Building acoustics engagement: a touring, singing building

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


Note this is an Invited resubmission. The relationship between art and science is eternal. Much great science has been inspired by art and much great art enabled by science. There is perhaps no stronger example of this relationship than the link between the art of sound and the science of acoustics. People of all ages can be moved, awed, inspired and intrigued by great music, grand reverberant spaces and strange new timbres. The sophistication of how we express ourselves with sound has developed with our understanding of the perceptual and physical science of sound. The art of sound will always be a way for many to appreciate, explore and understand science. The 'building acoustics engagement' project will show how new, inspiring and intriguing art can engage curiosity and the desire to know through science. With the aid of a noted artist a large and beautiful new sculpture will tour the country; being sited at four successive locations. This unusual sculpture will be specifically designed to sing when excited by the wind or by people. The visual and aural spectacle of a singing sculpture will inspire many with questions that surround how its strange sounds are naturally generated, propagated and perceived. Hence the tour will be accompanied by a well constructed education package of talks, events and activities delivered by enthusiastic advocates for acoustics and engineering. This will include ... * resources for schools including detailed lesson plans, activities and online resources to complimentKey Stage learning requirements, * resources for the wider public including packs for guided tours, informative signage, accompanying on-site talks and interactive online resources. These fun and accessible components will be designed to enfranchise the public with a greater knowledge of the role of acoustics in art and entertainment, wider technological development, the built environment and environmental law.With the aid of the education component the sculpture will be a highly attention grabbing and attractive vehicle for promoting science appreciation, engagement and even recruitment. By liaising closely with schools and community organisations, marketing for popular events and drawing on the public engagement pedigree of the UK's two principle acoustic research centres (Salford and ISVR); this project will be a highly visible, meaningful and enjoyable experience for the public.


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Drumm IA (2015) The Aeolus project: Science outreach through art. in Public understanding of science (Bristol, England)

Description This is a public engagement grant. The non-academic impact is a promotion of science and engineering through a large scale acoustic sculpture and related outreach activities, particularly for school-age children.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Touring of acoustic sculpture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The sculpture and related activities were toured to four venues, spending about a month at each: Lyme Park (National Trust), The Eden Project, Media City (Salford) and Canary Wharf (London). The sculpture was visited by about 53,000 people and reached an estimated 15 million through web and print media. Further statistics are reported in the journal paper associated with this grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011