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Making the invisible audible: Sonifying qualitative data

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We describe how Embosonic Sketching, a novel approach to qualitative data sonification, was employed in the design of a sound art installation. The method was conceived to minimise designer bias in the creation of sound artworks which seek to faithfully represent the lived experience of a sample group. The 'Her[sonifications]' project was driven by the notion that much exists beyond sight, yet remains undiscovered, and explored bringing the unseen to light through the transformative medium of sound. We ran a series of workshop and focus group sessions to engage with women from a range of backgrounds including artists, writers, designers and researchers to explore how we could harness the emotive qualities of sound to communicate the visceral experience of womanhood. We contribute insight into how Embosonic Sketching can be employed to enrich the process of qualitative data collection in group-based settings; to produce sound sketches to inform the sound design process; and most significantly, to create self-actualised sonifications of visceral and experiential phenomena. Our findings demonstrate that Embosonic Sketching is a useful and accessible tool for exchanging ideas about sound and promotes heightened participant engagement with participatory design processes.