In March 2020, most countries around the world were forced into lockdowns, which instigated a change in how people communicate, interact and even how they live and work. For many, online video-conferencing technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook messenger, Skype, WhatsApp etc. became vital resources in everyday communication, and though all of these platforms had existed previously, none had been designed to cope with such a multitude of online activity. All forms of singing have been especially difficult to facilitate online. While the desire and need to continue vocal performance, teaching and research has swiftly forced the creation of new methods and practices that utilise the online space, it is also important to question issues of accessibility caused by this mass move online.
On the one hand, the online platform has opened up areas of singing practice and research to those who may not have had the means to access in-person activities or physical resources. For example, over the last ten years, there have been creative initiatives devised to help level barriers to access, allowing people with long-term physical and mental health issues, those who live far away and those with caring responsibilities to engage in singing practice and/or research. Indeed, studies by Jeanette Tamplin (2019), Imogen N. Clark (2018), Shreena Unadkat and Trish Vella-Burrows (2016) have turned to the online space and digital technology to facilitate singing activities. On the other hand, singing online also presents many unique challenges, arguably imposing just as many, if not more, barriers to access. These include, but are not limited to access to a computer, fast-internet connection, headphones, a recorder and the skillset and confidence to use video-conferencing and video-editing software. Other challenges could be engaging in online singing activities while at home, limitations posed by the space or other people, comfort and confidence to engage socially online and so forth. These are just a few of the challenges this edited collection plans to address.
As such, Singing and the Online World
aims to interrogate questions of access, considering the mitigations that need to be put in place to facilitate singing practice and research online. We seek papers that discuss, evaluate and engage with issues of access when utilising the online space for singing practice and research. https://spheres-of-singing.gla.ac.uk/singing-and-the-online-world-call-for-abstracts/