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Emma Smith & guests - Euphonia


Ahead of her forthcoming exhibition Euphonia at Bluecoat, British artist Emma Smith discusses the research process behind her upcoming new sound installation. Working with a team of world experts on psychology, music and the brain, Smith is creating a new form of musical scoring to share the sound of human relationships. 

Emma Smith is a British artist currently based as a studio resident at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, and works internationally. She has a performance based social practice, creating public platforms for experimentation and research through site-specific actions, events and installations.

Emma will be joined by the academic collaborators involved in Euphonia, including:

Ian Cross, who teaches in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he is Professor and Director of the Centre for Music and Science.  His early research helped set the agenda for the study of music cognition;  he has since published widely in the field of music and science, from the psychoacoustics of violins to the evolutionary roots of musicality. His current research follows two tracks in focusing on exploring relationships between speech and music as interactive media, and on the effects of engagement in group musical activities on children's capacity for empathy. He is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is also a guitarist.

Lauren Stewart, Professor in Psychology at Goldsmiths, Univ of London, where she leads a research group and MSc programme in Music, Mind and Brain. Lauren’s research concerns the psychological and neuroscientific basis of musical behaviour and she has published 70+ peer reviewed articles on topics including learning and plasticity, congenital amusia, melodic expectations, and tone-colour synaesthesia. Her funding includes awards from the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy and she is associate editor of the international journal, Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain. She is currently involved in several projects to explore the therapeutic potential of music - in individuals with stroke, with childhood hemiplegia, as well as neurodevelopmentally at-risk infants. She was recently appointed co-director of major new research centre, Music in the Brain centre based at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Robin Dunbar, who grew up in East Africa, which is where he first became interested in animal behaviour and human evolution. He is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford, where his research interests have included studies of the behaviour of monkeys and antelope in Africa, as well as studies of humans in the laboratory and in the ‘wild’. He is best known for Dunbar’s Number (the limit on the number of friends you can have) and the suggestion that language evolved as a social tool to allow us to gossip as a way of bonding communities. He lectures frequently at science and book festivals, and has appeared on TV and radio all over the world. His popular science books include The World of Nature, Cousins, The Trouble With Science, Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, The Human Story, How Many Friends Does One Person Need?, The Science of Love and Betrayal, and Human Evolution, and the co-authored books Thinking Big and Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide.

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