Inspiring Project Shortlisted for Education Award

A research project undertaken by a team of researchers at the RNCM and University of Liverpool has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of England and led by Dr Carl Hopkins (Reader in Acoustics and Head of the Acoustic Research Unit at the University of Liverpool) and Professor Jane Ginsborg (Associate Dean of Research and Enterprise and Programme Leader for Research Degrees at the RNCM) in partnership with Music and the Deaf, ‘Interactive performance for musicians with a hearing impairment’ will compete for the title of 2013 Research Project of the Year.

The three-year project, which culminated in a successful one-day conference at the RNCM in May, was originally inspired by deaf musician Dame Evelyn Glennie who describes feeling and using vibration when playing percussion instruments. The aim of the research was to investigate the potential for vibrotactile feedback to facilitate interactive group performance for musicians with hearing impairments who otherwise rely primarily on visual cues. The intention was to open up new opportunities for deaf people, young and old, to enjoy making music together.

Jane was delighted to learn that the project has been shortlisted, saying; ‘This is a huge accolade for the whole of the research team: not only Carl and myself, but Dr Gary Seiffert, the Principal Experimental Officer and Saúl Maté-Cid, the Postgraduate Research Assistant at Liverpool, and Robert Fulford, the PhD student at RNCM. The project itself represents an interdisciplinary as well as an inter-institutional collaboration, combining music and science, psychology and acoustics. We were incredibly privileged to be able to work with Music and the Deaf, who introduced us to so many amazing deaf musicians and their families and teachers. The findings of the research not only add to our theoretical understanding of vibrotactile perception and interactive musical performance (both separately and together) but will also be of real value to musicians with and without hearing impairments.

The Times Higher Education Awards were established to recognise and celebrate the creativity and quality of teaching and research undertaken in higher education institutions throughout the UK. The results will be revealed at an Awards Ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on 28 November.

9 September 2013