The Studio as Instrument — The Studio as Composition Tool

7 to 8 April, 2021

The University of Lethbridge, Alberta [Canada]

The University of Lethbridge acknowledges that we are gathered on the lands of the Siksika (Blackfoot) people of the Canadian Plains and pays respect to the Siksika past, present and future while recognising and respecting their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship to the land. Southern Alberta is also home to the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, as well as the third region of the Metis Nation of Alberta.


The Music Department, at the University of Lethbridge, in Alberta [Canada], coordinates a Digital Audio Arts Student Symposium each year. The symposium is primarily a project dissemination event for Applied Research in Digital Audio Arts II, an undergraduate music research-creation course that services fourth year Bachelor of Music students.

Other emerging scholar-artists, who are not in Applied Research in Digital Audio Arts II, may participate. The annual symposium is often an occasion to disseminate and celebrate the research of: student research-creation prize winners (e.g., ULethbridge Joyce and Ron Sakamoto Prize); graduate students from ULethbridge and from digital audio and music programmes at other institutions and universities; advanced and established scholar-artists who are invited to provide keynote addresses during the symposium.


In 2021, we anticipate: nearly twenty presenters; a remote/telematic jam guided by the ULethbridge Audio Engineering Society Student Chapter and the international collective, Kaon’CPT; a VR media room; and a keynote address by Singapore-based artist Dirk Stromberg. We are also pleased to include emerging scholar-artist from other Western Canadian institutions: Brandon University, The University of British Columbia (Vancouver and Okanagan campus), The University of Regina and The University of Manitoba.

Theme and areas of research

Although the theme of this year’s event is The Studio as Instrument, or The Studio as Composition Tool (taken from the namesake of Brian Eno’s 1983 article), participant’s research-creation presentations vary widely. Conforming to the theme was not a requirement for students in Applied Research in Digital Audio Arts II. However, during the 2020-2021 academic year, the theme was revealed naturally, based on the course readings that were regularly chosen by the students, themselves.

General areas of research will include:

  • Musical genre
  • Industry and entrepreneurship
  • Education and outreach
  • Games
  • Interfaces
  • Synthesis
  • Notation
  • DIY culture
  • Digital studio creation
  • Audio-derived generative visualisation
  • Music and sound as a socio-political phenomenon
  • Reception of music technology by diverse communities
  • And experimental design

Research-creation in challenging times

We acknowledge the passion, ingenuity, and the perseverance of all the participants of the 2021 Digital Audio Arts Student Symposium, especially with respect to their ability to overcome challenges as a result of institution/facility closures, the shift to remote learning from different geographical locations in Western Canada, and importantly, fewer opportunities to explore research-creation with colleagues in-the-flesh.