It's often the case that if you want to do something that involves music and technology you have to head out of the 'country' towards the 'city'. If you live in Wales this often means a trip to the south. As a resident of North Ceredigion I've often felt as though there is an unfortunate lack of support in the area for anyone interested in Electronic and Electro-Acoustic music. As you can imagine time, cost and lack of public transport mean that it's difficult for many people to engage in activities that are hosted miles away.
With this in mind I'd spoken to a friend at Queen Mary University, who'd developed a an ultra-low latency system called Bela to run a day's workshop in Aberystwyth. "Bela is a maker platform for creating beautiful interactions. Designed for artists, musicians, researchers and makers, Bela brings the power of ultra-low latency interactive audio to your projects." I'd been involved in some related projects at STEIM in Amsterdam, London and FACT in Liverpool with him and seen some amazing things being developed, so I was pleased when he said that he could support the workshop. Luckily I'd also spoken to Deborah at Ty Cerdd, and together we'd met Aberystwyth Arts Centre, who kindly offered us a space for the day.
The workshop was a real success, with people saying that they really enjoyed the experience. One thing that I didn't expect to happen was that people wanted to come to the 'country' from the 'city', to have a time to think, reflect and be creative...and hang out by the sea. I suppose when you live near the sea, surrounded by mountains, forests and in the shadow of a Celtic hillfort you forget how relaxing and yet energising the place can be. This time we'd capped numbers, but I think that next time we'll do something a little bigger - maybe even have a performance or two.
I was surprised that people didn't mind travelling and felt that "getting away from it all" was part of the experience. One person even said they, "really missed the green", of the countryside.
We've already started to plan some more events and have been offered support by the Penparcau Community Forum, who are growing the Arts in the area. In early April we've got people coming together from Swansea, Cardiff, Penparcau, Aberystwyth, Wrexham & Nottingham to plan and think about interesting and innovative ways to work in the area. There's also support for a monthly Maker Meeting at the Hub (Penparcau, Aberystwyth). So watch this space! For more insights into how Bela can be used check out their blog https://blog.bela.io Many thanks to all that were involved in helping us make this happen, and once again to Deborah at Ty Cerdd. I'd like to acknowledge the following projects: Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption - EP/L019981/1 The CHERISH-DE Centre - Challenging Human Environments and Research Impact for a Sustainable and Healthy Digital Economy - EP/M022722/1 Impact Acceleration Account - University of Nottingham 2017 - EP/R511730/1