Gift will be appearing as part of an online discussion hosted by The Walrus this Thursday evening:

E-flyer text:

The Walrus Talks at Home: Inclusion (Part 2)


Creating access and opportunity through community, design, and the arts
Four speakers on how the arts, design, and community-building in everyday society can foster opportunities and promote accessibility

Featuring five-minute talks and Q&A with:
-Sarah Jama, community organizer
-Darby Lee Young, principal accessibility strategist, Level Playing Field
-Gift Tshuma, musical artist
-Dorothy Ellen Palmer, writer


The Q&A will be moderated by Aimee Louw , TD fellow on disability and inclusion, The Walrus.

Montreal-based disability activists Gift Tshuma and Aimee Louw are establishing a new platform to discuss various angles around access. #CripTalkCorner is presented by Accessibilize Montreal in collaboration with Cinema Politica Concordia.

The video of their first online event is available here:

Posted by Accessibilize Montreal on Monday, May 4, 2020
An orange e-flyer with a black triangle showing a symbol for ASL interpretation.  Text reads: Join Gift Tshuma and Aimee Louw on various discussions around access, because we need each other now more than ever!  

Date: May 4th 2020
Time: 7:15 PM to 8:15 PM ET

For more details check out:
https://www.facebook.com/access4mtl/
#CripTalkCorner eFlyer

If you haven’t encountered Aimee’s work before, we highly recommend her 2019 article: Where is the Disability Beat in Canada? You can find out more on her website https://aimeelouw.com/.

We were interested to hear Propeller Dance’s Liz Winkelaar discussing some related issues in this article and video clip.

Gift has also co-founded a new podcast called the Unashamed Truth with Terry Chase and Dwight Chase. In this first episode, they talk informally about Black identity in the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, various manifestations of systemic oppression, and joyful music:

https://www.facebook.com/100195655037661/videos/375516353380613

We have been taking some time out to rethink the project while our surroundings change rapidly. While this is a difficult time for us all, we are clearly entering a new age of remote collaboration – a topic very close to our hearts. Please watch this space for further updates.

For the time being, you can join Gift Tshuma for a live discussion of the film When We Walk alongside Aimee Louw and the director of the film Jason DaSilva. This event was originally scheduled as a Cinema Politica event last month, and is now being hosted online.

Watch the film here until the 6th of April: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/whenwewalk/

And find details for the livestream Q&A on the evening of the 6th April here: https://www.facebook.com/events/679143069500659/

When he’s not hanging out with us jamming with light sensors and debating accessibility of music technology, Gift organises a Montreal-based group called the United Tribulation Choir. The group has been going since 2007, and brings together gospel with a broad range of styles.

To celebrate Black History Month this year, UTC will be performing alongside Rivers Edge Community Choir on the 22nd February, 8pm at 5567 Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Antoine.

You can check out some rehearsal footage here:

Robyn, Gift, John, and Jacqui jamming in the studio with various acoustic and electronic instruments.

Here are some images taken at our recent workshops in the UK and Canada in October/November 2019, starting with our launch with Drake Music at Graeae Theatre. We are grateful to acknowledge support from the Canada Council for the Arts for travel to the UK, in addition to our #NewConversations funding..

Watch this space for videos and descriptions coming soon!

With special thanks to Drake Music DMLab and Hampstead Music and Voice Studios in London, and MilieuxMake/Education Makers in Montreal.

This image shows a poster for the event: the text is in the body of post.

What? Music + Access workshop
When? Tuesday the 26th of November from 5:30 – 8:30pm (doors open at 5:00).

Where? Participatory Media Cluster (1515 Ste.-Catherine West, EV 11.655)
What you will do? Create a prototype of an accessible musical instrument to be played by two people.
Who will facilitate? Charles Matthews (maker in residence at #MilieuxMake), Gift Tshuma (guest musician), Houda Jawhar and other Education Makers.

If you are curious about how engaging with accessibility can change how we think about musical instruments, this workshop is for you. 

If you wonder what a musical instrument played by two people in equal partnership could look like, we can imagine it.

Seats are limited. Please send an email to makercultures@gmail.com with your name, and mention anything we could do to make this workshop accessible to you. The venue is wheelchair accessible (including gender neutral accessible washroom).

You want to know more? Check these related links: http://www.educationmakers.ca/project/music-access/ 


Can you imagine a musical instrument designed to be played by two people at the same time? How could it remove any barriers to making music that you experience? What kind of interesting restrictions could it create?

Leave your suggestions for a collaborative instrument in the comments below, or send us a tweet at @blurtheBoundary with the hashtag #HackAndBlur. We would love to see and hear anything from one sentence descriptions to drawings or a videos explaining what you would like to see us make!

Your ideas will help us to shape our first workshop with Education Makers in Montreal next week..and we’d love to find ways to collaborate in the future!

Suggestions

So far, the suggestions we have received include:

A belt worn by two people, covered in bells that jingle as they move— Robyn Steward, London

A musical game of snakes and ladders: something that injects elements of chance into playing the music — Adrian Lee, London

We are setting out to work with a limited set resources on the day, with a focus on digital instruments that sit in the physical world. It will be interesting to see what we can do to represent these ideas, and how they change as we make them concrete.

Background

In the digital age, the definition of a typical instrument has expanded for many people to incorporate different kinds of movements and sensory feedback. As musicians engaging with accessibility, we are particularly interested in the creative use of these tools to disrupt conventions, while breaking down barriers to participation.  We believe that engaging with access can radically change the aesthetics and message of art, music, and the instruments themselves. 

So, what would a collaborative instrument look, sound, and feel like to you? How could the challenges of coordinating with another player start conversations about equality and accessibility both for players and an audience?

This idea has developed from our recent trip to London as part of the #NewConversations programme. More about this soon, but for now, here are some brief clips of our R&D activities based at Hampstead Music and Voice Studios:

We are excited to announce that we will be launching as part of Drake Music’s next DMLab event on the 29th October.

If you a Disabled artist involved in developing technology, movement, music, or theatre, we’d particularly like to meet you! This event is free.

Please visit this link for event info and booking:

Audience clapping at a DMLab event
DMLab August 2019, Courtesy of Drake Music

David Bobier and Charles Matthews recently attended Drake Music’s DMLab meeting at Music Hackspace in London UK, where they presented technology that translates sound to light and vibrations, as part of Joanne Cox’s Defiant Journey project.

You can see photos of the event here: https://www.drakemusic.org/blog/becky-morris-knight/dmlab-london-august-dani-clode-jo-anne-cox/#ad-image-0

David and Charles setting up with Joanne Cox. Photo by Becky Morris-Knight/Drake Music

We were pleasantly surprised to find that our messy table of electronics and vibrotactile belts made it into this week’s Scene and Heard cartoon by David Ziggy Greene in Private Eye (note from Charles: David was actually probably fairly tidy)!

Scene and Heard cartoon from Private Eye, August 2019

DMLab is an essential meeting of musicians and makers, and takes place on a monthly basis in London and Manchester in the UK. Find out more here. We will be launching our project at the next event on the 29th October..watch this space for more information!

Charles Matthews has posted a discussion of music technology, accessibility, and the idea of “Disabled artist lead” to the Bela.io blog. In the post, he shares some of the approaches he has explored while working with our key UK collaborators Drake Music, and mentions the technology we are developing to use in our workshops.

Read it here: https://blog.bela.io/2019/08/20/towards-disabled-artist-led-music-technology-charles-matthews/

Or listen to an audio narrated version here:

Accessibility