Thomas Jefferson’s Soundscapes in Slate

Congratulations to Bonnie Gordon (University of Virginia) for busting some Jefferson myths for a wide audience with her article in Slate on Thomas Jefferson: The sounds of Monticello, from patriotic songs to the slap of the whip. Great piece! Gordon outlines how Jefferson managed his sonic environment and his sonic legacy, if you like: how he muffled, or tried to muffle, certain sounds in his immediate soundscape, in his notebooks, and in his archive.

Takeaway point for me: silences in accounts, collections and archives can speak volumes if you listen.

Gordon organized two conferences at the University of Virginia on Jefferson and soundscapes. I attended one earlier this year.

Five PhD Scholarships in Digital Arts & Humanities

There are five scholarships available for University College Cork’s four-year structured PhD in Digital Arts & Humanities. The stipend is €16,000 per annum, plus tuition.

As it says on UCC’s Digital Arts & Humanities programme website,

Digital tools offer an opportunity to ask new, often radical, questions about humanities research. The Digital Arts and Humanites PhD programme provides an opportunity for students to explore how “digital” is changing the face of the “arts and humanities”. Students on the programme will seek to discover what is it to be human in the digital age, and the answers will help to shape how we see ourselves and others in an age where humanity is becoming increasingly connected by ubiquitous technology.

Applications in any area of digital arts & humanities are invited. UCC Music’s particular strengths include practice-based research in digital media (e.g. composers John Godfrey and Jeffrey Weeter), and theoretical engagement with digital media (e.g. musicologist Christopher Morris). The Seán Ó Riada Collection held by UCC’s Boole Library is suitable for a Digital Arts & Humanities project.

I coordinated UCC’s arts strand of this programme before I started my fellowship and I’m looking forward to contributing to it when I return. And I’m curious to know more about the Seán Ó Riada Collection. I’d like to get in there and see if there’s anything in his letters about his use of the harpsichord in Irish Traditional Music.