Let's Walk Up and Play! Design and Evaluation of Collaborative Interactive Musical Experiences for Public Settings
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This thesis focuses on the design and evaluation of interactive music systems that enable non-experts to experience collaborative music-making in public set- tings, such as museums, galleries and festivals. Although there has been previous research into music systems for non-experts, there is very limited research on how participants engage with collaborative music environments in public set- tings. Informed by a detailed assessment of related research, an interactive, multi-person music system is developed, which serves as a vehicle to conduct practice-based research in real-world settings. A central focus of the design is supporting each player's individual sense of control, in order to examine how this relates to their overall playing experience. Drawing on approaches from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and interac- tive art research, a series of user studies is conducted in public settings such as art exhibitions and festivals. Taking into account that the user experience and social dynamics around such new forms of interaction are considerably in u- enced by the context of use, this systematic assessment in real-world contexts contributes to a richer understanding of how people interact and behave in such new creative spaces. This research makes a number of contributions to the elds of HCI, interactive art and New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME). It provides a set of de- sign implications to aid designers of future collaborative music systems. These are based on a number of empirical ndings that describe and explain aspects of audience behaviour, engagement and mutual interaction around public, in- teractive multi-person systems. It provides empirical evidence that there is a correlation between participants' perceived level of control and their sense of cre- ative participation and enjoyment. This thesis also develops and demonstrates the application of a mixed-method approach for studying technology-mediated collaborative creativity with live audiences.
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