New project will turn overheard conversations into music

Researcher Johanna Linsley, from the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance, is working on a project titled Stolen Voices that will use overheard voices, conversations and sounds to create a new piece of music inspired by a town in County Durham.

Posted: 31 March 2016

This is a joint project between Johanna and Rebecca Louise Collins, a research fellow at the University of Leeds. They will be working with local community groups and members of the public to gather snippets of conversations which will then be turned into a piece of music to be performed in Seaham later in the year.

Johanna Linsley said: “We’ve called the project Stolen Voices as it’s all about listening, overhearing and the divisions between public places and private conversations. At the same time, we want to use listening to celebrate how sound makes a place unique.”

Specially made computers will be placed in the public library in Seaham from 1 April until 13 May where members of the public can type in words from any conversation they happen to overhear to be a part of the project.

Johanna and Rebecca are also carrying out workshops with community groups over the next few weeks, where they will explain more about the project and how people can get involved.

“Every day we all negotiate the borders between public and private, as part of living together in a town or a city. We all overhear things and add our own thoughts and interpretations to what we hear,” said Rebecca Louise Collins.

“At the same time, surveillance and privacy are important topics for everyone today and we want Stolen Voices to prompt people to think more about the lines between public and private spaces,” Rebecca Louise added.

Once people have submitted snippets of conversations they hear, Newcastle-based composer Mariam Rezaie will then work with the artists on creating the piece of music.

Stolen Voices is supported by the Arts Council England East Durham Creates, Helix Arts and Sound & Music.

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