Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fwd: SIG Seminar 30 May, 3-5pm, room 944



Music Education Special Interest Group

Research Seminars Announcement

Dyslexia, Sensory Ethnography, and Chopi Timbila Xylophone Music in Mozambique: a presentation of the film 'Estevão: a sensory ethnomusicology of learning'

Robbie Campbell

3rd Year PhD student, Department of Music, SOAS, University of London


Tuesday 30 May 2017

15.00 – 17.00

Room: 944

 Further details from Lucy Green,

All are welcome!


Synopsis of the film 'Estevão: a sensory ethnomusicology of learning' (71 mins)


This audio-visual presentation forms part of on-going PhD research investigating the relationships between interventions for specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and music - rationalised here as a sensory-rich cultural system of learning. Studies show that, due to overlaps in shared neural and cognitive processing, music may improve the ability to perform other tasks, such as reading.


Recorded during fieldwork in rural Mozambique with master chopi timbila xylophone maker and player Estevão, this study documents indigenous processes of musical acquisition and instrument manufacturing, as well as the interactions between various young members of his large extended family.


The film's construction is heavily influenced by Sensory Ethnographic Filmmaking and is realised through a series of long 'scene experiences' designed to avoid conventional narrative structure. Its ambition is also to slow subjective time in order to engage with, and reflect upon, the richly nuanced sensory interactions between people, objects, cultural practices, and the environment. This experimental presentation hopes to encourage discussion across disciplines from those who may recognise interactions and processes surrounding SEN interventions, speech and language acquisition, and other developmental and educational trajectories.


Each scene therefore has an objective to tell its own story, yet forms part of a bigger holistic experience that describes the learning environment as a complete eco-system. Sensory-based ethnographic methods also reflect dyslexia support and Special Educational Needs practices, which are typically orientated towards the multi-modal presentation of information and sensory preferences of the individual learner.






Robbie Campbell is a 3rd year PhD Music scholar at SOAS, University of London. He previously worked for many years as a location sound recordist in the television industry, and also informally as a self-taught musician, music engineer, producer, and photographer. Following a late diagnosis of dyslexia in his early 30s, Robbie decided to return to education to pursue a change of career.


Motivated by the challenges of engaging with postgraduate study as a dyslexic learner after a considerable time away from education (and with no undergraduate degree), Robbie quickly developed a set of bespoke learning strategies to manage the workload. Informed by research on dyslexia, these strategies soon became intertwined with theory and practice surrounding African music participation as well as his own reflective experiences of informal music learning.


In 2015 Robbie joined the dyslexia and arts charity Creative Mentors, working for 15 months with dyslexic and SEN schoolchildren, using music as a vehicle to explore and develop cross-curriculum learning strategies. His current research not only explores the relationships between indigenous music acquisition and interventions for learning difficulties, but also larger issues such as the accessibility of research data, and use of audio-visual sensory research methods.