The SpokenWeb Sound Institute — May 28-29, 2019

Vancouver, BC - Simon Fraser University - Burnaby Campus, Bennett Library

May 28-29, 2019
Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus, Bennett Library

The SpokenWeb Sound Institute is a two-day interactive event which will take place on the Burnaby campus of SFU, open to the members of the SpokenWeb network. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, solidify the work of each of the SpokenWeb Task Forces, share tools and knowledge, and plan the year ahead.

For SpokenWeb members who are not yet affiliated with any Task Force, this will great opportunity to see how you might like get involved in 2019-2020. Here is a tentative schedule, which will be updated as members confirm their attendance.

The SpokenWeb Sound Institute is followed by the inaugural two-day SpokenWeb Symposium, Resonant Practices in Communities of Sound, which takes place at Harbour Centre and Woodwards in downtown Vancouver, May 30-31, 2019. Continue reading about the SpokenWeb Symposium here.


Location: SFU Burnaby, Bennett Library, Room 7200 (7th floor)

DAY 1, MAY 28, 2019

8:30-9:00 Coffee and light snacks

9:00-9:15 Welcome Remarks

9:15-10:15 Introduction to Collections by Partners and Discussion of Approaches to Community Collections

Format: 5 minutes for each presenter followed by a 20-minute discussion on collections


  • Jason Camlot (Concordia University)
  • Tony Power and Melissa Salrin (Simon Fraser University)
  • Michael O’Driscoll (University of Alberta)
  • Karis Shearer (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • Roma Kail (Victoria University in the University of Toronto)
  • Annie Murray (Calgary University)
  • Ian Ferrier (Wired on Words)

10:15-11:00 SpokenWeb Lightning Talks

Facilitator: Yuliya Kondratenko (Concordia University)

Format: Each SpokenWeb Lightning Talk is 5 minutes; blocks of three talks are followed by a 5-minute Feedback session

Round 1: (20 minutes)

  • Ali Azarpanah, MA Student (Digital Humanities), University of Alberta. “Interfacing the University of Alberta SpokenWeb Portal.”
  • Ali Barillaro, MA Student (English), Concordia University. “‘It’s just not done: applause and the poetry reading.”
  • Evan Berg, BFA Student (Visual Art), University of British Columbia Okanagan. "Visual Language: A SpokenWeb Design Story"
  • Evan Berg, BFA Student (Visual Art), University of British Columbia Okanagan. "Research Creation: Thinking Outside the SoundBox"
  • Feedback Session led by Tanya Clement (University of Texas) and Michael O’Driscoll (University of Alberta)

Round 2: (20 minutes)

  • Megan Buchart, BA Student (English and History), University of British Columbia Okanagan. TBA
  • Emma Cullen, MA Student (English), University of Alberta. TBA
  • Jonathan Dick, MA Student (English), University of Toronto. "'The Mold That’s Branded On M Soul': A Computational Approach to Racialized Voice in Jean Toomer's 'Kabnis’”

Feedback Session led by and Marit MacArthur (UCDavis) and Annie Murray (Calgary University)

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

Round 3: (20 minutes)

  • Klara du Plessis, PhD Student (English), Concordia University. “Curatorial Openness at the Véhicule Art Inc. Poetry Reading Series.”
  • Liz Fischer, PhD Student (English), University of Texas. TBA
  • Deanna Fong, PhD Student (English), Simon Fraser University. “From Tape to Table: Creating Process Documentation for the SpokenWeb Metadata Schema.”

Feedback Session led by Smaro Kamboureli (University of Toronto) and Geoffrey Rockwell (University of Alberta)

Round 4 (20 minutes)

  • Deserae Gogol, MA Student (English), University of British Columbia Okanagan: TBA
  • Lee Hannigan, PhD Student (English), University of Alberta. TBA
  • Jakob Knudsen, BA Student (First Nations Studies), Simon Fraser University. TBA

Feedback Session led by Chris Mustazza (UPenn) and Jentery Sayers (University of Victoria)

Round 5 (25 minutes)

  • Cole Mash, PhD Student (English), Simon Fraser University. TBA
  • Samuel Mercier, PhD Student (English), Concordia University. "Digging for archives: notions of literary field work."
  • Aurelio Meza, PhD Student (Humanities), Concordia University. “Voicing Poetics: Women, vocal art, and loop stations in Mexico City.”
  • Amy Thiessen, BA Student (English), University of British Columbia Okanagan: TBA

Feedback Session led by Adam Hammond (University of Toronto) and Hannah McGregor (Simon Fraser University)

12:15-1:15 Lunch

1:15-2:45 Metadata and Systems Task Force Workshop
Presenters: Tomasz Neugebauer (Concordia University), Jared Wiercinski (Concordia University), Francisco Berrizbeitia (Concordia University)

After the Spoken Web Metadata Task Force agreed on the first version of the metadata specification, the project partners began to use a preformatted Google Spreadsheet to collect metadata.  In order to increase flexibility and the usability of the cataloguing process, a custom database application specifically designed around the Spoken Web Metadata Schema is in development that makes the ingestion of the metadata more manageable and controlled.  This workshop will present and offer the opportunity to learn about and provide feedback about the beta version of the metadata ingest system.

2:45-3:00 Coffee Break

3:00-4:00 Rights Management Task Force Presentation
Presenter: Annie Murray (University of Calgary)
Description: TBA

4:00-5:00 Pedagogy Task Force Presentation
Presenter: Karis Shearer (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
Description: TBA


Day 2, May 29, 2019

9:00-9:05 Introductory Remarks (Jason Camlot)

9:00-10:30 Project Management Concepts and Tools for Immediate Application
Presenter: Yuliya Kondratenko (Concordia University)

This workshop blends theory and practice allowing participants to 1) get familiar with industry-wide project management concepts and tools 2) reflect on PM practices and frameworks such as Agile and Scrum and 3) apply their knowledge by engaging in discussions from their own academic and professional project work.

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break

10:45-11:45 Audio Signal Analysis Task Force Workshop 1
Presenters: Tanya Clement (TAMU), Brian McFee (NYU Steinhardt) (virtual)

Learning to work with computational approaches to sound studies must begin with a basic understanding about the ways in which sound is represented as data in the computational environment. The sound analysis workflows that we will share with participants will include basic steps for employing common, free and open-source, Python libraries for accessing, processing, analyzing, and visualizing audio data. These workflows will be presented as Jupyter notebooks that users can easily adapt and run from local computers during and after the workshop. Topics that we will cover in this 2-hour workshop include:

  1. An introduction to setting up your computer for sound analysis with a brief introduction to using Binder and the Docker image we will set up for participants;
  2. An introduction to sound analysis using python, python libraries (such as McFee’s Librosa python package), and Jupyter notebooks;
  3. A demonstration with an example slicing and dicing audio that will introduce participants to basic audio concepts in signal processing such as sampling rates and the fundamental frequency;
  4. A hands-on group activity with a data set we have constructed including poetry performances from the SpokenWeb project that will include:
    • Silence/non-silence detection and auto-segmentation using unsupervised learning approaches such as K-means;
    • Vocal / non-vocal detection using a pre-designed model and data set, during which participants will be introduced to how a supervised model is trained;
    • Speaker segmentation and grouping using a pre-designed model and data set, during which participants will be introduced to how a supervised model is trained;

This workshop is appropriate for beginners to programming and sound analysis. No experience needed. Participants should bring their own laptops.

11:45-12:45 Audio Signal Analysis Task Force Workshop 2

Presenters: Marit MacArthur (UC Davis), Lee M. Miller (UC Davis) (virtual)

When we listen to a recorded poetry reading, what do we respond to in the performance? This workshop will:

  1. Introduce the audience to basic features of speech production and perception, including pitch and timing patterns.
  2. Demonstrate with Spoken Web recordings, and allow the audience to try out, a simple, open-source, user-friendly tool for visualizing intonation (pitch) and timing patterns, called Drift. Drift is a pitch tracker and visualizer that aligns the text of a poem with a poet’s intonation patterns in a given poetry recording. Drift is available in an online demo, and also can be downloaded and installed on Macs. (The first version of the software was initially created with support from an ACLS Digital Innovations Fellowship, and its development continues with support from a NEH Digital Humanities Advancement grant and the Spoken Web project.)
  3. Introduce prosodic measures for large-scale computational analysis of poetry archives, using Matlab and World, a speech synthesis program, and a smaller scale approach using Drift.

12:45-1:45 Lunch

1:45-3:45 Podcasting Task Force Presentation and Workshop
Presenter: Hannah McGregor (Simon Fraser University)

This two-hour workshop will introduce participants to the process of making a SpokenWeb Podcast episode. Topics will include an introduction to recording, editing audio using Hindenburg, working with archival audio, different genres of podcast episode, and more. Participants should leave with the skills necessary to start pitching podcast episodes!

3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-5:00 SpokenWeb Manifesto Workshop led by SpokenWeb Governing Board

Information for Participants


The accommodations we have reserved are at SFU Burnaby. To access the online booking form, please follow this link: and select SFU SpokenWeb  (May/27/2019 to May/31/2019) from the drop-down menu.

We have reserved the following rates/room types:

  • $41.00 per room per night plus tax for Private Residence Rooms (19 available);
  • $100.00 per room per night plus tax for Queen Room (5 available);
  • $128.00 per room per night plus tax for Queen Sofa Room (2 available);
  • $178.00 per unit per night plus tax for a Townhouse unit with a kitchen kit (minimum 2 night stay) (6 available, each with 4 bedrooms and two baths, kitchen and living room area). NOTE: One person has to book the entire Townhouse to be shared between multiple people.
  • More information about each room type can be found here:

Guests will be required to provide a valid MasterCard, VISA, or Discover Card during the reservation request process. A reservation is not guaranteed until you receive an email confirmation of the booking (typically within 24-48 hours after the booking request form is submitted). Bookings are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

Upon arrival, you will be asked to show your photo ID and the credit card used at the time of the reservation request.

Guests can adjust or cancel their reservation; you will be required to give a full 24 hours’ notice prior to the arrival date. Reservations cancelled within 24 hours of arrival are subject to a one night charge.

For general questions regarding accommodations on campus, please contact

Check-in/out Time: Guests will check-in at the Residence & Housing Front Desk beginning at 3:00pm on the day of arrival. Check-out time is no later than 11:00am on the day of departure.

Please note the Residence & Housing Front Desk is now open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The online booking form will be available for this group to make their requests until April 26, 2019. All unrequested held rooms will be released after April 26, 2019. Individuals can still request accommodations using the regular online booking system if space is still available but would be subject to regular season rates.

For any general questions regarding the campus accommodations, please contact Deanna Fong at