New President of ICAD
So, who are you?
Since my PhD when I investigated the use of sonification for debugging running programs, a thread running through my research has been seeking a greater understanding of the aesthetics and embodied perceptual issues of sonification design. I’m currently the PI for Project RADICAL, a three-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust which has the ambitious goal of developing a fundamental understanding of the relationship between sonification design and the listener and to stimulate a revitalised agenda for sonification research and practice (https://projectradical.github.io/). We are trying to develop an understanding of the role played by embodied perception, spatial considerations, and aesthetics in our listening to, and perception of, sonification.
How did you end up working on Sonification and Auditory Displays?
I had a degree in computer science and was looking for a PhD topic that would let me combine my interests in computing and electronic music. Professor James Alty suggested looking at sonification of running programs and that became my PhD project and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is the role of Sonification/Auditory Display in your research?
Sonification is my main research interest. I collaborate with other researchers and work with PhD students to explore sonification in a variety of application areas and underpinning all this is my interest in understanding more about how we listen to and perceive sonifications.
What is the most challenging part in your work?
There are too many opportunities and it’s hard to focus on one thing at a time. 🙂 Wherever possible I try to work in interdisciplinary settings and this requires learning how to communicate across different disciplinary contexts. The rewards, of course, are that we have the potential to gain a richer understanding of sonification and the really interesting questions around how we perceive and listen to it.
Anything special ICADders should know about you?
I once did a stand-up comedy routine on sonification for Bright Club at the Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle. 🙂 You can find this on YouTube if you feel like punishing yourself.
What would you like to say to ICADders?
I went to my first ICAD in 1996 when the discipline was young and the technology was very limited (I’m looking at you, Sound Blaster 16 card — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_16). Since then I have seen the value of working across disciplinary boundaries and I would encourage all ICADers to try to do the same whenever possible.
What is your favorite sonificaton/auditory display ever?
Not a single sonification, but I still look back fondly on the Listening to the Mind Listening concert at ICAD 2004. This was a landmark moment for the conference and the community. The pieces can still be listened to at https://www.icad.org/websiteV2.0/Conferences/ICAD2004/concert.htm.
What is the study/tool/work in the field of auditory display you are most proud of?
Pride is not something I try to cultivate! 🙂 But I do have warm feelings for my original PhD studies that looked at how sonification can help with program debugging. See https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/792704.792734.
Any way to learn more about your work or reach out to you?
You can find my web page with details of my work and publications at https://paulvickers.github.io/.
If you want to get in touch, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.