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Title: Distributed cognition in joint music composition : exploring the role of language and artefacts in multi-session creative collaborative work
Author: Nabavian, Shahin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 8472
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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My thesis takes steps towards understanding the role technology can play in supporting multisession creative collaborative work. This is achieved by exploring the relationship between the outcomes of a session of work and the resources available within the environment where work takes place. My domain of study is Joint Music Composition, which is a form of collaborative work that requires participants to generate, share, develop and remember information about a musical composition across a number of sessions. Although musical instrument and recording technology have advanced, there appears to be little understanding of how technology can be used to support collaboration in Joint Music Composition. To investigate this, I used the Distributed Cognition framework (Hutchins, 1995a), which has traditionally been employed to study work activities within socio-technological settings, to better understand how to support collaboration and coordination within my domain of study. The findings of my thesis are based on studies conducted in real life settings (i.e., field) and in environments that I helped to organise (i.e., laboratory). Research from the field describes how groups naturally organise their session, their physical setting, and their communication. It also helps to highlight a number of issues relating to the cognitive burden associated with compositions when they are in development. The first laboratory study illustrates the distributed nature of problem solving in Joint Music Composition by giving examples of different ways knowledge is shared within the group and across sessions. The second laboratory study describes how a shared work space appears to change the way knowledge is represented and distributed within two different rehearsal set-ups. Overall, the main insights that are applicable to informing design relate to the way practitioners of Joint Music Composition manage the distributed nature of problem solving using transient representations across multiple sessions of work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electronic Engineering ; Computer Science