I-HE(AR)^2 [I Hear Too] - Improving Heritage Experience through Acoustic Reality and Audio Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Electronics

Abstract

How can audio and acoustics research be employed in the interpretation, understanding and representation of heritage materials and artifacts? How might such audio materials be better preserved for future generations of researchers and heritage visitors? I-HE(AR)^2-Live, a programme of sound works, installations, demos and audio interactives to be held in and around York Minster in October 2009 will showcase these aspects of science/heritage research and set a benchmark for future work. I-HE(AR)^2-Live is the culmination of the I-HE(AR)^2 research cluster's series of workshops, highlighting the potential for audio/acoustic research and technology as a core component of the heritage experience. It will be of interest to researchers, practitioners, heritage stakeholders, and potential industry partners from across the UK and internationally, with significant additional public interest due to the nature of and interest in the chosen venue ensuring the dissemination of the work of this cluster across the widest possible audience.

Sound is often considered the poor relation of visual stimuli, yet plays a significant role in conveying information for rapid assimilation by a listener, and is a key component in the multi-modal perception of virtual/augmented reality applications. The remit of I-HE(AR)^2 encompasses the understanding and preservation of heritage through the consideration of sound objects (recordings, sound archives, music, instruments), the built environment (architectural acoustics, archaeological acoustics, auralization), sites and landscapes (sound in context). All of these elements are subject to change over time and so their audio/acoustic preservation is just as important for understanding of the past by future generations as any of their other material aspects or properties.

There are key research issues in this area that will be discussed as part of I-HE(AR)^2's activities, including the use of sound recordings and archives in heritage preservation, their restoration, organisation and access together with what to record now for future preservation; virtual acoustic reality and immersive sound as a means to preserve and render sounds and environments in new forms; the role of sound, sound-art and archival recordings as a means to access, enhance understanding, or experience the diversity of heritage; the importance of formalising acoustics research in heritage together with its proper contextualisation; the use of soundscape for conveying information to a listener or wider audience. To further support and disseminate the work of the cluster, downloadable podcasts will be made available as outputs from our workshops, thereby helping to provide our own preserved archive of activities.

Through this programme of work, I-HE(AR)^2 will facilitate a step-change in how audio is used for preserving, experiencing and researching heritage, and by the end of the project will have brought together communities to form a newly focused stream of multi-disciplinary research.



Publications

10 25 50
 
Title I-Hear-Too Live event 
Description York Minster echoes to the sound of heritage A unique event showcasing sound-art and music in the historic setting of York Minster. I Hear Too: Live featured seven specially commissioned music, performance and sound-art installation in various locations around the Minster. Artists included: Ebor Singers: John Was & Aaron Watson: David Chapman: Craig Vear: Louise K Wilson: HISTORYWORKS: Jon Calver & Helen Weinstein The varied programme of works, over the course of the evening, explored, interpreted and re-examined the space, architecture and daily life of the Minster, making use of various aspects and features of the building. We encouraged the audience to sit, walk or interact with the works as appropriate - this is not intended to be a traditional concert experience! Pieces to be performed include: A Ripple on the World's Pool by John Was and Aaron Watson An audio-visual piece inspired by the ways in which York Minster, over many centuries, has been both the focus and transmission point for the key ideas and meanings that bind our culture. The piece will use the sound of the Minster bell(s) to initiate a series of audio-visual sequences commenting upon chains of cause and effect and the spread of influence and ideas in faith, culture and time. 'Cravasse' and 'Melt Water' by Craig Vear 12,000 years ago the geographic position of the Minster would have been underneath a giant glacier - and potentially within the next thousand years, the next 'Ice Age' will start. These two pieces fill the Nave with the sounds recorded from inside Antarctic glacier: in 'Cravasse', giant Icicle bells are used as source material, and in 'Melt Water the inter-moraine smelt water rivers are explored. Minster Voices by Helen Weinstein and Jon Calver (Historyworks) A cacophony of found sounds in the Quire aisles leads you via footstep tracks to the Zouche Chapel. In the Zouche Chapel a subdued sound montage interweaving the stories of those who look after the Minster building providing a place of contemplation where the audience can be immersed in story telling snippets woven in to a sound poem about how the Minster is looked after from the waking up of the building to its closing at night. Sotto Voce by David Chapman Octo: Sotto Voce is an 8-channel sound installation presenting an audio montage of whispered voices. The whispered prayer, the respectful tone or the irreverent aside are characteristic of the voice hushed to convey private conversations not intended for widespread dissemination. The piece will be installed in the Chapter House to make use of its exceptional acoustic properties and stunning architecture where 8 loudspeakers will be face out from the central octagonal floor motif. I Hear Too Live took place at 8pm on 7 October 2009. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2009 
Impact Hearing the Past (September 2011): Science Writers Award winning BBC-Radio 4 documentary of the week about the I-Hear-Too project: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014f9q5 I Hear Too Live II (September 2012): After the success of I Hear Too Live we commissioned sound artists and composers to produce new works in response to the rooms and spaces of the historic Guildhall and Mansion House in York, as part of the DAFx12 International Conference supporting programme: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dafxinfo/sets/ D. T. Murphy and J S Brereton, I-Hear-Too: I-HE[AR]2 - Improving Heritage Experience through Acoustic Reality and Audio Research, Poster Presentation at the Sustaining the Impact of UK Science and Heritage Research Conference (29-30 October 2013). 
URL http://iheartoo.blogspot.com/
 
Description The aim of the I-Hear-Too research cluster was to raise the profile of science and heritage related audio, acoustics, and virtual/augmented audio reality research. This has been clearly realised through the planned and delivered programme of workshops and events. At the project end, I-Hear-Too had 52 active members, almost double the number with which it started. In terms of wider dissemination I-Hear-Too-Live on 7th October involved the commissioning of seven sound artists and a choir to bring the interior of York Minster alive with sound that reflected the various aspects of its multifaceted personality and use as a key heritage space for both York and the UK. An audience of over 80 people attended on the night with 200 visitors seeing a number of the works again at the Minster Nights open access event at York Minster on January 10th 2010. Both events were publicised by York Minster and the University of York, online, via posters in the City, and on local radio through interviews with the organisers.
Exploitation Route Sound and Heritage continues to be an area of active research, and this project has enabled the consortium/network developed to build some capacity in the area. We have established links between practitioners, researchers, heritage curators and industry and encouraged conversations between these parallel, yet complementary skills bases in this relatively new area of research. This work plays a key role in the University of York's own Centre for Digital Heritage, the central hub of an international network of Universities researching aspects of Digital Heritage.
Sectors Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://iheartoo.blogspot.co.uk/
 
Description 1. Evening of Sound Art and commissioned music in the Guildhall and Mansion House, York, as part of the DAFx12 Conference. As with the first event the purpose was to educate and inform as to the role sound has in our understanding of the past and our interaction and engagement with Heritage. A number of heritage partners in the City of York and nationally were invited and attended. Based on the success of the model for the I-Hear-Too Live event in the Minster in 2009 the AudioLab at York have commissioned sound artists and composers to produce new works in response to the fabulous rooms and spaces of the historic Guildhall and Mansion House in York. The programme includes contributions from Louise K Wilson, David Chapman, Geodesic Arts, Historyworks (Helen Weinstein and Jon Calver), Jon Was and Aaron Watson and has been produced in collaboration with the 15th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx-12) The evening culminates in a new choral piece 'Architexture 1' by Ambrose Field and the Ebor Singers which has been specially composed to fit the individual acoustic of the Main Hall of the Guildhall. A team of researchers, led by Jude Brereton from the Audio Lab, Dept of Electronics, University of York, recorded impulse responses in the Guildhall to enable the piece to be written specifically for the venue's acoustic. Composer Ambrose Field explains: "Composers throughout the ages have created music for specific locations. However, this work explores links between the composition and performance venue in manner more detailed than was traditionally feasible when creating a piece 'for' a space. Through the help of an acoustic analysis, Architexture I features precise and intricate connections between the musical material and the architecture of the venue." 2. BBC Radio 4 Broadcast. Commissioned programme, highlighted as documentary of the Week, winner of Association of British Science Writers prize for the best scripted/ edited radio programme or podcast. The purpose was to educate and inform, and influence opinion as to the role of sound in understanding the past. Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores what the past would have sounded like to our ancestors, and investigates how it is helping us to improve our acoustic designs of the future. We hear what a singer in Coventry Cathedral would have sounded like before it was bombed in 1940, and how a Stonehenge ritual four thousand years ago had a bass-synthesiser effect going on that Depeche Mode would have been proud of! Designers of modern concert venues are learning lessons from the layout of Stonehenge and we also learn how better acoustics in today's buildings improve our quality of life, and can even save lives. 3. Evening of Sound Art and commissioned music in York Minster as part of I-Hear-Too project. The purpose was to educate and inform as to the role sound has in our understanding of the past and our interaction and engagement with Heritage. A number of heritage partners in the City of York and nationally were invited and attended. A unique event showcasing sound-art and music in the historic setting of York Minster. I Hear Too: Live featured seven specially commissioned music, performance and sound-art installation in various locations around the Minster.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description AHRC Follow on Fund for Impact and Engagement
Amount £93,433 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/N00356X/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description Creative Media Labs: Innovations in Screen Storytelling in the Age of Interactivity and Immersion
Amount £5,544,079 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/S002839/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 03/2023
 
Description EPSRC Digital Economy Hubs
Amount £4,039,831 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M023265/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2020
 
Description Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement: Creative Economy Highlight Notice
Amount £202,006 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/P012094/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Description Listening to the Commons: The Acoustics of Debate and the Experience of Women in Parliament c. 1834
Amount £8,844 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 07/2016
 
Title Open Acoustic Impulse Response Library (OpenAIR) 
Description A collection of modelled and measured acoustic data from locations across the world, with data available in a variety of spatial audio formats. Also supported with a set of online anechoic recordings and acoustic analysis tools. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2010 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This work has resulted in one AHRC follow on project, a license to three audio software companies (Ableton, Presonus, Propellerheads) and collaboration with a UK computer games company. 
URL http://www.openairlib.net/
 
Description British Library 
Organisation The British Library
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We organised and managed the I-Hear-Too AHRC funded research network
Collaborator Contribution Members contributed to the network and also hosted an event.
Impact A number of events, and follow on funding applications have been developed as part of and beyond the I-Hear-Too project on which this collaboration was founded.
Start Year 2009
 
Description National Railway Museum 
Organisation National Railway Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We organised and managed the I-Hear-Too AHRC funded research network
Collaborator Contribution Members contributed to our network and they also hosted an event.
Impact A number of events, and follow on funding applications have been developed as part of and beyond the I-Hear-Too project on which this collaboration was founded.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Ongoing collaboration with Arup Acoustics Glasgow, based in the area of interactive auralization. 
Organisation Arup Group
Department Acoustic Consulting
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We organised and managed the I-Hear-Too AHRC funded research network
Collaborator Contribution Members contributed to this network and hosted and event.
Impact A number of events, and follow on funding applications have been developed as part of and beyond the I-Hear-Too project on which this collaboration was founded. A co-supervised PhD with the Arup Glasgow office is still underway.
Start Year 2008
 
Description 1.618 Immersive Sound Podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I was interviewed about my research in immersive sound for the 1.618 Digital podcast series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://1618digital.com/immersive-audio-podcast/
 
Description BBCR4 - Hearing the Past 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A commissioned R4 documentary relating to the I-Hear-Too AHRC/EPSRC research project, still available for streaming online. Reached an audience of many 1000s according to download statistics made available at the time. Documentary of the week in Radio Times, and received Association of British Science Writers, Royal Society Radio Prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast in 2011.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014f9q5
 
Description Merchant Adventurers Annual Science Discovery Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Annual Merchant Adventurers Science Discovery Lecture is an important event in the calendar of York for engaging the wider public with active research at the University of York. The work done in preparation for this event has resulted in a number of follow-on projects and collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Wired for Sound: Engineering future audio experiences and new sound worlds through creative digital technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An invited seminar as part of a regular series at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, for an audience of academics, students and industry colleagues, disseminating recent audio and acoustics research and related to trends in immersive audio content.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.kth.se/en/2.81829/calendar/seminars/wired-for-sound-engineering-future-audio-experiences...
 
Description York Talks - Sound Design for our Sound Environment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact YorkTalks is the University of York's own TEDx style presentations of key research. This talk resulted in a piece of written work for 'The Conversation' which reached a much wider international audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://theconversation.com/shaping-up-our-soundscapes-can-improve-our-lives-37175