We are going to have talks and demonstrations about the project on Tuesday 10th of June the Seminar is part of Universities Week Below is a flyer in easy read version and with more text about the Seminar. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend the seminar its free but places are limited.
We are working towards two events in June part of Universities Week on Monday 9th our Co-researchers from Reading College LLD/D dept will present our research in the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL). Below is the poster for the event, hope you can come!
Our group of Co-researchers in Liverpool have continued to test the Sensory Objects Cookbook at Sudley House Liverpool throughout February and March 2014. Each week members of the Access to Heritage group have met and tried out a different sensory expedition. In an earlier post we told you about a touch activity, the next was sound.”
The group brought sound making equipment with them to Sudley house, Shakers, Keyboard, etc. June led an activity where we all had to close our eyes and sit quietly for a couple of minutes just to listen. Then we went round the room to find out what people had heard. It was surprising what you could hear when you listen! Shoes on stairs, I heard, people talking, Chairs creaking, bird song, dogs barking, Carl drinking coffee and putting cup down, the sea. In the house we went round in small groups with i pads which we used to record images and sound. We created some sounds our selves – like opening drawers, walking on wooden floors and turning the pages of a book.
Sound workshop, collecting, imagining and making sounds at Sudley House
We recorded people chattering and clinking in the tea room. We imagined what other sounds might have gone on at the dining table for example – pouring drinks, laughing. cutlery, clock ticking, banging plates, biting, chewing, scraping. After lunch we listened to sounds each of us had recorded on the i pads: a creaking door, hitting railings with a stick, turning a door handle, walking down stairs, cafe sounds,rain drop, fire cracking, talking. Some people took photos of paintings and photos and imagined the sounds they would make. The group didn’t end up using the sound makers they had brought with them.
We focused this workshop on the sense of TOUCH in the morning, we had seven bags each with a collection of materials inside. We asked the Co-Researchers to feel inside the bags first and try to describe how the materials felt, some of the words the group used were rough, smooth, soft, hard, cold and warm. The picture below shows the group touching objects in the bags then using some pictures to discuss the types of materials and how they felt touch.
Seven bags with materials inside
After our Co-Researchers had described how the materials felt we asked them to place them in order of preference, the objects nearest the smiley face were their favourites the ones near the sad face our Co-Researchers least favourite material to touch. Luke chose his favourite as the milk bottle as it reminded him of breakfast, the softer materials such as the fleece and wool blanket were very popular as were the root vegetables, but the piece of sweetcorn was too cold and slimy to touch, the metal hard and cold. The picture below shows the lineup of the groups choices.
Favourite and least favourite materials to touch
Then our Co-Researchers were asked to choose one of the objects in the bags that they really liked to touch, could they find something in the museum that they associated with the object? This was quite a difficult task, the picture below shows Rachel who chose a Parsnip, Sian chose a plastic milk bottle, Guillermo chose some pop corn and Rumena who chose an egg, they are photographed holding the object next to what what they found to connect it in the MERL collection.
Materials we like to touch and things that link to them in MERL
We also asked the group to link one of the objects in the bags to a sound from the sound boxes. Rachel could remember where the sounds were on the dial! The image below shows Sian with an egg pressing the sound box to make the sound of hens, Luke he chose a potato and played the sound of a steam engine and Skye also chose the egg but continually pressed the button on the sound box so the clucking sound of the hen started to sound like barking and she pointed to the picture of the dog on the image sheet, we thought this was good observation of an accidental invention.
Adding sounds to objects
Robyn made us a great lunch again with salad, pizza, popcorn, sweet corn, bread that we sliced on the table and carrot cake. This time Robyn decided to keep the food on plates that could be passed around by the group rather than plating it up first the group were able to pass the food around to everyone.
After lunch we asked the Co-Researchers to try the littleBits electronics kit that we had used in the last workshop. We asked the group to make LED’s light up using different sensors. The image below shows the Rachel altering the pulsing of the LEDs with a small screwdriver and Skye trying out the pressure sensors from the littleBits electronics kit. Rumena and Rachel are becoming experts with the littleBits kit!
Skye uses pressure sensor
We also used a sound sensor, connected to the sound box, the picture below shows Sian and Guillermo clapping to activate the sound sensor.
Guillermo claps to activate a sound sensor linked to the sound box
Sian claps testing a sound sensor linked to the sound box
We practised using littleBits triggering the sounds from the sound box and LED’s with different sensors, then we opened some parcels, inside were various types of containers linked to farming, there were Buckets, Baskets and Boots.
These objects were inspired by the museum and the idea of a container to collect sensory information in. We wanted to experiment with objects other than plain boxes that we used last year at Speke Hall. We explained to the group that we chose these objects because they linked to the MERL collection, farming and they were all objects that could contain things. We asked the Co-Researchers what you could put in a bucket? Luke said water and Skye said eggs, she also mentioned that you could collect eggs in baskets too. Rachel had seen baskets in the museum and she linked the parsnip she chose earlier because she liked how it felt, to collecting vegetables in baskets.
Rachel links baskets to collecting vegetables such as a parsnip
Sian and Guillermo gave a practical demonstration of what goes inside a Wellie boot as they both decided to wear them. The picture below show them wearing the boots and caring the buckets and baskets.
Sian and Guillermo bootsbucketsbaskets
Luke, Guillermo, Skye, Sain and Rachel (Rumena not in pic)
Then we thought we’d try out the baskets and buckets, we asked the group to choose one of the containers and we went outside into the MERL garden to see what we could collect to put inside our buckets or baskets. The picture below shows the group outside collecting lots of autumn leaves, stones, apples etc.
inside the buckets and baskets
The picture above shows some of the objects our Co-Researchers collected in their buckets and baskets from the MERL garden, the leaves were beautiful, their reflection in the shiny buckets were great and to capture them we finished off our workshop by creating some textured rubbings from the leaves we collected see the picture below.
Leaf texture rubbings
During the last part of the workshop we introduced the idea to the group that we had made art from what we had found, outside enjoying how the materials looked in the buckets, how stones sounded when dropped in the bucket and also how interesting the leaves looked when we rubbed crayons over them to see the pattern and texture of the leaf. We also mentioned that these buckets, baskets and boots could have the potential to be containers for sensory information in the museum, we will continue to explore them in the next MERL workshop.
This was a really busy workshop our Co-Researchers impressed us with how focused and engaged they were all day.
Today we held our first pilot workshop at MERL Museum of English Rural Life, in Reading. We were joined by Co-Researchers from Mencap Reading, many thanks to Miranda, Stacy, Charley, Caroline, support worker Alle and Stuart from MERL who gave us the tour. Also thanks to Kassie our project UROP student thats Undergraduate Research Opportunity Placement who devised and organised the workshop and Nic and Craig who made the sound box kit we used during the day.
The picture below was taken by Miranda using an instant camera it shows us all in the education room at MERL
Group shot by Miranda
The picture below is a group shot taken by Charley with the instant camera
Group with taken by Charley
We used two instant cameras, we asked the group to photo anything in the museum that matched sounds on special sound boxes that Nic and Craig had constructed. The picture below shows Stacy using one of the sound boxes. She turned a knob to choose sounds such as steam engine, sheep, hammering on an anvil and horses and milk bottles, then played them by pressing the button.
Stacy and sound box
Kassie with Stacy and Caroline listen to sounds from the sound boxes.
Using sound boxes
The picture below shows the group listening to Stuart from MERL giving a tour of the museum.
Stuart gives tour of MERL
The picture below shows the group finding out about metal work, Stuart showed us a draw of creatures made by blacksmiths from metal. We played the sound of an anvil being hit by a hammer and took so instant pictures.
All pointing in draw on tour
The picture below shows all the instant photos the group shot.
all the instant photos the group shot
Kassie prepared us a farmers lunch, she bought produce that came from farms and related to some of the equipment we had seen in the MERL collection. Our lunch included cheese, milk,apples, butter, bread, crisps, ham, tomatoes, chutneys it was delicious and gave us the chance to discuss where and how the food was produced. Caroline mentioned that they had visited a farm recently and watched milk being churned. The picture below shows us eating lunch.
After lunch we made our own sounds to accompany a silent films about farming the group were very creative using all sorts of things to make sounds and creating sounds with their voices.
Access to Heritage group divided into two groups and collected the smells of Speke Hall. We had some foam devices a bit like bicyle pumps to suck up a smell and then capture the aroma of air into plastic bags. The smells were labelled with an image or text.
Sucking up Christmas Smell
Angela collecting smells
Michael collecting and baging up smells of Speke Hal
Bags with smells collected at Speke Hal
The group were also given some objects to test with sensors embedded that would trigger sounds. Gosia made some notes about the activity of testing, “Everyone was sitting around the table, there was a lot of chatter. The first object introduced to a small group was a loaf of bread that made some sounds when touched. The sounds were the recordings made by the group in a previous workshop. The bread played the sound of cooking, spoons and pans clattering. The sound trigger in the bread did not work every time. The participants started touching and exploring the bread trying to get the sound to work until the bread was smashed”
Loaf sensor – post exploration
The pictures below show some of the other objects with sensors embedded.
This workshop concentrated on collecting, making and recording sounds from Speke Hall. Some of the sounds may go inside the boxes made in the last workshop. You can hear some of the sounds on the box webpage here
There was an initial briefing in the education room at Speke, where a video of Sheila (a Speke Hall volunteer) was played. She described the sounds that you could hear in the house at the present time, and also some of the sounds that you would expect to hear when the house was it was used as a family residence. Following the introduction, the Co Researchers looked at some of the equipment for making sounds (such as the miniature barrel organ) and then either collected sounds from around the hall, or made sounds themselves used materials supplied.
The image below shows Elle making the miniature barrel organ play its sound. After the picture was taken she discovered that holding it on a flat, hard surface (the table) makes it sound much louder.
Elle plays music by turning the handle on the miniature barrel organ
Paul does the same with mini barrel organ:
Paul playing the barrel organThe picture below show Elle making the clip clop sound of horses hooves with coconut shells, Tracy recorded the sound.
The picture below show Elle making the clip clop sound of horses hooves with coconut shells, Tracy recorded the sound.
Elle makes sound of horses hooves
The picture below shows Paul and Angela they found that if they squeezed the cellophane gentley it would sound like a fire crackling.
Paul and Angela fire sound
Paul and Angela popped bubble wrap this worked even better than cellophane as the sound of a crackling fire.
The picture below shows Paul with a whisk in a metal jug. The group tried to make a sound scene of the kitchen.
Paul makes kitchen sounds
The picture below shows Angela using some wooden paddles that would form butter into a block, by rubbing them past each other they made a rasping sound we did not try them with butter between them.
Angela explores the sound that butter pats make
Sounds Collected Around the Hall
Sounds were collected from around the hall, either by directly recording the available sounds (e.g. clocks ticking) or making the sounds happen by some form of interaction. In the two images below, Christopher records the sounds made by billiard balls moving along the baize surface, and when the balls collide.
Christopher recording the sound of the billiard balls
Christopher records the sounds made by the billiard balls
The picture below shows Elle with volunteer costume tour guide Fiona. They collected the sound of the cue and balls knocking together. Sometimes it was difficult to know whether Elle wanted to hold the sound recorder or take part in the activity that made the sound.
Elle and Fiona billiards sound of cue on ball
The sound made by the ‘secret lock’ and the creaking of the cupboard door in one of the bedrooms was captured by Elle:
The lock behind the ‘secret’ panel is revealed! Click … cluck
The sounds of the creaking floorboards was also capture on the top floor of the house:
Elle examines a fossil on the limestone floor for it’s texture. Co Researchers are encouraged to explore all sensory forms, even if not strictly part of the exercise:
Elle examines the fossil of a belemnite for its texture
The picture below shows Elle ringing a bell in the kitchen to collect the sound.
Elle rings bell in kitchen at Speke Hall
The picture below shows Elle using the sound recorder to record the sound of rustling fabric of Fiona and Veras costumes.