Immersive & Inclusive

Research Student: Leslie Gaston-Bird
Supervisor: Dr Enzo De Sena
Supervisor: Dr Russell Mason

Start date: 2020
End date: 2023

Project Outline

Immersive audio is a creative approach to sound that is becoming increasingly popular with cinema formats such as Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D; home streaming through Over the Top Television devices (Apple TV, Roku); video games and virtual / augmented / mixed reality platforms (Oculus, HTC Vive), and even music streaming platforms with the introduction of Dolby Atmos for Tidal. In response to this burgeoning acceptance of immersive sound reproduction for home entertainment, companies and institutions of higher learning around the world that have developed immersive sound curricula in order to train content creators. However, in laboratories, studios, and the classroom there is a noticeable lack of representation. In fact, this lack of representation has been demonstrated to be more prevalent for women in immersive audio (1) than in more established industries such as music, sound for film and television, radio, and video games. People of color are also noticeably underrepresented (2).

In this project, the following research questions will be studied in order to inform and build a curriculum for teaching immersive sound design that can be adopted as a certificate or a degree program with the goal of reaching a diverse body of students:

The research will include industry-based research into diversity and inclusion, examination of the best practices for working with immersive sound, and a review of similar, media-based programs aimed at underrepresented groups. The methodology for measurement will include the design and deployment of short courses on immersive audio aimed at these groups, which will include qualitative work (observations, surveys). The strategy shall include: