As a musician and systems designer, I am responsible for the creation and operation of the Drake Music Project Northern Ireland for 26 years.
I graduated Music in Belfast 1988, an MSc in Music Technology in York University 1989 and PhD from City University in London. Subsequent composer in residences (Simon Fraser University Vancouver, IRCAM Paris, Steim studios Amsterdam and Radio France Paris) developed an international context for my interests in assistive technologies and the right to be included in society, despite a persons perceived disabilities.
This research took me home to Northern Ireland with a wider hope and vision for the violent communities I experienced in childhood. My research combined my passion for music as a shared community experience with technology and assistive technologies, engaging the rights of the person with disabilities to be able to express their creativity as an equal citizen.
I have spent several years designing and installing multisensory environments in hospices, day centres and schools, and outreached from these to work with people with physical disabilities, to map the gestural control they have to a suitable interface to provide personal control, empowerment, enablement, peer equality, access to employment and an independent voice in the wider community.
Despite having graduated 4 times my non-formal learning has had the biggest learning impact on me. Passionate about access and the right to be heard, valued and listened to, I believe no member of society should be barred on the basis of apparent physical or cognitive ability. It is a life-long passion of mine to ensure that those without a voice get to be heard. Art and associated inclusion are vital tools to improve transnational citizenship.
The value of art, music and self expression in our society is critical for peer worth, empowerment and voices that, when heard, enrich our society, endear common values and lessen the perception of differences as negatives.