Double funding success for Dr Robert Laidlow

Congratulations to Dr Robert Laidlow on two recent successful funding bids


The first successful grant has been made for the project “PLAY: Connecting Video Game Controllers, Musical Composition and Live Performance”. This project involves working with a research software engineer at the Royal Northern College of Music to create open-source software that turns common video game controllers into digital musical instruments and offers a new perspective on how people interact with these objects.

It also explores what composing for an “instrument” can mean today (through commissioning music written with the instrument by internationally active composers) and will offer gamers who are not familiar with a conventional instrument the opportunity to create high-quality, virtuosic, music.

Experimental group House of Bedlam will then give concerts in Oxford and Manchester using the instruments, with new music written by Bofan Ma, Hongshuo Fan, Ellen Sargen, and Dr Robert Laidlow, where audiences are invited to get hands-on with the equipment too. Mark your diaries for 5.30pm on 30 May, when Jesus College Digital Hub will host the Oxford event. After the concerts have taken place, look out for the release of recordings, scores, and the open-source software, as well as a follow-up paper on the project.

The project is funded by the Cultural Programme, with support from Jesus College PRiSM, the centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music at the Royal Northern College of Music.


“Everyday Objects and Musical Improvisation” is the second research project to have been awarded funding and is run in collaboration with the UdK, funded by the Oxford-UdK Berlin Partnership in Arts and Humanities. This project explores whether certain gestures linked to repetitive, and therefore embodied, interactions with everyday objects can be harnessed for musical expression as well as whether common objects can be transformed into accessible musical instruments. Following a survey of objects and their associated gestures and activities, a prototype phase will produce interactive sound objects through collaboration with an interaction designer. The project will culminate in a workshop with professional musicians and an analysis of the performances will offer insights into how these gestures can become instruments for musical expression.