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Amandine Pras (University of York) & Kirk McNally (University of Victoria, British Columbia): Transforming the Traditions of Audio Education

Wednesday 17 November 2021, 4.00PM to 5:30pm

AUDIO+ is a research forum that engages students, researchers, and industry professionals in a critical dialogue on music production cultures, innovative audio technologies, and the pressing need for increased equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in our field. This forum aims to provide scholars with a framework that applies a cognitive apprenticeship approach and EDI best practices to democratize the transfer of scientific knowledge in audio education, and to transform the heteropatriarchal system of “audio meritocracy”. Drawing upon a successful pilot workshop carried out online in November 2020, the latest edition hosted at the University of Victoria, BC on November 10-13, 2021 featured nineteen presenters who represent diverse genders, races, cultural backgrounds, and job occupations in audio engineering and music production.

We will introduce our talk with a review of the literature on the traditions of audio education to support our vision for alternative pedagogies combined with EDI considerations. Then, we will highlight the presenters’ profiles and the program of the latest AUDIO+ edition. To show evidence of the teaching effectiveness of our approach, we will detail the organization of a few sessions and we will report on feedback from student attendees for these sessions. To conclude, we will touch on the next developments of our collaboration and research community, including the establishment of a novel open-access academic journal for scholars in audio engineering, popular music studies, sound studies, critical organology, and music-focused technology studies.

This research is funded by a Connection grant of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The organization of the latest AUDIO+ edition was made possible thanks to the commitment of nine local and international partners, namely AFRINUM (France, Mali) funded by the French National Research Agency; the Aventa Ensemble (BC); CIRMMT (QC); the Garden City Electronic Music Society (BC); GerrAudio Distribution (ON); Klang:technologies (Germany); the University of Lethbridge AES Student Chapter (AB); the University of Victoria CMCU (BC), and the University of Victoria School of Music (BC).

Published work related to this research


Before joining the University of York in September 2021, Amandine Pras was a Lecturer of Digital Audio Arts in the Music Department at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada for four years. There, she designed the West African Audio Network funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Since graduating from the Advanced music production program at the Paris Conservatoire, Amandine has worked as a freelance music producer and audio engineer on projects ranging from free and alternative jazz, classical and popular music, through to electroacoustic and experimental music, with artists as diverse as the ARC Ensemble, Jim Black, Luciane Cardassi, Nels Cline, Quatuor Bozzini, Subhajyoti Guha, Andy Milne, William Parker, and Satoshi Takeishi. Her PhD thesis that she conducted at McGill University and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) focused on the varied practices of creating musical recordings in the digital era. Also, the last of her two postdoctoral residencies at the New School for Social Research in New York City was an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural case study in West Bengal (India) with renown improvisers from the New York alternative jazz scene and from the Kolkata North-Indian classical music scene. In disseminating the research findings, she directed a 50-min video documentary A Home Away From Home that she presented, among others, at the 2018 World Film Festival in Montreal.

Kirk McNally is an associate professor of Music Technology for the School of Music at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and a sound engineer specializing in popular and classical music recording, as well as new music performances using electronics. Kirk has worked with national and international recording artists in studios in Toronto and Vancouver, including REM, Bryan Adams and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. With funding from a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, Kirk’s research explores the diverse ways recording engineers and producers communicate with musicians, both verbally and through their use of technology to manipulate sound and to better understand how they create the music we know and love in our everyday lives.

Join the seminar in-person, or online via zoom (Meeting ID: 998 9220 5308; Passcode: 390939).

Location: Music Department, Room D003, Sally Baldwin Buildings, Wentworth Way