Creative Technology PhD Student Asha Blatherwick

AshaBlatherwickMusic Technology for users with complex needs

Music is essential to most of us. It can light up all areas of the brain and help to develop skills with communication and establishing identity. People use musical experiences to create meaning and coherence in states and times of adversity using its transformative properties. Music can be explored actively by playing instruments, or passively, such as listening to music and can be used to enter a state of flow.

Exploring music actively in this way can be restricted for someone with cognitive, physical, or sensory impairments. The barriers they face may cause gaps between their musical gestures and the music making means available to them. Using technology, we can bridge these gaps by focusing on a person’s ability to create personal instruments that allow for active music making and exploration of sound. Technology can be used to turn tiny movements into huge sounds and tangible user interfaces can be used to investigate the relationship between the physical and digital world, leading to new modes of interaction.

My research will take an ‘Action Research’ approach to create bespoke tangible tools that combine hardware and software, allowing users to create and explore sound using their capabilities in a participatory way.