Inclusive design!

The target these days with our creative media, is to make it as accessible and appealing as possible to a wide range of people, with different cultures, genders, ages, races and abilities (or disabilities). The underlying problem here, is that we’re merely the sum of our experiences, so we can only create from what we know, and many of us do not take the “inclusiveness” of our creative works into consideration, as they may not have had any effect or presence in our lives to date.

This weeks lecture was based around the idea of Inclusive Design, this is the overall accessibility and of a consumer product and the diversity of the target audience. This might not seem like a very important factor to consider, especially along things such as deadlines, budget. Although its vital time spent on making your art the most effective product it can be.


In the Audio Industry there are few things you see very rarely, one of them is female sound engineers, and just thinking here to myself about it, i have no idea why. Not too long ago, BBC entertainment reporter, Mark Savage, wrote an article (link below) on how females in the audio industry scarce. Despite the fact that there are so many female artists dominating the industry like Beyoncé, Adele, Katy Perry and so on.

Susan Rogers was an studio engineer for Prince, and is now an associate professor at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston. In the article she talks about the female presence in the industry…

“The bottom line is, women aren’t interested,” she says.
“Right now, I currently teach engineering and production; and I also teach psychoacoustics and music cognition. In the psychology topics, the students are half women and half men. But in production and engineering, maybe one out of every 10 students is a young woman.”

Savage goes on to say how this lack of female engineers is mainly restricted to the rock and pop music styles, in the theatre and radio industry’s however, there are several more female engineers.


Another obvious limiting with music is that you can’t really cater for people with hearing disabilities. There are a number of hearing impaired people who have managed to work with music despite their inability to hear. For example, Evelyn Glennie is a deaf Scottish percussionist, in the 2012 London Olympic games she led 1000 drummers in the opening ceremony performances. She says that she relies on the feel and vibration of the sound, and will often play barefoot when performing or recording to get a better feel.

In 2004, Ciarán O’Kelly created a program called Visual Audio, that enabled music to be mapped out visually on a computer with colour coding. The basic aim being to enhance the deaf communities experience with music. Below is a video of the prototype video from a few years ago.

This is a great example of inclusive design in the music industry! And there are plenty more opportunities for Inclusive Design considerations in people’s art.



Preparing for the Interview!

The big interview, it’s where we hope to find ourselves, however its a difficult and nervous situation, the questions are very testing and you want to been seen by your interviewer as the ultimate candidate for this job. Week 4’s lecture was about job interviews, I found this particularly helpful and interesting as I have never been in a formal job interview scenario, and to be honest, the prospect of being critically analysed terrifies me. So I guess knowing what to expect would extremely important and helpful for myself as well as other people with job interviews lined up in the future.

One of the first parts of the lecture that struck me was the really odd questions that interviewers would ask. I found it strange that they would go off on a tangent asking the weirdest questions, for example, “If you were and animal, what animal would you be?” or, ““How would you design a spice rack for a blind person?”. Why do I need to know this!?!? Questions you wouldn’t really expect and therefore wouldn’t really deem as necessary knowledge when getting ready for your big interview or writing your resumé.


However what they’re actually doing, is trying to find out how you function in a very sneaky and cunning way that’s extremely analytical.

These are the typical types of interview question that you may be asked in a typical job interview…

Behavioural questions – These questions focus on your reactions, attitude and behaviour to certain work situation from the past. The idea is to try to get as clear a picture of how you work, solve problems, react to situations as possible. This kind of question will sound like, “Tell me about a time when you….”, or “Describe a scenario when you set this goal and how did you achieve it”. Before going into an interview I would revisit as many previous work scenarios as possible.

Situational questions – These questions are tailored to find out what you will do in certain situations, in that way, they’re quite similar to behavioural questions, however with less regard for your previous work situations, and a greater focus on what will do in the future with this particular firm. These questions could sound like, “How would a workload this big?”, or “What would you I do to make this project deadline?”. I would re-evaluate my work routine before the interview and find a more organised, structured and efficient way of delivering my work, so as to be more prepared for these questions and scenarios in the workplace.

Competency/ability questions – These questions are about your personal skills and abilities and where in the job they will help you. These questions will sound like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. I would attempt to find a few main points that prove my knowledge and ability, without trying to brag or sound arrogant.

Communication/cultural questions – These questions look at your social skills and how you could work with a team. Harmony between colleagues is very important and employers will favour those that get along well with others as they make team work a lot more cohesive, and of course will make the workplace more friendly. These questions will sound like, “What do you think your colleagues would say about you?” or, “How would you describe your work relationships?” I would try to be a very friendly and easy-going in the interview, but remain a good listener and focused. Maybe even use my references from previous jobs, also be sure to learn as much as possible about the firm before the interview!!

Knowing the interviewers tactics will give you huge head start as you’ll know what they want to hear and how to answer their questions in the best way possible. Of course you wont be able to script out your answers as if you know what they will ask you, but you will have a far greater chance of getting the job. But if you don’t get the job, email the interviewer and ask for feedback on your interview, and there will be knowledge gained from the experience.


You’ll probably hear some weird and vague question’s, the goal is to be prepared, intuitive and enthusiastic and your chances will grow immensely.


Copyright and Contracts

Copyright and contracts is such a dense and complex topic, very few people actually have a full understating of its ins and outs. It’s incredibly easy to take creative material these days through the internet and other means of technology and so many international laws and treaties have been established to preserve and secure creative art from being copied and stolen. In Australia, Copyright is governed by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

…”We have a massive system to regulate creativity. A massive system of lawyers regulating creativity as copyright law has expanded in unrecognizable forms, going from a regulation of publishing to a regulation of copying”… Lawrence Lessig

As a student of creative media, this is will become terribly important for me and the people I will work with, to establish some security, this is a passion as much as a job. So what is it that I will actually need to know before signing a contract? Or hiring someone? Or publishing a project?

Essential copyright knowledge for students and people new to the industry would be…

  • Copyright is implicated from the moment creative material is made
  • It only protects the actual material and the creators, not names, phrases, styles or techniques etc
  • Australian Copyright laws apply to the material that is in Australia, regardless of whether or not the material was created in Australia.
  • Copyright allows the creator to…
    • Reproduce the material
    • Publish the material for the first time
    • Communicate the work
    • Perform the work in a public environment (literary/dramatic/musical works)
    • Adapt and Transform the work (literary/dramatic/musical works)

EMI Records and Sony BMG Records were fairly recently taken to court over accusations from Larrikin Music, claiming that the Australian Rock outfit, “Men at Work”, plagiarised the main flute riff from the classic Australian kids song “Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree”, in their hit song “Down Under”. In February 2010, the court ruled that Larrikin Musics Copyright had been violated and were entitled to a hefty amount of royalties from “Down Under”. The case is still ongoing at this point. This, I believe, is a great example of a large-scale copyright infringement that began over a single flute riff which lasted the grand total of a few seconds. And could have been avoided, had EMI and Sony BMG Records asked for authorisation by Larrikin to use the riff in the song.


For more information on the details of the case and specifics of the songs, visit the link below……

What I’ve discovered through the duration of this course, is that a lot of work in creative media is freelance/project work. Contracts in these scenarios are vital to ensuring the job or requirements are fulfilled to the needs of the client, and of course that the hired hand gets everything they’re entitled to. I never considered how a simple contract would be a necessity at student level, given that no one is getting paid to take part in university projects. However with this in mind, a contract, even just a simple one can save a project from collapsing, or it can ensure better control over an employee’s work, and obviously it provides a legal statement binding them to the terms of the project/job.


Running a Studio 101!

Running your own professional Recording Studio requires a lot more effort than just turning knobs and moving faders, it incorporates a strong business approach, a creative passion for Audio and of course a healthy and positive relationship with clients/musicians. This weeks lecture focuses on our Income, Art and all the stuff in between…

Running a Studio of my own always seemed like an awesome idea, however I never quite pictured how I would make a successful living from it. It’s quite an investment depending on how you go about creating your business. A Professional requires a lot of technology and skill, one potential way is to open one at home with a few thousand dollars of gear, naturally a studio of this budget is going to be quite rudimentary and will have limited abilities. The other way is to rent out a recording space and fill it with $10,000, $50,000 or $100,000 worth of equipment, the only real limit of equipment is the budget. One way around dropping a heap of money on a Studio, is to start with other colleagues and share the workload, costs and pay.

Also I’ve heard from an Artists point of view, it’s far more attractive to find a studio that can do the best with as little money as possible, as most new and amateur artists can’t afford a fancy studio with all the bells and whistles.


A lot of people are quite happy to leave their dreams on the poster, generally due to fear of failing. But that feeling is normal, especially to recent university graduates, the responsibility with starting any new business is immense. What else is important? MARKETING AND ADVERTISING, this is vital to having a continual flow of clients. As an owner of a Recording Studio, Marketing and Advertising would be a priority of mine. Also its important for any engineer to understand and utilise his/her equipment to it best ability.

Every successful Recording Studio needs to be treated as a business, the place has to run efficiently and the bills such as rent and any hired equipment, have to be payed no matter the circumstances. When comprises are made I would take it upon myself to consider the artists point of view, and explain to them the terms of any agreements made my expectations as well as theirs.


Author of The Art of Running s Successful Studio “Disc Makers'”, in conjunction with 8 other studio partners, created the 19 step “Mantra of a successful Recording Studio”. Some of which are just creature comforts and simple luxuries, however they can make the studio environment more attractive and they’re fairly simple to acquire. Other than these the most important factors of an efficient studio are meeting deadlines, being efficient, meeting clients needs, creating a quality product and just being a nice and friendly person to work with.

From what I’ve discovered, the major requirements of running a professional Recording Studio, are skills and technology, getting well-known, being professional in the work place, and of course having devotion and a passion for making music, if you love it enough it should be easy.

The Entrepeneur’s Playground

The focus of the previous weeks lecture was on our creative and professional identity in the industry and what we plan to achieve with it, and what most in the media plan to achieve is this status of ‘entrepreneurship’, which in its essence is a hardworking, innovative, risk taking individual that seizes business opportunities left, right and centre. A start-up business or even multiple may even be on the agenda but not necessarily. This is definitely a growing objective of those working various forms of new media. As student of creative media, what I find quite an intimidating prospect, is how challenging new and innovative media is to create.


However, I suppose if it were easy, than anyone could and would do it.

The harsh reality of trying to achieve this entrepreneur status, is that sometimes taking risks, and being innovative and passionate about your work and idea’s will not always yield a reward. Meaning, entrepreneurial success is not something everyone is able to achieve in their lives. This is where the idea of ‘Intrapreneurship’ (a new term from our lecture), seemed like a more plausible route to follow, in the way that someone could take their passion and innovation to other companies/ organisations and use it as an asset.

As it turns out both Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs are a great asset to the economy and very rewarding positions.

They create new business through goods and services…

Entrepreneurial ventures often create a lot of income…

Their desire to innovative and divert from standards and tradition can have a large impact on social change…

To the farthest extent they can improve standard of living! For example…


I think what makes the concept of entrepreneurialism so attractive, is the freedom to follow your passion and creativity, and of course make a living from it. The greater free time and extra money is a major perk that would make life really flexible, comfortable and would have a relaxed but positive effect on the flow of creative work.