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Music and Cochlear Implants at the Edinburg International Festival

August 15th, 2013 by | Tags: , | Comments Off

Hamish Innes-Brown from Melbourne, Australia will be giving a musical show at the Edinburg International Festival designed specially for cochlear implant recipients on Thursday, August 22.

Tickets (6 pounds) available from the Festival website

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Artists and scientists are sometimes thought of as deeply different types of people, or even opposites. However, from my experience as a scientist working with a group of contemporary classical composers, I found several parallels – the same sense of experimentation, testing, and general desire to take things apart to discover how they work. I’d like to talk about these parallels, and in the process describe our own arts/science collaboration that brought music to the ears of deaf people with cochlear implants.

In February 2011, six musical works were premiered in two near-sellout shows at the Arts Centre in Melbourne, Australia. The works were newly-commissioned, and had been designed for listeners using a cochlear implant. Leading up to the concert was a year-long whirlwind of collaborative grant-writing, planning, and development involving scientists, the six composers, and a small group of dedicated cochlear implant users. This presentation will focus on the process of collaboration that generated the works, with audio examples and a visual analysis of several of the works.

Many artists in the 21st century have become adepts in almost every form of high technology, and are not only consumers of technology, but produce and influence technology themselves. Scientists and artists alike can reap huge benefits from working together, and I encourage both parties to seek out these partnerships wherever possible.

About Hamis Innes-Brown:

Hamish is a research scientist at the Bionics Institute in Melbourne. He is interested in all aspects of how the mind perceives and builds up a representation of the outside world. He has a Bachelor of Cognitive Science (hons) from the University of Western Australia, and a PhD in neuroscience from Swinburne University. Currently he is working to improve the way that vital but subtle sounds are transmitted via a bionic ear to the brain. Perceiving these sounds properly is crucial for communication and function in complex social, education, and work environments.

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