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3M BIC Fellowship – Introducing Dr Inja Stanovic, Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield.

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Introducing our second 3M BIC Fellow, Dr Inja Stanovic, a Research Fellow from the Music Department at the University of Huddersfield.

Dr Stanovic’s 3M BIC Fellowship project focuses on sound heritage and will help develop repair methods for wax cylinders. Wax cylinders were invented at the end of the 19th century to capture sound, and as such preserve important historical evidence of music and speech. Unfortunately, because of their material, they damage easily and are often chipped, scratched or mouldy.

The project will explore various methods for repairing damaged wax cylinders, so that they may be played and preserved. Dr Stanović will use the X-ray Computerised Tomography (XCT) capabilities at the 3M BIC to investigate the surfaces of the cylinders.

The results of the project, based on the multi-disciplinary innovative research, will make a considerable difference in musicology and museum conservation studies. Once developed, the repair model will be shared with museums and researchers, enabling them to restore their collections and even identify cylinders which are not labelled. It will be a major step towards solving a mystery behind a large number of broken cylinders all over the world and will directly influence the preservation of sound heritage.

Commenting on the Fellowship, Dr Stanovic’s, said: “Unfortunately wax cylinders need to be kept under special conditions relating to temperature and humidity, as they are extremely fragile and susceptible to mould and chipping. Once a cylinder is broken, it cannot be played and the information registered on it will be lost forever.

“The focus of this sound heritage project will be on using the technology facilities and expertise of the 3M BIC to develop ways of preserving the wax cylinders. The project could not be done without these facilities or the 3M BIC team, who have been extremely supportive and encouraging.

“The project will involve a number of studies, resulting in joint authorship on publications. These in turn will then be used for follow-up bids and grant applications for additional funding, thus developing a programme of collaborative work beyond the scope in the initial fellowship.”

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