will be included in ‘the academic book of the future’ – and they are asking for your help. Here is a link to their blog post explaining more about this spin-off project – it contains a further link to a survey aimed at anyone who uses sound and/or visual materials in their research – if that includes you, please take part:
On 12 January we will be presenting a roundtable session at the Hidden Musicians Revisited conference organised by the OU’s Music Department. Trevor Herbert will chair the session, and David, Helen, Simon and the LED project’s PhD student Kerri-Ann Edinburgh will give brief presentations on research into ‘hidden’ musical experience based around LED database content and usage. One of the keynote speakers will be the OU’s Emeritus Professor Ruth Finnegan, whose pioneering work The Hidden Musicians: Music-Making in an English Town inspired the conference. Registration has closed, but you’ll find the conference programme at http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/music/?p=1305
LED Honorary Associates
Finally, look out for our new ‘Honorary Associate’ scheme – we’ll be emailing you with more information in the new year. The idea is to help foster a network of scholars and to recognise contributors whose support and expertise we would like to retain and develop, and we’ll be inviting applications very soon.
In the meantime – have a very happy and restful Christmas and New Year break!
Helen and Simon