Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ongoing projects

One of my worries before starting this DPhil course was that I wouldn't have much variety of work to be doing, but would instead be spending all my time reading and trying to find suitable material to read.

In actual fact, it has turned out that I seem to have a million and one different projects on the go, to the point that I am finding it hard to keep track of everything. The reading pile is definitely there on my desk, waiting for me to pile through more of it. In addition to this though, I have papers to write, funding applications to prepare, courses to sit in on, interesting seminars to attend, talks to plan and give, coursework for this ATC course (including some specific blog entries that I really should get around to soon) and then the actual end of year report will start to loom, where I am supposed to finally know what I am going to be doing in my DPhil research...

So to try and get a handle on what I'm currently working on, I am going to make a list here, for my own reference.

I have submitted applications to a couple of charitable funds now. So the main funding application I am working on is to the AHRC. Because my work is so multi-disciplinary (computational models of musical creativity), I am also hoping to be considered for EPSRC funding through the department (which I am not hopeful of getting, as Music Informatics already has one departmentally-funded student). There is also a very tenuous case for submitting an application to the Open competition in ESRC, although I think this may not be really worth pursuing.

I will never have time to do all the reading I want to do! But this is a collection of what I would like to at least skim through:

A number of papers, particularly I need to look through the publications list of Wiggins, Cambouropoulos, Patel, Bharucha, Mozer, Johnson-Laird, Miranda, Dowling and Huron, to name but a few!

Books (a small selection, in no particular order):
- Margaret Boden's Creative Mind and Dimensions of Creativity
- Sternberg: The Handbook of Creativity
- Lerdahl and Jackendoff: A Generative Theory of Tonal music
- Sloboda: A musical mind
- Bregman: Auditory Scene Analysis
- Roads: The computer music tutorial
- Koestler: The Act of Creation
- Csikszentmihalyi (sp??) Creativity
- Wiggins/Deliege ed: Musical Creativity in theory and practice
- Peretz/Zatorre ed: Cognitive neuroscience of music
- Todd/Loy ed: Music and Connectionism
- Cope: Can't remember the name of the book but it is about his creative music system EMI

Conference proceedings: AISB 2002, ESCOM ?, a workshop on creativity in Edinburgh in the 90s and workshop in computational creativity 2007

I need to turn my MSc thesis into a paper that matches the extended abstract I submitted for an Interdisciplinary Musicology Conference in Greece, which I will be going to this summer. As I am writing this paper jointly with my old supervisor in Edinburgh, we need to work out how we are going to co-author the paper - I think the ideal scenario for both of us is that I write the bulk of the copy, with a lot of editing input from my supervisor, but I need to check this with him.

Also, I have jointly (with my current supervisor) submitted an abstract to a language and cognition conference in Brighton this summer. It is touch and go whether that will get accepted, I think, as it is slightly off topic for the conference; we are applying linguistic models of creativity to music, acknowledging the parallels between music and language, but the focus of this conference is on language. However this is work that I really want to investigate further, so I am going to carry on with the work anyway. If it doesn't get accepted at Brighton, then it will be useful for my DPhil anyway and might be publishable elsewhere.

Final paper is the one I submitted to ICMC earlier this month. Should it get accepted for ICMC, I am sure there will be some revision I will need to do...

The technical communications course that this blog has been created for is the only course that requires me to do coursework outside of my DPhil study. Although to be honest it is a little frustrating to have to think about deadlines for this course when I am more concerned about the fact that I still don't know what my research questions are going to be for my DPhil, the course is proving very useful and will be worth the effort I think. I have to prepare a poster and a talk for a mock-conference in March, for which I will use my ICMC project. I'm hoping to reuse the talk in ICMC (if accepted) and possibly at my old university, Warwick, as a researcher there is interested in my work and would like me to go and speak there.

There are so many seminars on at the moment that I would love to go and sit in on, but I have so little time. But I am keeping my eyes open. There is one in E-intentionality coming up on the link between creativity and novelty, which I will definitely go to, and a few others that I will try and get to as well.

At the moment, there are courses in Generative Creativity, Data Mining, Music Analysis, Neural Networks and Computational Music, for which I am trying to sit in on at least some of the lectures for (it depends on what that specific lecture is about as to whether I go to it or not).

Actually these lectures are serving a double purpose for me at the moment; seeing as three of them start at 9am and one at 10am, they are giving me a good reason to get myself out of bed and into campus at the beginning of the day! Then after the lecture I feel like my brain has been woken up, and I'm ready to get going with whatever else the day has in store for me.

Sussex offers a lot of training courses at the moment, currently I am doing the Profolio course for first year DPhils which is a few hours every few weeks, and also some skills courses offered by SP2, the training skills programme at Sussex. Seems a shame to waste these opportunities, and they are all helpful in some ways, some more than others.

As I mentioned, I am in the middle of arranging to give a talk at Warwick. Edinburgh have also booked me to give a talk at the end of April, on the content that I am submitting to the Greek conference, based on my MSc thesis (artificially intelligent piano accompaniment). That should do me for now...!

No teaching duties for me this term, although last term a 2 hours/week tutorial job took up a lot more of my time than anticipated. I do however have commitments in terms of marking, which is averaging about 5 hours a time, about every 2 weeks, and some monitoring work for the department which is half an hour a week.

This comes at the end of the list, even though it is the most important for me. At some point I need to finalise exactly what I will be doing the next year. Currently I know that I want to make models of some creative processes in music. So the lecture courses will help me to identify what models I could use and what history of creativity theory already exists, as will my reading. I need to pin down some specifics now.

Phew. That took a while to write down, and I've only included the academic projects I have ongoing and not the out-of-work projects such as music rehearsals, getting more gigs, getting to know more people in Brighton generally, family issues and running London marathon, all of which are time-consuming but important to me. I think its been worth the time though, its good to have a list down in black and white, that encapsulates what I am doing at the moment.
I'd better get on with it now then!

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