“Beating around the data” is a participatory project that critically questions the nature of data, and examines if and how a choir can generate meaningful data about people, culture and communities. The RECAA Choir is composed of members of Respecting Elders: Communities Against Abuse, an organization that raises awareness against older adult mistreatment. The Choir gathers regularly to sing and perform pieces that reflect the members’ diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
This exploratory research project takes the concept of “musicking” as its starting point. Musicking, or to music, is a term developed by Christopher Small (2006) to describe how individuals take part in all aspects of the musical process – listening, performing, and more.. Through participant observation and informal interviews, this research aims to answer the following questions: What can we learn about aging and communities of older adults through choral musicking? When (and for whom) does the knowledge and understandings gained through the Choir’s activities become relevant, informative and useful? The project also seeks to understand how data can be creatively documented and archived.