Hayden Ryan. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust 8 Jul 2024

Hayden Ryan

2022 grantee Hayden Ryan shares his learnings from undertaking a Master of Music at New York University and his future projects.

Hayden Ryan is a First Nations (Yuin) sound artist and scholar whose work explores the use of spatial audio technologies and how they can be incorporated alongside Aboriginal cultural performance.

Hayden was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant in 2022 which enabled him to undertake a Master of Music, specialising in Music Technology at New York University (NYU). "NYU is one of the leading institutions in music/sound technology research – two of the professors there literally wrote the book on immersive audio! I also found it difficult to locate a program in Australia that specifically focused on the areas of research and technology I am interested in, so I found myself looking at international universities," he shared.

Hayden's studies allowed him to expand his knowledge and skills in immersive audio technologies. The NYU program also led to the creation of his research project, which analysed current approaches to recording Indigenous sonic and spatial practice and explored alternative, decolonial approaches through reinterpreting Higher-Order Ambisonics (3D sound recording).

"Much of my work at the moment focuses on decolonising sound/music technology which recently led me to speaking about a paper I wrote at the Audio Engineering Society conference in Madrid, Spain. Overall, I’m just happy with the things that I gained from this experience!"

After completing his studies in New York and presenting his research project in Madrid, Hayden will soon begin his PhD at RMIT University's SIAL Studio. His research will explore the indigenisation and decolonisation of audio technologies but delve deeper into the relationship between Indigenous sonic culture and acoustic spaces.

When looking back at his time in New York, Hayden said, "My highlight is being able to learn and grow as an Indigenous scholar and artist around some other amazing Aboriginal students and creatives and gaining the confidence to confront a lot of the colonial, institutional frameworks that haven’t ever been challenged in my field."