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Samantha Topley

Music, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Craft-Focused Electronic Instrument Building

This research aims to investigate a craft-focused approach to electronic musical instrument building. Through the exploration of textile-based handcrafts, sound and electronics, this multidisciplinary research intends to further develop an artistic practice, question gender and inclusion in electronic music and music technology, and the potential of engaging audiences through craft, play and participatory practices. Bright, soft and colourful sound art work will be made, by knitting, crochet, embroidery and pompom making. The anticipated contribution to knowledge will be the novel projects explored through this practice, and their uniqueness with regards to material, composition, process, audience, method of delivery, rationale and both artistic and technical endeavours.

Research Area

  • Music


BOWERS, J., RICHARDS, J., TOPLEY, S., et al. (2016) One Knob To Rule Them All: Reductionist Interfaces for Expansionist Research. In the proceedings of the international conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Brisbane, Australia, 2016, pp. 433-438.


Unuseless Instrument Designs - Queen Mary University of London - November 2019

Hybrid Practices - University of Malta - March 2019

eTextile Spring Break - New York, USA - April 2018 and April 2019

Sonic Fluidities - University of California San Diego - March 2018

Public Engagement & Impact

TEDxLeicester, UK
March – December 2019
Public talk, plus commission for workshops to create an interactive art work.
University of Manchester, UK
November 2019
Commission for workshops to create an interactive art work, with staff and students during the DigiLab residency.
LCB Depot, Leicester, UK
July 2019
Participatory performance with the public, at the Computer Arts Society’s 50th Anniversary event.
Curve Theatre, Leicester, UK
June 2019
Exhibition of interactive sound art work at the ‘Interfaces’ Festival.
eTextile Spring Break, New York, USA
April 2019
Instrument building workshops with the local community, plus exhibition of interactive sound art work.
Maker Faire Dubai, UAE
February 2019
Instrument building workshops with public and schoolchildren, plus exhibition of interactive sound art work.
Museum of Digital Art, Zurich, CH
March – August 2018
Electronic instrument building workshops.
Magnetic, London, UK
May 2018
Public presentation/performance.
APT Gallery, London, UK
May 2018
Public exhibition.

eTextile Spring Break, New York, USA
April 2018
Presentation of research to a public audience.
R10, Leicester, UK
April 2018
Public exhibition/performance.
Punctum, Prague, CZ
November 2017
Public performance, plus radio broadcast.

24kvm, Gothenberg, SE
February 2016
Public performance.

Dome of Visions, Stockholm, SE
February 2016
Public performance.

Other Research Interests

Sound Art; Craft; Textiles; Music Technology; Experimental Music; Electronic Textiles; Participatory Art


Stitching Together Network


De Montfort University (2015 - present)
Undergraduate Modules: Music, Media and Community Arts; Creating with Technology; Performing with Technology; Electronic Instrument Building

Goldsmiths University of London (2019)
Creative Computing Summer School 


MA by Research 
Thesis: Sound Art and Craft: Making and Playing Textile-Based Musical Instruments
Supervisors: Dr John Richards and Dr Peter Batchelor
De Montfort University (2014 - 2017)

BA (Hons) Music, Technology and Performance
First Class Honours
De Montfort University (2011 - 2014)


Winner of 'Featured Project' - Maker Faire Dubai - February 2019

Midlands3Cities Cultural Engagement Award - May 2019

BBC micro:bit Featured Artist - June 2019