Dr Thomas Deacon

Research Fellow in Design Research for Sound Sensing



Research projects

Research collaborations


Thomas Deacon, Tony Stockman, Mathieu Barthet (2017)User Experience in an Interactive Music Virtual Reality System: An Exploratory Study, In: M Aramaki, R KronlandMartinet, S Ystad (eds.), BRIDGING PEOPLE AND SOUND10525pp. 192-216 Springer Nature

The Objects VR interface and study explores interactive music and virtual reality, focusing on user experience, understanding of musical functionality, and interaction issues. Our system offers spatiotemporal music interaction using 3D geometric shapes and their designed relationships. Control is provided by tracking of the hands, and the experience is rendered across a head-mounted display with binaural sound presented over headphones. The evaluation of the system uses a mixed methods approach based on semi-structured interviews, surveys and video-based interaction analysis. On average the system was positively received in terms of interview self-report, metrics for spatial presence and creative support. Interaction analysis and interview thematic analysis also revealed instances of frustration with interaction and levels of confusion with system functionality. Our results allow reflection on design criteria and discussion of implications for facilitating music engagement in virtual reality. Finally our work discusses the effectiveness of measures with respect to future evaluation of novel interactive music systems in virtual reality.

Thomas Deacon, Patrick Healey, Mathieu Barthet (2022)“It’s cleaner, definitely”: Collaborative Process in Audio Production, In: Computer supported cooperative workpp. 1-31 Springer Netherlands

Working from vague client instructions, how do audio producers collaborate to diagnose what specifically is wrong with a piece of music, where the problem is and what to do about it? This paper presents a design ethnography that uncovers some of the ways in which two music producers co-ordinate their understanding of complex representations of pieces of music while working together in a studio. Our analysis shows that audio producers constantly make judgements based on audio and visual evidence while working with complex digital tools, which can lead to ambiguity in assessments of issues. We show how multimodal conduct guides the process of work and that complex media objects are integrated as elements of interaction by the music producers. The findings provide an understanding how people currently collaborate when producing audio, to support the design of better tools and systems for collaborative audio production in the future.

Thomas Deacon, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Patrick G. T. Healey, Mathieu Barthet (2019)Shaping Sounds: The Role of Gesture in Collaborative Spatial Music Composition, In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2019 ON CREATIVITY AND COGNITION - C&C 19pp. 121-132 Assoc Computing Machinery

This paper presents an observational study of collaborative spatial music composition. We uncover the practical methods two experienced music producers use to coordinate their understanding of multi-modal and spatial representations of music as part of their workflow. We show embodied spatial referencing as a significant feature of the music producers' interactions. Our analysis suggests that gesture is used to understand, communicate and form action through a process of shaping sounds in space. This metaphor highlights how aesthetic assessments are collaboratively produced and developed through coordinated spatial activity. Our implications establish sensitivity to embodied action in the development of collaborative workspaces for creative, spatial-media production of music.