Naila Kuhlmann, Rebecca Barnstaple, Louise Campbell
- Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
- Found objects or art supplies
- Acoustic instruments
- 13 to 18 years of age
Main activity : 30 min - 1 hour
- Community associations
- Neuroscience and health sciences, science communication
- Memory conditions (e.g. Dementia care, Alzheimer
- Physical disabilities (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Rett
- Parkinson’s disease
Piece of Mind — “Give us a hand” Participatory Art-Sci Video
Piece of Mind uses the performing arts to synthesize and translate knowledge about Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia. Our participatory research-creation project brings together artists (circus performers, dancers, musicians, visual artists), researchers, individuals living with PD or dementia, and caregivers to co-create artistic works based on scientific research and lived experience. The overall goals are:
1) to facilitate knowledge creation and exchange between the seemingly disparate communities participating in the creative process ; and
2) to create performances that can engage a wide audience on both an emotional and intellectual level, and spark meaningful conversations around PD and dementia.
We use an emergent and iterative process to identify the key themes and messages to communicate in our performances, and to ensure that multiple perspectives are incorporated along the way. Our research process has included numerous virtual workshops, facilitated discussions, and movement/music sessions to build relationships and explore both scientific and lived experience knowledge through creativity and embodiment. Rather than present a summary of the various activities we’ve undertaken, we’d like to share two examples* that could easily be applied in different contexts.
*You can find our other example here: https://www.newmusicnetwork.ca/projects/piece-of-mind-connecting-scientific-research-and-lived-experience-through-music/
ACTIVITY: creating a participatory soundtrack to an art-science video.
GOAL: the purpose of this activity is to facilitate conversation and understanding of PD research by having participants interact directly with an “art-science” video and one another. Specifically, participants created a soundtrack together through collective vocal improvisation for a short video illustrating the importance of community support and movement for people with Parkinson’s disease.
WHERE: via Zoom (or a similar virtual platform) or in person
PARTICIPANTS: in our project, the participants were researchers, performing artists and people living with Parkinson’s disease. The process can easily be adapted to other target audiences.
GROUP SIZE: the more the merrier — but also the more chaotic your resulting soundtrack! We suggest a maximum of 10 participants.
Step 1 – create a short video on your topic of interest, or use our linked video with the sound on mute.
In our case, two researchers studying Parkinson’s disease (Rebecca Barnstaple, Joe DeSouza) and a circus performer (Jérémie Robert) collaborated to create this silent video sketch based on the researcher’s findings about the therapeutic potential of community support, movement and music. While the ‘finger acrobat’ was very quick and easy to film (and conveys a surprising amount of emotion!), you could also film a dance, movement improvisation, dramatic scenario, or whatever else you wish!
Step 2 – Co-create a soundtrack (30 min – 1 hr)
Present the video to the participants. You can choose whether to share the scientific context behind the video right away, or let this come out in discussion afterwards.
Invite participants to unmute themselves (if done virtually) and to make the sounds they feel should accompany the finger tightrope walker. This can be done using voice, snapping, clapping, using found objects, etc.
To avoid a cacophony (unless that’s what you’re going for!), encourage participants to listen and respond to one another, or limit the number of people making sounds at any one time.
We suggest going through the video several times, trying out different ideas each time. For instance, in our video, we tried making sound effects that were the opposite of our first reaction to the finger acrobat, which was quite an interesting experience!
If you plan to record and edit the results into a soundtrack, consider having only one or two people participate at once. This will make it easier to put everything together afterwards.
Step 3 – editing (optional)
If you would like to compile a soundtrack for your video from the audio recordings of your participatory session, upload everything into your editing software of choice. You can play around with how to combine the different soundtracks for the final piece — you could even do this part as a group.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ZOOM CLIP:
In this clip from our Zoom session, musician Louise Campbell guides us through an exercise in which we provide sound effects for the “finger acrobat”. We show two versions, one in which we responded with the sounds we attribute to the emotions expressed in the video, and the second one in which we played with the perception of the video by changing the sounds we provided for the finger acrobat.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ART-SCI VIDEO:
Hand: Jeremie Robert
Researchers: Rebecca Barnstaple & Joe DeSouza
Sound: Members of the Piece of Mind Collective
Video Edit: Rebecca Barnstaple
Sound Edit: Louise Campbell
Accompanying text by Rebecca:
Music and dance are increasingly popular in programs for people living with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, providing support for movement, social connections, and a place to express and connect with others. Links between sound and music are ancient, and dance can be thought of as “sound-made-visible”. Rhythm and melody interact with the auditory cortex and motor planning areas of the brain, and music can inform and trigger how and when we move — leading to fluidity, synchrony, and greater range of motion. This piece expresses how the environment of a dance class, replete with music, imagery, and social connections, can lead to the experience of moving as a “dancer”, capable of strong and graceful movements that transcend the ordinary.
* Please contact Naila at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more about this project! *Read More +