HomeSeminar Series20 July 2022

20 July 2022

Speakers:

Sharon Webb, University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Title

Streams of data: methods for distant and close listening for oral histories

Abstract

Computational technologies have transformed oral history methodologies, techniques and archives. The ability of digital and computational methods to analyse large swathes of sound files is a boon to certain industries and research contexts. Yet while the application of audio analysis techniques, such as music information retrieval (MIR), offers intriguing and often experimental ways to “see” and “read” oral history audio streams, there is a significant tension in treating sounds as data within the context of voices which have historically suffered disenfranchisement and exclusion from mainstream narratives, politics and society. In what context is treating sounds as data, or voice as data, appropriate and how can we mitigate or prevent further erasure when applying computational methods? What are the opportunities of large scale computational analysis and how do we do reduce harm to marginalised voices while exploring these new methods? What do we loose when we listen from a distance? Beyond computational analysis how can we deploy low-tech solutions to encourage, for example, closer reading and listening? This paper will explore this contrast, between close and distant reading/listening, through an analysis of work with the Queer in Brighton oral history collection and the Queer the Pier exhibition on the one hand, and the use of MIR for oral history collections on the other. It asks, in a world of big data, how do we avoid drowning in a sea of data while paying attention to voices in data streams.

Bio

Sharon is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex, History Department and a Director of the Sussex Humanities Lab. Sharon is a historian of Irish associational culture and nationalism (eighteenth and nineteenth century) and a digital humanities practitioner, with a background in requirements/user analysis, digital preservation, digital archiving, text encoding, and data modelling. Sharon also has programming and coding experience and has contributed to the successful development of major national digital infrastructures.

Sharon’s current research interests include community archives and digital preservation (with a special interest in LGBTQI+, feminist and BAME archives), social network analysis (method and theory), feminism and technology, among others. She is PI for the AHRC-IRC funded project, Full Stack Feminism in Digital Humanities and Co-I for 'Women in Focus' project, led by UEA. Sharon is a co-founder member of the FACT///. network (Feminism Approaches to Computational Technology).
In 2021 Sharon became one of three Directors of the Sussex Humanities Lab.

Tara Brabazon, Flinders University, Australia

Title

The auditory academic: transforming the soundscape of scholarship

Abstract

Raymond Murray Schafer died on August 14, 2021. Born in 1933, he moved the mind furniture of multiple scholarly generations through his World Soundscape Project. My presentation probes – not the tuning of the world – but the tunings of scholarship. Deploying theories of multimodality and the diversity of born digital sonic files, I explore the innovations of sound in teaching and learning, and research. I activate education for the ear.

Bio

Tara Brabazon is the Professor of Cultural Studies at Flinders University, Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) and Member of the College of Distinguished Educators. She has worked in nine universities in four countries and has held the leadership roles of Dean, Head of School, Head of Department, Head of Programme and Institutional Research Leader in national assessment exercises.

Tara holds three Bachelor degrees, two graduate diplomas, four Master-level qualifications, and a Doctor of Philosophy.
She has won six teaching awards from universities around the world, including the Prime Minister’s National Teaching Award for the Humanities in Australia, along with other awards for disability education, first year education, postgraduate supervisor of the year, and cultural studies teaching. Tara has also been a finalist for the Australian of the Year and the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. In 2019, Tara was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to higher education.

She has won six teaching awards from universities around the world, including the Prime Minister’s National Teaching Award for the Humanities in Australia, along with other awards for disability education, first year education, postgraduate supervisor of the year, and cultural studies teaching. Tara has also been a finalist for the Australian of the Year and the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. In 2019, Tara was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to higher education.

Tara is the author of 20 books, and over 250 refereed articles. She has also written over 50 book chapters, and hundreds of articles of journalism. Her best-known books are From Revolution to Revelation: Generation X, popular memory, cultural studies, The University of Google: education in the (post) information age, and Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness. Her three most recent books are The Creative-led PhD, 12 Rules for Academic Life: A stroppy feminist’s guide to teaching, learning and Jordan Peterson, and her new audiobook, Comma: How to reclaim, restart and reboot your PhD. She is also a well-known podcaster and vlogger.

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