Social Learning by hosting Skype Meetings

Dave Camlin: 05.02.2019

Singer song-writer and music educator based in Northern UK.

Megan Friel: 29.01.2019

Consultant and business manager at Wolf Brown Audience Research, U.S.A

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Reflection: speaking with Dave Camlin, we discussed his forthcoming research The Value of Group Singing, that uses micro - interviews as a way in which to elicit narratives from music participants that describe positive experiences of singing in a group. At the end of the interview the participant is given a mobile phone with the open application SenseMaker® . SenseMaker® is a collated archive of statistical data organised around key themes of artistic impact. Each theme is subdivided by three elements. These three elements are represented on the three corners of a triangle and the participant is asked where their narrative places on the triangle relative to the three themes. For example, the theme of Belonging: Me, My People, My Place is characterised by; ‘I have a strong sense of who I am’, ‘I feel a strong sense of brotherhood/ sisterhood with others in the group’ and ‘I feel a stronger connection with the world around me’. In this case the participant needs to discern which statement best describes their narrative. This information is then displayed as a distributed ethnography where the distance from a specific theme tells the researcher as much as to the proximity to a theme. On reflection, SenseMaker®, shows that there are universal themes of artistic impact that can be applied to any project regardless of the circumstance. Clearly, Camlin has found a technology that has distilled a great volume of statistical data on the subject into essential themes of artistic impact. This is a special technology, however, that draws upon a wealth of archived data to crystallize specific themes. Using this technology would have been beyond the limits of my study, but I was considering the use of micro - narratives as a research method. Yet I decided to conduct interviews because I wasn’t convinced that micro - interviews would produce enough information for analysis.

Reflection: while working on the BeSpecACTive! proposal a key text at the time was Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance (2007) by Woolf Brown associates that Meagan co authored. This text is a large quantitative survey assessing audience attitudes towards attending arts events across a variety of genres in a variety of venues. The central hypothesis is that the more familiarity and individual has with a particular artistic practice then the more likely they will benefit from the cultural experience. This hypothesis was proven by correlating ‘readiness to receive indexes’ with ‘impact indexes’. Readiness to receive are those independent variables that give the audience member a familiarity with the specific art form such as; education, previous experience and accessibility to the cultural event . The impact indexes are those determinant variables such as a sense of; emotional resonance and intellectual stimulation, that are provoked in the individual to the extent to which they are ‘ready to receive’ the artwork. During the the discussion it became evident, however, that applying the same determinant variables as presumed outcomes in my study was problematic for two reasons. One, this research is from the field of audience studies. Researchers look for the impact of cultural participation on those who receive the artistic work in the final stage of a long creative process, rather than looking at the impact of participants engaging with the creative process form the start. Two, it is difficult to apply specific outcomes or presumed impacts of arts participation from one project to another. It is a challenge to find a ‘fit all’ set of impacts, because every artistic process is operating within unique circumstances and motivated by a variety of priorities. It was because of these reasons that I started to move from an deductive to an inductive approach to data analysis. I was going to use Intellectual Stimulation, Emotional Resonance and Social Bonding as measures and a codebook in which to collect data through, but it was eventually decided that an inductive approach without an a priori code book would allow themes to arise organically.

(Camilin: forthcoming: distributed ethnography: 8)

(Camilin: forthcoming: distributed ethnography: 8)