Notebook and Pen

About us

The Sound of Contagion was born out of a collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Oxford and Universität der Künste, Berlin. We are interested in what happens when we use creativity to improve algorithms, and algorithms to support creativity.

The Oxford/Berlin Creative Collaborations showcase ideas and research across the arts and humanities. They combine established methodologies from the Humanities with new and exciting forms of artistic expression.
This new exchange of methodologies, modes of representation, language and other qualities will lead to innovative contributions in the arts and sciences alike. We embrace a worldview that purposely goes beyond preconceived disciplinary borders and integrates speculative, subjective and positivistic approaches to problem-solving and creation.  The encounters are intended to provide a novel emphatic perspective on how we can work, think and communicate.

The Sound of Contagion takes these ideals as a starting point, and expands on them in the areas of music composition, narrative theory, and Artificial Intelligence. 

The Team

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Robert Laidlow is a composer and researcher based in the UK. Robert's music has been commissioned and performed across the globe and broadcast on television and radio. His compositions blur the boundary between science and music and are often the result of close interdisciplinary collaboration.

Robert is the PRiSM Researcher in Artificial Intelligence in association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra - a relationship that has recently resulted in several new works exploring intelligent technology.

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Chelsea Haith is a researcher and writer based in the UK and South Africa. She works on Speculative Fictions and urban inequalities, developing theory at the intersection of social science and literature. She has experience in publishing, journalism and gender studies, and teaches critical theory, literature and speculative imaginaries in Higher Education. 

She is an alumni of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and her research interests are inflected by a passion for inclusive, diverse representation and collaboration.

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Wenzel Mehnert is a researcher and theorist based in Berlin. He works in the department for time-based media at the professorship of Prof. Ingen-Housz at UdK and researches, writes and teaches experimental methods of future studies at the intersection of science and art. 

In his research and teaching, Wenzel focuses on the intersection between Speculative Fictions  and the assessment of New and Emerging Science and Technologies (e.g. A.I., SynBio, Internet of Things, etc.).