EAPRIL 2014 Conference: Seeing Sound

Posted by steven on Friday December 5th 2014 at 21:14

Our arrival at the EAPRIL conference on November 26th did not go unnoticed, though this was exclusively due to the fact that the Barcelona football team, who played their Champions League game against Apoel Nicosia that evening, was staying in the conference hotel. Excitement!

Needless to say, this degree of sensation would not be equaled in the days that followed, even though many conference presenters (including myself) did the best they could to turn their sessions into interactive and audioviosual experiences. Most presentations we attended were highly academic: solidly rooted in educational theory and with presentation of sound research methodology. This contributed to a high overall quality of the conference, and I returned home with tons of fresh ideas for teaching techniques I can use in my classes.

Initially I was a bit concerned that the predominantly academic crowd would be only moderately interested in the practical workshop I was organising, which was based on the creative workshop format used in the Seeing Sound course module (and research project). Luckily a good number of very motivated participants attended the workshop, and this produced some cool results!

The goal of the workshop was simple: participants had to create a moodboard for a short movie, just like our students have to do in the Seeing Sound course. We suspected this would be the best way to make our audience experience what it means to adopt a truly interdisciplinary approach in a course module. All participants, mostly educators and literature scientists, admitted that having to think in terms of music and images entailed a huge step away from their confort zone. As such they were literally confronted with the challenges our students face in the Seeing Sound module: composers are asked to think in terms of visuals and animation film makers are asked to think in terms of audio. This enabled us to demonstrate the educational techniques we use in the Seeing Sound module, and to explain that a creative workshop is a very useful format to integrate different teaching strategies.

All in all this was a very insightful experience. The storyboard/score documents our participants created can further be used as research material in our search for a jargon-neutral language to describe the flow of a movie in the conceptual stage.

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