Brian Beaton will collaborate on Humanities Center Grant


Brian Beaton, Assistant Professor here at the iSchool, and Gavin Steingo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, have been awarded a Humanities Center Collaborative Research Grant. These Pitt grants aim to support projects that bring together faculty from different departments or institutions. Beaton and Steingo will be looking at the social and aesthetic implications of crowdsourced musical compositions. As part of this work, the researchers will be identifying prominent crowdsourced compositions, investigating interactions between listeners and composers, assessing claims that musical production is becoming more democratic, and exploring how music is starting to behave more like information. This research will culminate in a half-day symposium for University of Pittsburgh faculty and students. The symposium, tentatively titled “Crowdsourced Music: Social and Aesthetic Implications,” will be held in late April.

Dr. Beaton joined the iSchool faculty in August of 2012: his research and teaching interests include science and technology studies (STS), archives, social and cultural theory, information workplaces, design, public and applied history, scholarly communication, digital humanities, and public policy. Beaton recently won a Gaming Research Fellowship from the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Dr. Beaton will spend two weeks at the Center during the 2012-13 academic year, conducting research into how the Las Vegas gaming industry draws crowds of players to specific games. The larger purpose of Beaton’s research is to identify crowd-drawing techniques and strategies used in Las Vegas that may be effective in drawing people to online citizen science games. More information about the University of Pittsburgh’s Humanities Center can be found at