copyright © Olsen 2018
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir
On the 30th of October 2018, I joined RSPB Scotland’s Miranda Shepard, at Quarrymill Woodland Park in Scone. As I walked along the woodland path I wondered what wildlife I would encounter. A flock of ‘excited-child-explores!’ They ran through the woodlands singing the Great Tit’s song. ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher’ echoed through the trees. The children under the guidance of the RSPB are studying four challenges to achieve the John Muir Award.
“Discover, Explore, Conserve, Share”
The sound in our natural environment is a symphony of sounds, an encounter full of experiences, feelings, and gestures. I intend to join Miranda on many more Quarrymill adventures. To observe a child’s experience of wild sounds. I wonder what they will hear? And will I find any in-between-ness here?
“Listening to sound is where objectivity and subjectivity meet” 
In Voegelin book Listening to noise and silence, she discusses a liminal quality found in listening. She describes listening as an experience of our perception. The listener produces objectivity from the subjective listening position. Objective thought is what we take to be the objective world. For example a computer screen, the table etc. A subjective thought is what we take to be our narrative thinking or imagination. For example the thoughts you have while listening.
I consider listening to sound is an in-between experience. Sound can be activated as a disruption, or incursion, in-between the objective and subjective experience. We can describe this disruption as being in-between mind and matter.
copyright © Olsen 2018
I have searched for In-between categories found in the audible world. In Asenjo book ‘In-between: an essay on categories, He believes contradictions should not be eliminated or modified as they provide “an ‘opportunity for a richer, two sided development of factual meaning.’
I consider soundscapes create an experience that opens up the possibilities of in-between-ness. Within an immersive soundscape, a dynamic interplay of in-between categories happens, for example, cause and event, objectivity and subjectivity and feelings in-between the strange and the familiar. The In-between categories found in sonic realities are not fixed points, for example; in-between presence and absence. Our perception moves or flows in-between these two points.
 Voegelin, S. 2010, Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. P14
 Asenjo, F. G. (1988). In-between: an essay on categories, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America, Washington, D.C. P65
 Augoyard, J; Torgue, H. (2006). Sonic Experience. a Guide to Everyday Sounds.. Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
My research journey begins with the quest for the right question. So far I have discovered…
WHAT describes WHEN
WHEN develops WHY
WHY explains HOW
HOW explores WHAT
I have I decided on why.
Why is my question.
WHY IS IMPORTANT AS IT EXPLAINS HOW.
Our experience of reality is changing. New developments in Augmented Reality and immersive 3D sound will have a massive impact on our everyday lives. My new project aims to debate the perception of immersive soundscapes and why this creates an embodied experience of the in-between. Research suggests our society is digitally distracted in a technological environment and our distraction has impacted our everyday interactions. I want to create work that aspires to bridge an audience’s sense of detachment and re-connect a listener’s consciousness to our social and natural world. I believe the delivery of immersive soundscapes can allow listeners to experience a deeper level of engagement. A ‘happening of truth’ within a sound experience can focus our attention on the enchanting environment.
Jessica and Margret Allen visit their Great Uncle plaque’s (Jessica’s Great Great Great Uncle) in Abbey Road Scone. You can listen to the story here of Lance Corporal James Elvidge Young of the 1st Bn Gordon Highlanders here.
Peter Olsen and John McDuff installed the plaques for the memorial sound walk in Scone. You can now discover the stories of 72 men who died in WW1 as you walk around Scone Village and Scone Palace in Scotland.
All you need is a mobile and App that can read QR codes. A free map of the walk is available from the Wheel Inn, Sweety shop and Library in Scone.
“Telling stories can enable us to draw links between past, present and future and bring to life the human presence behind any object”
My time at the McManus working on the ‘The People’s Story’ project has highlighted to me, how storytelling can aid interpretation. The visitor, who observes a treasured object and shares their story, allows others to interpret an artefact, by connecting personal stories to social/political histories. Objects can trigger visitor’s memories. The past can be brought to life, allowing an everyday seemingly insignificant object to be as valid as an object from a significant historical event. Stories can allow a visitor to explore their relationship to place. The visitor can gain a sense of pride in their identity by interpreting of museum objects and sharing stories about Dundee.
The stories connected to museum collections can be used to encourage younger audiences who have less life experience to help them interpret objects. People’s stories can support museum staff, to share and explore ideas as well as influence creative activities. In my observation, children often mixed factual and fictional description of things, however, they too can gain a better understanding of Dundee’s History through a good story.
 D, Francis S, Gayton and the British Museum. (2014). Fieldnotes Storytelling. Available: http://www.britishmuseum.org/PDF/storytelling_resource_changed_font_size.pdf. Last accessed 3rd August 2017.
“Children were often surprised at what they saw in museums. Their experiences surpassed their expectations and often took them unawares.”
Continuing my observation of how visitors engage with the displays within the ‘Making of Modern Dundee and Dundee and the World exhibitions.’ In my last post I questioned, how different types of audiences explored the museum. Now, I would like to consider the visitor’s experience.
The adult museum visitor often experiences the exhibition by observing a curated object and reading the information provided. An atmosphere about the subject is created depending on how an object is displayed and the content of the information given. However, primary school children have to be encouraged to read the information. In my observation, children would rather listen to a story than read the facts. The spoken word becomes essential in establishing a unique learning experience for children. An oral history can add another element in creating an atmosphere, to allow a child’s feelings to connect to an artefact.
How younger audiences feel about objects, is also reflected in their previous knowledge. They benefited from researching a subject before a museum visit and used a mix of knowledge and feelings in the learning process. The ‘Creative Learning Team’ at the ‘McManus’ provides group workshops for both adults and children. These well-planned workshops usually involve a tour and a creative activity. This experience gives visitors an opportunity and time to discuss their observations, to ask questions and help visitors to interpret the museum’s artefacts.
 Hooper-Greenhill, E.. (Oct 2004). Learning from Culture: The Importance of the Museums and Galleries Education Program (Phase I) in England. Curator . 47 (4), p428-449.
“Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.”
The McManus museum is more than its collection; it is a stage for a visitor’s experience. Over the past six months, I have observed different groups of visitors engaging with the displays within the Making of Modern Dundee and Dundee and the World exhibitions. Questioning, how different types of audiences engage with the museum, the gallery space and interpretation of its artefacts? In my observation, younger audiences interacted with the museum slightly differently to adults. However, the public encounter, regardless of age can be separated into three parts.
I watched adult visitors explore the exhibitions, happy to follow a route influenced by design. They moved in a quiet and orderly fashion, yet, the more visitors in a space, the more open they were to make conversation. As they explored the collections, they could receive an impression of what an object symbolises. The artefact can reveal a relationship to people and the culture it represents.
Children are far more curious, I watched them enjoying the freedom to explore, question and select what objects to look at. They liked to choose what order to look at things, often moving from one display to another and then back again. They viewed objects from different perspectives by looking up or crouching down for a closer look. The young visitor also enjoys interacting with the space in-between the exhibits and can be very noisy.
For my next blog post, I will discuss the visitors experience and interpretation of artefacts.
 Unknown Author. (1998). FAQ. Available: https://www.museumsassociation.org/about/frequently-asked-questions. Last accessed 16th July 2017.