Sonic Inclusion Digital Research Platform

Written by Will Renel, who was awarded an LDoc SDF grant to support the development of a new digital research platform

 

My PhD research at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design investigates sonic inclusion – the multiplicity of ways that sound makes people feel included or excluded in public places. I was awarded an LDoc Student Development Fund grant to support the development of a digital research platform. The platform hosts a series of interactive web applications through which my PhD research data and findings can be shared. The platform is populated by multimodal research data sets (such as illustrations and binaural audio recordings) gathered during six research events that took place between September 2016 and October 2017.

 

The SDF grant enabled a new format of digital content provision – termed Audio-Embedded Live Scribing (AELS) – to be developed. AELS is a multi-sensory digital tool for sharing research content that merges visualisation, audio recording and captioning to position accessibility at the heart of digital communication. The format enables the findings of research events to be shared in a creative and accessible way. Below is are two prototype images sharing content from a research event held at The South London Gallery in London in October 2016. The event was attended by academics, designers and people with lived experience of sonic exclusion. During the event, a live illustrator captured quotes and topics of interest as visualisations in real time. Audio of the discussion was recorded using omni-directional microphones distributed throughout the environment and was later transcribed. The AELS merges the different modal components within an interactive grid accessed via a computer or smart device in which users can click on an image to enlarge, hear the audio from that moment of the event and read the related transcript. Audio description is embedded within each of the images.

 

Figure 1: Audio-embedded Live Scribe Tablet Interface

Figure 1: Audio-embedded Live Scribe Tablet Interface

 

 

Figure 2: Audio-embedded Live Scribe Desktop Interface

Figure 2: Audio-embedded Live Scribe Desktop Interface

 

The digital research platform is still under development but will be publicly available in 2019 following the submission of my PhD thesis. In addition, the AELS format is analysed in relation to museum content provision in a paper about sonic accessibility due for publication in 2019. I am extremely grateful to LDoc for the support of the SDF, without which the digital research platform and AELS format would not exist.