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.