CEL Grant team showcases permanent UVic listening stations at Royal BC Museum

Members of the “Listening to the RBCM” Community-Engaged Learning Grant (CEL Grant) team, with a permanent listening station in Century Hall at the Royal BC Museum. This listening station houses soundscapes that accompany objects on exhibit at the museum. From left: Lydia Toorenburgh (project coordinator and playlist designer, anthropology), Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier (assistant professor, anthropology) Mark McIntyre (teaching assistant, anthropology).

Matthew McDonough (left, ANTH 303 student) with a museum visitor (right) listening to McDonough’s sound composition, “90’s, Smells Like Teen Spirit” installed on the permanent listening station in Century Hall at the Royal BC Museum. McDonough’s sound composition brings sonic life to the 1980’s and 90’s display case.

The Community-Engaged Learning Grant (CEL Grant) team with partners at the Royal BC Museum. From Left: Mark McIntyre (teaching assistant, anthropology); Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier (assistant professor, anthropology); Lydia Toorenburgh (project coordinator and playlist designer, anthropology); Kim Gough, Chris O’Connor and Liz Crocker (learning program developers, Royal BC Museum).

What would the 1980’s and 90’s display case in the Royal BC Museum’s Century Hall sound like? Museum visitors can now listen to UVic Anthropology student Matthew McDonough’s sonic interpretation (“90’s, Smells Like Teen Spirit”) of the objects in the case on a permanent listening station at the Royal BC Museum.

This permanent listening station is the result of a Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) grant project led by UVic’s Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier (anthropology) and Chris O’Connor from the Royal BC Museum. With support from CEL grant funds, students created a series of unique soundscapes to accompany objects on exhibit at the museum; visitors can now listen to these sound compositions at two new permanent listening stations.

On November 23, 2017, the project team unveiled the permanent stations during a Happy Hour event at the museum. Thirty-nine students in Boudreault-Fournier’s course Anthropology of Sound (ANTH 303) presented their sound compositions to museum visitors at this sold-out event.

The permanent listening stations are accessible to all museum visitors thanks to fourth-year anthropology student Lydia Toorenburgh, who was hired last summer to help manage the CEL Grant project. In her role as project coordinator and playlist designer, Toorenburgh curated soundscapes displayed on the permanent listening stations and created the playlist that showcases 84 student compositions produced by the previous three classes of ANTH 303.

“I am very passionate about sound and its ability to enrich our experiences and our learning,” says Toorenburgh. “I have really enjoyed being able to think critically about how to make these soundscapes accessible to the public. The incorporation of sound and of creative interpretations of particular exhibits, artifacts, and even structural components of the museum, made by students in ANTH 303 will create memorable new experiences for museum visitors.”

Members of the public can explore the sound compositions created by UVic anthropology students on the online playlist or at the permanent listening stations located in the Old Town and Century Hall galleries at the Royal BC Museum.

Learn more about this “Listening to the RBCM” project in a recent Ring article and Times Colonist article.

CEL grants are facilitated by UVic’s Office of Community-University Engagement (OCUE) with funds provided by the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost. Find out more about past recipients and how to apply for a CEL grant.