Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Supersonic Festival Live Set

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Here is a recording of the live laptop performance  I gave at SOUNDkitchen’s Cinema For The Ears on 23rd October 2011. The event was part of the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham.

I was working with field recordings and prepared material that was predominantly noise based and experimented for the first time with presenting this material over multiple channels live. Running Ableton Live I had 8 independent outputs mapped onto a circle of 8 speakers in the space and an additional stereo submix on another two channels going to the desk to be diffused over the whole system by SOUNDkitchen’s Annie Mahtani. It was quite an effective and manageable way of working, allowing me some control of the spatialisation of material in addition to the structure.

This is a stereo reduction of the 10 channel set that was played over a multi-channel speaker system courtesy of BEAST.

Live at Supersonic by Iain Armstrong

Get On The Radio

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

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I’ve started doing some work with Get On The Radio. They are a team of experienced and enthusiastic creatives who have come together through a shared passion for creative education and the exceptional teaching and learning potential of radio broadcasting.

They’re currently working in schools across the Midlands setting up pupil led radio stations. They have a great team that provide everything from technial advice, installation and training to setting up a school radio station with production teams for a variety of radio programmes.

They have strong links with radio professionals and programme makers who can deliver specific masterclasses. I’m working with them as a producer, helping pupils to generate content for their shows such as theme tunes, jingles, features and sound effects.

It’s a fantastic method for encouraging independent, cross-curricular learning in an exciting and creative way.

Find our more and listen to some of the results on their website – www.getontheradio.co.uk

Creative Partnerhsip’s Legacy

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Creativity Culture & Education (CCE), the charity that run Creative Partnerships, have a number of ‘Legacy of Creative Partnerships’ videos amongst other things on their vimeo page.

Creative Partnership’s Demise

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Cultural figures and teachers denounce the abolition of Creative Partnerships

“The abolition of a flagship scheme to improve the teaching of the arts in English schools has been condemned by teachers and leading names in British culture as a “foolhardy” move that threatens the education of the most vulnerable children.”

Read more from this article in the Observer here.

For an example of the kind of impact and legacy Creative Partnerships has had in one Black Country school watch this video from Trinity CofE Primary school:

View the video in context on Creative Partnerships website.

London Sinfonietta KX Collective

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

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The Kings Cross or KX Collective are a group of young musicians (12-19) interested in contemporary music making who come together under the guidance of the London Sinfonietta. I recently led a workshop for the collective alongside animateur Jackie Walduck and three players from the London Sinfonietta.

The workshop was inspired by the work of Matthew Herbert whose new work ‘One Day’ was commissioned and performed by the London Sinfonietta during the workshop weekend. Herbert’s work incorporates field recordings, found objects, live sampling and live performers. The video below features Herbert talking about his approach to writing ‘One Day’:

Taking inspiration from Herbert’s work, in particular his P.C.C.O.M. – Personal Contract For The Composition Of Music [Incorporating the Manifesto Of Mistakes], the KX Collective explored experimental approaches to making music including improvisation, recording and sampling sounds, composing with sound, responding to recorded sounds using instruments and the voice and combining this material into a new musical composition.

The workshop was part of an ongoing programme of opportunities for young people in the Kings Cross area of London to take part in a diverse range of music making activities, working with professional musicians and expanding their musical horizons.

Report on the Impact of Creative Partnerships

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

A recent report highlighting the positive impacts of Creative Partnerships may have come too late as, unsurprisingly in the current political and financial climate, funding is likely to be withdrawn with the programme ending after this academic year.

The independent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) reveals the Creative Partnerships programme will generate the equivalent of £15.30 of economic benefits for every £1 of investment. This equates to nearly £4 billion net positive benefit for the UK economy.

‘The Costs and Benefits of Creative Partnerships’ report was commissioned by national charity Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) to analyze how its work with learners, parents, schools and teachers has impacted on the wider UK economy. PricewaterhouseCoopers has analysed CCE’s existing large-scale national evidence and considered impacts of the programme, including:
  • the premium associated by gaining five good GCSEs
  • the avoided social costs of crime and truancy
  • the improved teacher morale from being involved in Creative Partnerships leading to higher retention rates.

More info on the CP website.

Recent CP School Projects

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

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I’ve just completed another couple of Creative Partnerships projects that I’ve been working on over the summer term.

I was working with a Yr3/4 class at St Bartholomew’s Primary in Wolverhampton to create some podcasts and a project blog. This was one of the youngest groups I’ve worked with on a project of this sort and they coped really well. They wrote some fantastic scripts and managed to get to grips with recording using portable recorders. They also mastered basic editing and mixing using Audacity. We also did a little bit of work using Garage Band on the school mac.

The other project was at Penn Hall SEN School also in Wolverhampton. I worked with the whole school to create a sound trail around the school grounds with imaginary soundtracks for each of the six locations. Participants followed a map and listened to directions and the soundtracks on mp3 players. I collaborated with graphic designer Nick Smith to create the map and we also produced an interactive CD Rom to document the project.

More info and examples of the work on the updated  ‘Creative Partnerships’ page.

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Bearwood Primary School Project

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I’ve just finished a Creative Partnerships project in Bearwood Primary school, Smethwick. I was working with rap artist Prof. D and a class of lively Yr5 children. We were looking at providing a creative stimulus for writing. The children wrote and performed raps and we created a project blog on which they posted their raps and updates about the project. You can see for youself at

avatar.primaryblogger.co.uk