Dear Fellow Musician,
Information sheet for participants in the conducting and haptic digital prototype trials and focus groups
I am a researcher at the UCL Institute of Education, London working with colleagues (Professor Lucy Green, also from UCL and Ann Fomukong-Bowden, an electronic engineer) on developing a prototype technology to communicate the conductor’s gestures via Bluetooth technology to blind and partially-sighted (i.e. visually impaired) performers in music ensembles. The prototype will entail the visually impaired musician wearing a vest that vibrates to track these gestures in two dimensions. This will be a gentle, harmless vibration moving across the wearer’s back similar in amplitude to a mobile telephone. There is no risk of harm. We believe this technology has the potential to integrate congenitally blind musicians (including adults, children, beginners and professionals), or those who experience sight loss later in life, into sighted musical contexts more successfully.
During our trial days, which will take place on 20 April, 10 May, 24 May and 30 June 2017 at the UCL Institute, we would also like to interview you in a focus group with other visually impaired musicians to ascertain the challenges there are to performing in an ensemble amongst sighted peers and also to get your feedback on the developing prototype. So there is nothing particularly sensitive about our questions. These interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed; they will last for approximately 30 minutes. On completion of the transcription, the audio, which will be kept on a password protected computer, will be securely erased. You will be given a pseudonym in the transcription and other “identifiers” such as e.g. the name of your workplace, or the name of the orchestras in which you perform, etc. will be removed. We will share the transcription with you so that you can check its faithfulness to your meaning and also flag any sensitive issues that you would rather not have reported. We may wish to cite some of your words in our reporting but only after making them confidential. There is always a slight risk that someone might recognise you from something we write however, due to visually impaired musicians being a small group within society, but we will strive to mask your identity and never purposefully disclose it.
Participation in this project is entirely voluntary. As someone who is visually impaired and a musician who performs in ensembles, we would be delighted if you could help us trial this new technology. By attending our trial days at the UCL Institute of Education, you give your consent to participate in the research, but can opt out at any point simply by sending an e-mail to me.
If you have any further questions, I would be delighted to answer them.
I do hope that you can support us with this important work and look forward to meeting you. If you are interested in participating in one or more of these trial days, please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org