Introduction To 'HomeSounds'
HomeSounds invites Looked After and vulnerable young people to get Field Recording! As well as field recording trips, workshops, sound-walks, microphone building, programming, learning about the science of sound, the technology of recording, the world of wildlife sounds and much more the project specifically asks young people to build Open Outdoor Microphone Systems (OOMS). These OOMS are then placed strategically and appropriately at a location they feel is important, and the sounds they capture streamed live to the LocusSonus SoundMap.
The project has the following aims;
1. To provide the opportunity for Looked After and vulnerable young people to explore Field Recording and in the process understand and appreciate the sounds of their environment. The influence of sound on well-being is well known and through this project both young people and the communities that support them can explore the impact of their local sound world. This world can range from the infinitely rich pallette of wildlife and natural sound to the predominantly man-made and industrial sound of towns and cities.
2. Through the SoundMap, the project enables a connection between people that may never meet but that share so much. It offers the opportunity for young people to maintain an open relationship, through sound, with a specific location before, during and after their time there. It also offers a richer emotional connection to a place and area, which can help provide a sense of stability and security. In addition, the SoundMap offers the opportunity to join an international group of Open Microphones. You can listen to live sounds of a Costa Rican forest, whilst somebody in Japan can listen to the sounds of wherever you place your OOMS!
3. Through the connections made and HomesSounds workshops and sessions engaged in the project enables Recast to build strong links with care providers and communities. These connections help us to develop and deliver the Recast Independent Music Advocacy programme, an innovative, research-led programme of Music-Led Advocacy for Looked After Children being developed by Recast.
Linking Sound, Music and Advocacy;
The sounds of the world around us are some of our first musical experiences and they are there whether we decide to 'hear' them or not. The sounds, and music, of our environments are vitally important as they provide a backdrop to our lives that can influence us in profound and subtle ways. Developing our ability to both hear and listen to these sounds can open up whole new worlds in terms of sound, creativity, emotion and for us as human beings.
'HomeSounds' draws the following parallels between these ideas and Advocacy for young people;
The voices of young people are there whether they speak, and others listen, or not. It is the responsibility of those that care for them to develop their ability to listen and hear not only the language of young people, or the signs of their behaviour, but also their deeper and more complex inner worlds. Developing our ability to listen to the world around us helps to develop our ability to listen both to ourselves and each other. This deeper listening has great potential for young people in developing interpersonal relationships. By bridging gaps between experience, emotion and understanding, it offers the chance to join a community of sound and through this connect more closely with human communities.
Young people, and Looked After and vulnerable children in particular, have a right to be heard, not only in terms of their legal rights under UK and European Law, but as human beings in a vulnerable situation, needing care and consideration. Currently in the UK, for Looked After Children this right is enshrined and enacted in the legal requirement for formal advocacy processes. Music and sound have long been routes by which rights have been expressed and sought and in many ways music can be our most powerful advocate.
The 'HomeSounds' project introduces the notion of Musical Advocacy and is supported by research and development conducted as part of Recast Independent Music Advocacy.
Building an OOMS
Based around the Raspberry Pi Computer, Open Outdoor Microphone Systems can take a wide variety of shapes, sizes and forms. Young people can customise their OOMS, as well as the entire build project.
1. How long will building an OOMS take?
it could take a day, a week, a month or longer. It might happen in a single session or require a series of sessions. The most important thing we work towards is that young people are fully engaged at a pace that works best for them.
2. How many young people can take part and what do they do?
The build could be a collaborative effort between an entire care home, a small group of young people or one individual. The project can be tailored specifically for the young people at any given care home, whatever their particular needs or circumstances. Activities can include workshops, field trips, sound walks, listening sessions and many more. We take a flexible approach to how we run the project, with the needs and interests of the young people at the centre of our plans.
3. What skills does the project develop?
Field Recording - This involves investigating the sound of the outdoors including Biophony (the sound of wildlife), Geophony (the sound of the earth) and Anthrophony (the sound of people). Activities might include exploring the local area, identifying wildlife sounds, camping trips, recording and listening back to sounds, building a sound library, using and building recording equipment (microphones, computer software, tripods, specialist field recording materials) and much more. The placement of an OOMS is a crucial element of the project. Experiments need to be conducted to find the most suitable location. There may be a series of locations that work well. Placing an OOMS is an art in itself!
Programming/Coding - The project uses the Raspberry Pi, a well known introductory computer that encourages experimentation. The project can be tailored to suit any age and ability with no experience of programming necessary, although this can be included should a young person want to explore it.
Technical skills - Building, customising and getting creative with the OOMS; sewing wind protection muffs; building microphones (soldering, wiring up, basic electronics), placing the microphone, setting up live-stream audio and many more.
Creative/Artistic Skills - deciding on where to place an OOMS is a crucial element of the project requiring both technical and creative thinking. Some questions that can be explored include - What sounds is the mic picking up? Are they low, high, loud or soft? Are they harsh, beautiful, complex, simple? What kind of 'sound picture' do they create? What sounds do you want to pick up? What sounds best represent your surroundings? What is the effect of placing the mic in a different position? What are the differences between natural sounds and man-made sounds? All of these questions, and many more, can be explored through this project.
In order to survive outside for any length of time each OOMS will need to be waterproof, windproof and generally outside proof! Creativity is encouraged in the design and build of the weatherproof OOMS case!
4. Who can take part?
The project welcomes all Looked After and vulnerable young people whatever their circumstances. The ideas, enthusiasm and creativity of everyone involved are an integral part of this project.
Without these we have no project at all.
The work of the HomeSounds project demands a considered and tailored approach to safeguarding that matches the needs and requirements of care homes, care providers, organisations and individuals. The HomeSounds project works closely with everyone involved to ensure child protection is at the forefront of HomeSounds work.
Key factors for consideration include;
1. Safeguarding Policies and Procedures for workshops and other project activities
In order to ensure the safe running of the HomeSounds project Recast will work to develop tailored Safeguarding and Risk Assessment procedures. This approach will integrate with existing policies and procedures of both Recast and participant organisations to address the specific requirements of any proposed HomeSounds activities.
2. The location and management of any permanent
The placement of an OOMS can be the most exciting element of a HomeSounds project. It can also be the most sensitive in relation to issues surrounding Safeguarding. Recast will work closely with participant organisations to ensure that the OOMS is placed somewhere safe, somewhere inspiring and somewhere that will reman so whenever the microphone is streaming.
It is not a requirement of the project that an OOMS must remain online at all times. In fact in many respects it is better that it does not. The ongoing management of the OOMS is something that will be discussed in depth as the project develops.
3. Project Stafffing
All staff Recast employ to deliver HomeSounds workshops are experienced and qualified music education professionals. They have completed enhanced DBS disclosures and have taken part in regular Safeguarding update training with Norfolk Safeguarding Children's Board. It is also intended that they will undertake the specific training delivered through the Recast Independent Music Advocacy program.
If you would like more information in relation to Safeguarding and the HomeSounds project please don't hesitate to contact Recast directly to discuss this with us.
What Is Music Advocacy?
Recast Independent Music Advocacy (RIMA) is an innovative programme that endeavours to represent the views of Looked After and Vulnerable Children, particularly those for whom traditional routes of expression, such as language and behaviour, are not enough. RIMA builds bridges between emotion and interpretation, between adult and child, between the past, present and future and between young person and carer. It does this by;
RIMA explores how music can be employed to enhance and enable the voices of Looked After and Vulnerable Children through Advocacy. In addition to academic study this research consults with young people, care providers and care support networks to understand the subject in greater depth and develop the most effective ways of using music to empower young people through advocacy.
Training Independent Music Advocates
A Music Adovcate's job is to act as the instrument that both allows the voice of the young person to be heard and translates that musical voice for others. In a practical sense this involves developing long-lasting relationships with young people, centred around music, that can exist beyond a particular placement. Music Advocates receive training in Advocacy for Looked After and Vulnerable Children from organisations already working in this field. They also receive bespoke training in Musical Advocacy developed by Recast Music Education,
Offering a programme of Music Advocacy
Building on our research and training, RIMA will offer dedicated sessions of Musical Advocacy. Working either in groups or on a one-to-one basis, these sessions will offer Looked After Children the opportunity to make music and get creative alongside exploring issues and subjects that are important to them and relevant in terms of advocacy. The sessions will enable sensitive and complex subjects to be explored to a depth that language alone cannot reach. Through these sessions, Music Advocates can help represent views, opinions and feelings that may not have been obvious, clear or expressed before as well as support and enhance those already expressed.
Get Involved - Find Out More - Support
If you would like to discover more about the HomeSounds project, arrange for a workshop, or get involved in any other way please contact Recast Music Education.
Facebook: Recast Music (@recastmusiceducation)
Recast will soon be launching a crowdfunding campaign for the HomeSounds project. This campaign will be raising funds primarily for staffing costs and resources. The OOMS systems we use are sourced from the LocusSonus project and each system can cost between £100 - £400, depending on the installation.
If you feel you would like to support the HomeSounds project directly we can accept donations through the paypal link below.
If you have any Field Recording related equipment that you don't use, is old or if you would like to make some space(!) it would be put to great use as part of our project!
We are primarily looking for donations but we can also offer some payment for specific bits of gear (though this will be limited as we are a small organisation). It doesn't matter if the equipment is old, only that it is fully working (or as close as possible to this). We will also cover any postage costs.
If you have an equipment you would like to donate please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thankyou for your help. Keep your ears on the Soundmap for the sound of your support!