Control, collaboration and audience engagement in interactive sound installations

Lucy Ann Harrison

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This portfolio of sound installations represents a period of development and investigation through three interactive works staged between 2013 and 2016. It looks at how to engage audiences with electronic soundscapes through interactive staging and the challenge of artistic control versus the benefits of collaboration. Collaboration is considered both from the perspective of working with other artists and designers as well as placing the audience in a collaborative role within the installations. This is balanced with the question of how the composer can retain control and ownership of the creative output when the level of interaction and collaboration is increased.

The sound within this portfolio has been influenced the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Delia Derbyshire and Trevor Wishart in its form and approach. These sound worlds have been combined with staging and audience engagement techniques currently being used in event art and immersive theatre by companies such as Daily tous les jours and Marshmallow Laser Feast.

Installation 1, The Wind Singer, is an interactive work for schools and educational events based on the book of the same name by William Nicholson. The installation investigates how to introduce school groups to new sound worlds through exploration and play.
Installation 2, That I will do my best…, is a work commissioned by national youth organisation Girlguiding. It demonstrates techniques for crowdsourcing material from the potential audience and building interaction that can be integrated into an exhibition style event.
Installation 3, Let’s build a fort!, is the culmination of all the techniques developed within this portfolio. It includes elements of play, crowdsourced material and collaboration with other designers to create a fully interactive audience experience.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Lock, Brian, Supervisor
Award date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • interactive sound
  • electronic music
  • interactive music
  • sound installation
  • installation art
  • Collaborative music
  • Collaborative art
  • audience engagement
  • Audience Participation
  • Control in music
  • control in art

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