Big Ears – sonic art for public ears: Reflections on collaborative training

Franziska Schroeder, Koichi Samuels, Tullis Rennie


This text critically reflects on the higher education public engagement training program, entitled ‘Big Ears – sonic art for public ears’. The authors detail the objectives and aims as well as the benefits of this initiative for the enhancement of the student learning experience. We consider Schmidt’s (Schmidt, 2012) notion of mis-listening and Christopher Small’s concept of ‘musicking’ (Small, 1998), and develop a critical argument on how public engagement has changed researchers’ views and attitudes about their own research. The text explores how the creative interaction with a young audience has had great impact on the students’ learning experience as well as on their employability/transferable skills, because Big Ears stresses the importance of pulling practice as research away from the academic argument of why artists should be supported inside an institution, and into the realm of the real – what to do when making art, how to make it relevant and applicable to audiences.


Education; sonic arts; public engagement; doctoral training

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