Resonating Histories – A curatorial toolkit for sonic art designed to excavate historical acts of cultural resistance through data synthesis and digital auditory platforms.

The interdisciplinary methodologies employed in this research coalesce qualitative and quantitative data with theoretical concepts to construct a distinctive research model. Reflective practice is also integral to each phase, facilitating critical self-reflection, analysis of biases, and evaluation of the research impact, thereby adapting an auto-ethnographic approach.[98] The qualitative aspect of the study uses stakeholder interviews, field recordings, artist-led workshops, and ethnographic recordings and documents, drawing on diverse archives, broadcast media, and transcripts to examine the distinct cultural dynamics of each case study. These methods facilitated the production of two Case Study Data Sets that served as foundational resources for the soundwork commissions by Paul Purgas and DeForrest Brown Jr. They also provided Vivienne Griffin with a comprehensive overview of the locations identified on Cox Street in preparation for the active listening workshop. 

Concluding the production process of the soundwork commissions and the active listening workshop with practitioner interviews were crucial in assessing both the production of the soundworks and the execution of the workshop. The quantitative research integrates census demographics, maps, and architectural plans into the data sets and ends with scaled questionnaires that participants complete after the workshop. Furthermore, the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods contributes to the collaborative design of a website. The website, hosting the thesis and data sets, requires a password for access, while soundworks are available via QR codes on posters at each case study location. These QR codes grant direct access to soundworks, which are also broadcast on digital radio platforms.  

Covid-19 and Patchwork Ethnography 
The research project began in October 2019, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in February 2020, leading to a series of intermittent lockdowns from March 2020 until July 2021. These lockdowns presented significant challenges, such as accessing archives, individuals, and locations. To navigate this global emergency, I adopted the “patchwork ethnography” methodology developed by Gökçe Günel, Saiba Varma, and Chika Watanabe to circumvent the restricted access to resources caused by movement constraints.[99] 

Designing and implementing a Curatorial Toolkit 
The curatorial toolkit (a full unabridged version of the toolkit is available to read in the Appendices) serves as a fundamental component of this research project. It was devised to generate, measure, and share new knowledge, serving as an accessible and comprehensive document that effectively draws from the knowledge and expertise I have acquired. This includes experience from working across academic research, as an artist studio manager, in commercial galleries, and for an extended period in mainstream international arts organisations as an established curator. 

Additionally, it is important to note that the "toolkit" evolved from an exploration of the distinctions between a "manual" and a "toolkit", recognising that each device serves different purposes and methods of application. The distinction lies in their contextual use and often interrelated functions. A manual typically provides a rigid guide with set instructions, procedures, or standards for executing tasks, operations, or activities with a fixed outcome. It is valued in academic circles for its educational value and in professional spheres for its directive nature. Historically, manuals have served a strictly prescriptive role. In contrast, a toolkit usually encompasses a variety of methods, guidelines, resources, templates, or frameworks that can be adapted to various contexts applied. With its wider and more adaptable scope, a toolkit presents users with a customisable array of tools for their specific needs. Plus in academic discourse, toolkits are also associated with applying theory to practice or as a set of analytical tools for examining or comprehending a subject. The understanding of what may appear to be subtle differences on the surface, but when applied, are discordant with the inclusive, accessible, and democratic intentions of this study, informed the decision to focus on designing and implementing a toolkit rather than the inflexible application of a manual. 

Accordingly, the development of the curatorial toolkit necessitated bridging academic theory with practical application, composed of insights garnered from artists, curators, educators, designers, and theorists. As demonstrated, the literature review addresses the majority of the critical theoretical and practical concerns that have informed and augmented the design of the toolkit. Whereas the summary below offers a concise understanding of the references that have provided guidance on how facets of the toolkit were structurally designed, and certain tools were implemented in advance to assess their viability. This overview is limited due to word count restrictions, but also because Chapters 1, 2, and 3 specify in comprehensive detail which tools were relevant and applied to each case study and were applicable to the workshop. It is also important to note that my initial awareness of "toolkits" was limited to their application in graphic design, social practice, field recording, and music, primarily as a form of “studio etiquette”, derived from direct experience in sound engineering during my youth. Significantly, this approach has consistently informed my work with artists as a curator.[100]  

These references to the choice and design of the toolkit identify an expansive range of objectives and their relevance to interdisciplinary references and conceptual frameworks. They are guided by the integration of socially engaged ambitions with immaterial outputs. Emphasising the importance of community collaboration and participatory approaches, coupled with a brief insight into the process of capturing field recordings, providing a valuable insight into the technical aspects of the project. Additionally, ancillary events and activities, such as workshops and exhibitions, served as pivotal moments in refining the project, offering opportunities for experimentation and feedback from participants, stakeholders, and contributors. These interactions ultimately shaped the final outcome of the toolkit.  

A foundational stimulus for the design of the toolkit is Norman Potter’s What is a Designer: Things, Places, Messages (1969), which connects practical advice with considerations of design's societal influence and the need for ethically clear modes of communication to cultivate critical engagement and an egalitarian learning environment.[101] Drawing on this ethos, the curatorial toolkit was crafted to emphasise adaptability, incorporating new materials and methods with principles that are both clear and accessible. It aims to foster independent thought and engagement with the resources, regardless of the user's level of experience. This approach is reflective of Potter's “democratic approach to knowledge”, enabling users to customise tools to meet their unique needs and aspirations. While also aligning with the multifaceted roles of designers and architects who, akin to curators, engage in disciplines that create educational, aesthetic, and functional narratives, contributing to societal development. Subsequently, the toolkit embodies a commitment to ethically integrate cultural and societal insights, thus bridging the gap between theory and practice and advancing beyond a minimal gesture.[102] 

This method also aligns with Pablo Helguera's framework presented in Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011), which advocates for acculturated engagement with participants. Developed to aid artists and curators in the creation of socially engaged art for public audiences, this perspective has been further refined to enhance the toolkit. Helguera’s framework is structured around four progressive stages of participation, each deepening the audience's involvement and contribution to the artistic process. The initial stage, 'Nominal Participation,' fosters reflective engagement, prompting audiences to consider the personal and societal impacts of an artwork. Here, artists and curators act as facilitators, offering context through talks and interactive guides to inspire introspection. “Directed Participation” follows, with task-oriented interactions devised by facilitators, involving the audience in guided discussions or interactive installations, thus deepening their connection with the artwork. 

Whereas, “Creative Participation” blurs the boundaries between artist, curator, and viewer by inviting audiences to contribute content, as demonstrated in this research through the active listening workshop included in the toolkit. This stage encourages adding to collective works or workshop engagement, fostering a sense of ownership and active involvement. While “Collaborative Participation”, sees the coalescence of audience, artist, and curator into co-creation, orchestrated as a means to dissolve traditional barriers, resulting in a collective work. 

The toolkit accentuates the role of artmaking—whether visual or auditory, as in this instance—as a process of social formation and a construct of social relevance, creating a dynamic interplay among the artwork, its audience, and the broader societal context. It enhances cultural dialogue by merging archival resources with grassroots contributions, which are disseminated through QR codes. The toolkit is designed to leverage art for social engagement and collective creativity with an approach that seeks to propel art's influence on interpreting local heritage, fostering community interaction, particularly through digital channels that expand access to diverse audiences, including those with mobility challenges or in remote locations. While driving innovation and economic sustainability in content delivery, it also builds lasting educational resources and gathers data to refine public services. However, I am aware that an over-reliance on digital engagement may limit the depth of personal interaction, despite site-specific artworks guiding visitors to QR-coded experiences. Hence, the additional use of digital radio broadcast platforms to distribute the sound works. 

The toolkit also emphasises the crucial role of site-specific field recordings in artistic processes, highlighting the necessity of appropriate audio equipment for capturing spatial sound. This methodology, demonstrated through my initial soundwalk recordings with a Zoom H4n Pro 4-Track Audio Recorder in August 2020, informed the subsequent the case study soundworks, which were further adaptated for a radio programme. Integral to the toolkit, this approach requires practitioners to engage in site-specific recordings to pinpoint frequency ranges that authentically resonate with specific environments, influencing the listener’s psychological and physical states. These culturally and emotionally significant frequencies contribute to the spatial identity, shaping perceptions and interactions with its soundscape. This concept of place, experienced audibly and viscerally, invokes personal memories and associations, making the strategic use of field recordings essential in constructing a culturally coherent sonic landscape. This elevates the soundwork from a simple auditory immersion to an encompassing, immersive sensory experience. [103] 

This was the catalyst for a sequence of modest, practice-based collaborative projects during the development of the toolkit. One such project was a soundwork collaboration with “Chopped and Screwed” DJ and producer Mobbs. Utilising field recordings, the project tested various aspects of the toolkit in its nascent stage. The objective was to craft an audio walk using in transit recordings to assess and refine techniques central to the design of auditory experiences. This initiative aimed to engage listeners in a distinctive manner while also serving as an exploratory platform for advancing methods and practices that would enhance future auditory engagements.[104] Alongside these initiatives, an exhibition I co-curated with Paul Purgas showcased the transposition of field recordings and analogue reel-to-reel tapes. A subsequent podcast featured DeForrest Brown Jr., along with sound theorists and practitioners Steve Goodman and Nkisi, discussing Detroit Techno's impact and the Hardcore Continuum on UK and European dance music. This phase of my research concluded with a workshop by Emma Warren on on “How to document your culture”, succeeded by a roundtable discussion that explored the specific musical and embodied experiences of both participants and audience members. The event adopted a non-hierarchical approach that afforded equal weight to the insights of both the audience and the speakers, thereby facilitating a comprehensive exploration of the spatial and architectural nuances inherent in each experience.[105] 

These projects not only shaped the methodology and methods for the toolkit but also influenced the approach to field recording for the data sets in October 2022. For instance, the recordings coincided with the schedules of the case studies: a poetry festival running on a Saturday afternoon from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and the Eclipse club operating from 10:00 pm to 8:00 am. During these times, ambisonic audio recordings were captured at both venues using a Zoom VRH-8, a device selected for its ability to replicate natural sound perception, offering listeners a sense of presence. The Zoom VRH-8's dual microphones record an immersive sound field, allowing listeners to locate sounds in various directions. This technology documents the unique acoustic environments of the venues, capturing distinctive sound frequencies that reflect each location's ambiance at specific times, and facilitating the evocation of collective sonic memories. 

Accordingly, the toolkit incorporates methodologies that emphasise collaboration, communication, participation, and technological innovation, vital for authentically capturing the essence of specific times and places through sound. These methods merge archival audio and oral histories to forge collective bonds and memories. While stressing the importance of clear, ethical communication to promote sensory engagement, and foster collective creativity for cultural insight. Detailed reports on the case studies and workshop further outline the precise recording strategies used and how active listening practices enhance historical understanding. 

Artists Identification and Invitation 
When determining and developing case studies for sound art commissions, I needed to draft thematic and conceptual overviews to guide artist selection, ensuring it included the required experience, diversity, and inclusivity for broader representation. Once complete, I composed personalised invitations that connected with the artists’ practices, replete with details on each case study’s features and the project’s aims and objectives. 

Paul Purgas, belonging to the Punjabi diaspora, was selected for the first case study, for their integration of sonic art with archives, architecture, and South Asian cultural narratives. The ongoing project, We Found Our Own Reality, (2020–), prominently features archival reel-to-reel recordings from India’s National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, including those of the first Moog synthesiser brought into the country. Purgas’ engagement with these recordings recognises their cultural significance and enhances the discourse on their historical and sociocultural effects, reflecting the core themes of this project and leading to Purgas’ acknowledgment and ensuing invitation. 

For the second case study, I invited DeForrest Brown Jr. because of their extensive knowledge of the socio-political dynamics within Detroit techno music, as demonstrated in their book Assembling a Black Counter Culture, (2022). I sought their unique insights to draw parallels between Coventry and Detroit, cities linked by the automobile industry and historically shaped by significant inward migration. Brown Jr.’s expertise is enhanced by their active engagement as a rhythmanalyst and electronic music artist known as Speaker Music, bringing a wealth of cultural, social, and historical perspectives. Furthermore, Brown Jr.’s participation from North America (New York then Vancouver), brings a variety of ideas and methodologies. Extending an invitation to an individual from outside the regional or national context broadens the academic knowledge base and enhances cross-cultural dialogue, which may lead to innovative research methods and a wider professional network. 

Vivienne Griffin, an Irish sound and visual artist, was crucial to my research due to their expertise in deep listening sessions. Their investment in listening practices is a fundamental aspect of their praxis and ongoing doctoral research. Griffin’s aptitude for engaging both students and non-students in workshops, fostering an environment conducive to full engagement, was a significant factor in the selection. They provided advice and guidance throughout the process, which was vital to the planning and communication phases, crucial for the event’s success. The execution of the consultation and recruitment phases was meticulous, in line with MMU and Coventry University’s ethical standards. Although Griffin did not participate in implementing the requisite ethical protocols, the study upheld rigorous standards and professionalism, especially in administering questionnaires to collect participant experiences. This method validated the workshop’s effectiveness as a research approach. 

It is important to note that each contributing artist was selected for their respective knowledge aligning with the subject of the case studies. Additionally, their diversity minimises any ethnocentric biases inherent to the research and broadens the understanding while adhering to ethical standards. Engaging with varied practices ensures fair research conduct and potentially enhances the research’s quality and scope. 

Artists Agreements and Brief 
After selecting and inviting the artists, I communicated the study’s goals, methods, and expected contributions, as the principal researcher. Subsequently, I negotiated the extent of the artists’ contributions, including creative outputs and honoraria, leading to the finalisation of an agreement. Once reviewed and agreed upon, both parties sign this agreement, formalising the collaboration. Artists are provided with a comprehensive research brief that delineates the project's methodology, data collection protocols, and timeline. This approach is influenced by Michael Asher and Seth Sieglaub historical approach to formalising contractual agreements when commissioned or commissioning conceptual or ephemeral works.[106] It also remains crucial to continue discussions on artist fees as W.A.G.E advises (as highlighted in the Curatorial Toolkit) to ensure fair remuneration. Throughout the process, ongoing communication with the artist through Zoom or in-person meetings is necessary to provide support, ensure the effective delivery of contributions within the research trajectory, and navigate any unforeseen obstacles. 

Site Identification 
Identifying the two case studies on Cox Street was not immediate, although I am conversant with the location of the Ring Road (A4053), the city centre, and the surrounding areas having routinely frequented it growing up in Coventry between 1976 and 1997. Initially, I proposed six case studies, each corresponding with a phase of the Ring Road’s construction stage between 1959 to 1974. However, considering the available time, resources, and inconsistent access to archives, sites, and stakeholders, it was not feasible to examine all the areas adjacent and pinpoint cultural activities relevant to my research question. Furthermore, the fact that the preliminary research for locating and selecting the sites took place online during lockdowns limited the process to remote online searches for accessing digital publics associated with counter-cultural movements and community activities. The final selection was influenced by the volume of information available for each case study, the activities of prominent cultural activists in the city since its reconstruction, and both genealogical and embodied knowledge. 

Furthermore, the identification of the Ring Road, as mentioned in the preface, was influenced by a deep-rooted personal connection with Coventry, the construction of the Ring Road, and attendance at The Eclipse, the focus of the second case study. This connection aligns with auto-ethnographic forms of curation and an alternative approach to genealogy prompted by Renee Green’s video work Partially Buried, (1996), which was featured in a multifaceted curatorial programme I co-organised just before starting this research. Green’s work examines the intersection of personal and communal memory, challenging the traditional limits of genealogy.[107] 

Prompting an analysis of Cox Street as a horizontal stratigraphic column emblematic of the shortcomings in Coventry's post-war reconstruction programme, the examination begins with the Sidney Stringer School for Community Use at the intersection of Primrose Hill and Cox Street as the focal case study. It continues with The Eclipse at the Lower Ford Street and Cox Street corner and leads to the site of a potential post-doctorate third case study of the Coventry University School of Art and Design, located at the Cox Street and Gosford Road junction. Between 1973 and 1974, the conceptual art collective Art & Language resided at the art school situated in the city centre’s civic area, a space designed by Donald Gibson specifically for established forms of arts, culture, and knowledge production, where the collective also served as educators. 

Each site reflects and responds to a unique set of contingent and localised concerns. Migrant communities, living in substandard conditions with limited infrastructure, densely populated the area around the Sidney Stringer School for Community Use upon their arrival in the UK. This situation spurred investment from the Community Development Programme (CDP) for the school’s construction. The Eclipse, located in a former bingo hall at the fringe of the city centre’s redevelopment, circumvented authorities by leveraging a legal loophole to become the first legal all-night rave club. 

Site Analysis 
A standard architectural site analysis evaluates a location for potential development, guiding decisions in architecture, urbanism, and environmental studies. It assesses topography, climate, sociocultural elements, land use history, and community effects. The analysis includes infrastructure review, such as transport and utilities, along with economic factors like property values and business dynamics. It considers legal matters like zoning and environmental laws, as well as aesthetics to ensure design compatibility. This form of analysis typically uncovers redevelopment options or community involvement opportunities. However, for the purposes of this study, I adapted the methodology to also include field and archival audio recordings, expanding the understanding of a site and its complexities, which provides the artists with a more nuanced and extensive range of materials. 

The site analysis collation phase entailed mapping the location’s features and categorising collected data into specific groups, ensuring coherent documentation via software and recorded items. Concurrently I engaged with individuals and communities on a grass-root level which gave access to independent archives featuring digitally transferred audio and visual recordings on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. To complement these materials, ethical permission was sought for the use of scanned documents and texts, including pre-existing doctoral research and census data. The census data were transposed into visual diagrams that illustrated the demographic characteristics of each location during a specific period. Additional augmentation came from examining secondary resources such as maps, architectural drawings, photographs, and audio recordings from established archives, including the British Library Sound Archives and media departments, Coventry Archives, and the University of Leicester’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage resource, along with MACE Archives and the National Archives. The study period also included on-site visits for primary forms of documentation and ambisonic recordings to capture the area’s acoustic qualities. This data, coupled with insights from in-person and online interviews with Mohani Bains, Aidy Dowling, Geoffrey Holroyd, Dhanesh Virk, and individuals who preferred to remain anonymous, complied with ethical standards. The final analysis synthesised all findings to understand the site’s possibilities and limitations, resulting in two detailed data sets for the case studies.  

Systematising data sets following archival and ethical guidelines. 

Two digital data sets focused on each case study have been designed and are stored remotely online in OneDrive and hosted on the website with encrypted passwords to facilitate remote access via the Appendices for their respective soundwork research and development. Organising the digital materials within these data sets required a balance of ease of use, update capabilities, and data integrity. The setup complies with the standards and practices of the British Library and the Open Archival Information System (OAIS Model) to ensure the long-term preservation, accessibility, and reliability of the digital content. Furthermore, I have established strict protocols for data preservation, which include keeping records in their original order and providing a detailed description of each record with Dublin Core metadata for clarity. These data sets prioritise clarity and ethical standards, ensuring the anonymity and privacy of participants. 

The collection process, vetted by the Arts & Humanities’ Research Ethics and Governance Committee, adheres to ethical guidelines to avoid biases, and promote transparency. Data storage involves thorough archiving and encryption. Distribution to artists balances access and privacy, detailed in Artists Agreements, and includes anonymisation and secure transfers to comply with GDPR, HIPAA, and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) policies, safeguarding legal and ethical standards. Finally, the analysis of anonymised questionnaires from the listening workshop was conducted impartially, ensuring findings reflect the data accurately within its context. The curatorial decision to compile and organise information into data sets is influenced by early post-Duchampian conceptual art and curatorial strategies, notably Michael Asher’s site-specific artistic practice. This approach is examined in the literature review and also connects with Jack Burnham’s exhibition and writing on System Esthetics, (1969), Kynaston McShine’s characterisation of the artist’s work in the INFORMATION exhibition, (1970), and Benjamin Buchloh’s analysis of the period’s aesthetics and procedural relationship with administrative and bureaucratic aesthetics.[108]  

By interpreting and applying artistic methodologies and methods within curatorial practice, this study aims to address and integrate artists’ needs, underpinned by interdisciplinary approaches such as the “rhizome” and “situated knowledges”, as discussed in the literature review. I hypothesise that this research questions established cultural hierarchies by highlighting materials that are less recognised, as evidenced by numerical data, such as census data, combined with information from rave flyers regarding the frequency of DJs’ performances at the Eclipse. Additionally, the study converts the gradual increase in beats per minute (BPMs) over time into diagrams, simplifying the interpretation of data and positioning the data sets as a counter-narrative within the arts sector.[109] 

Case Study #1: A Poetry Festival organised by the Indian Workers’ Association (IWA) on 11 February 1978, at the Sidney Stringer Centre for School and Community Use, Cox Street, Coventry.

The data set for the first case study chronicles the activities of the Indian Workers Association (IWA) in Coventry. It centres on the poetry and creative writing of its members, who addressed the socio-cultural effects of local post-war reconstruction and the regional de-industrialisation, along with the economic dependence on the automotive sector. These developments precipitated widespread unemployment and consequent societal challenges, notably racism.110 During this period, Sidney Stringer Centre for School and Community Use, a newly established institution with a progressive attitude towards multiculturalism, actively promoted the use of its public spaces. Focusing on migrant populations and adult education, the school established itself as the central community hub for most residents in the Hillfields area of St Michael’s Ward. 

Commencing with the exploration of the Indian Workers Association (IWA) archives within the Harbhajan Virk collection at Coventry Archives, alongside pertinent academic research from Warwick University housed at the Modern Records Centre, this research illuminates the historical and political engagement of the IWA and the complexities of multiculturalism within inner-city schools, notably Sidney Stringer. Additional support for the study is derived from various media materials, including public lectures, news articles, broadcasts, and personal accounts recorded by Ajmer Bains's son, Mohani Bains, in conjunction with Dhanesh Virk. Additionally, Dhanesh Virk is compiling their father, Harbhajan Virk’s archives as part of a longer-term project. Plus an interview with Geoffrey Holroyd, the first headmaster of Sidney Stringer School, who generously shared with me documents such as meeting minutes and proposals, which outlined plans for a broad and holistic curriculum and community engagement. The data set also includes reel-to-reel tapes of the poetry event and audio CDs documenting IWA activities, such as meetings. With authorisation from Coventry Archives, these recordings have been digitised for this research and are being released publicly for the first time through a sound art commission by Paul Purgas, which is integral to this PhD project. Additionally, census data provided background information on employment and migration statistics, along with historical maps, architectural plans of the school, and planning documents related to the compulsory purchase of homes and demolition of former factories, and importantly documents pertaining to the Community Development Programme’s (CDP) intervention in the Hillfields area to implement a school and social community centre for its constituents. By adopting a comprehensive methodological approach, the data set aims to encapsulate the community’s experiences, linking historical events to contemporary governmental policies on migration and the economy. 

Case Study #2: The UK’s First Legal All-Night Inner-City Rave Club, The Eclipse (1990-1992), Cox Street, Coventry.
The data set for the second case study probes the history of The Eclipse, acknowledged as the UK’s first legal inner-city rave club. The Eclipse operated from 1990 to 1992 in a disused bingo hall located in the fringe spaces directly beneath the Ring Road. It includes extensive documentation and event records, meticulously cataloguing the DJs and promoters orchestrating the weekly raves and thoroughly details the club’s vast cultural impact. Encompassing multiple forms of media such as flyers, DJ mixes, and cassette tapes converted from their analogue origins. It examines the innovative music technologies that facilitated the widespread growth of sample culture and the swift increase in beats per minute (BPM). This analysis contributes to the understanding of how the genre of electronic dance music, known as “Hardcore”, which preceded the evolution of “Jungle”. Additionally, the data set features oral histories from pivotal figures active during the era of The Eclipse, including DJs, MCs, and promoters. Independent grassroots archivist and creative producer Aidy Dowling obtained these through their archival projects, substantially enriching the research. 

The data set also encompasses contemporaneous socio-political materials, including newspaper reports and audio-visual media featuring documentaries and news segments on momentous events such as the Poll Tax Riots, Black Wednesday, and the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. These resources actively contextualise the emergence of rave culture, which materialised in tandem with significant societal events during periods of widespread protests and economic instability. The data set enhances this historical narrative by incorporating quantitative data, with census records illuminating demographic shifts. Additionally, historical maps and blueprints of the venue—once a bingo hall and tavern prior to its demolition for the Ring Road’s construction—reveal the site’s physical and cultural metamorphosis. Adopting a comprehensive methodological approach, the data set aims to capture the collective ethos of the Eclipse’s auditory community, offering a detailed account of the club’s enduring influence on rave culture and its confluence with significant societal transformations. 

Active Listening Workshop by Vivienne Griffin, conducted at the Delia Derbyshire Building, College of Arts and Society, Coventry University, Cox Street, Coventry, on 11 July 2023. 
The Active Listening Workshop, led by artist Vivienne Griffin took place across two sites, the Delia Derbyshire College of Arts and Society, followed by a soundwalk to the intersection of Cox Street and Lower Ford Road beneath Coventry’s Ring Road, providing participants with a sensory-rich exploration of sound, focusing on the acoustic characteristics of the area. The workshop sought to transcend hearing and engage participants in “deep listening”, a practice involving meditative initiation, auditory focus, analogue synthesis, and forensic analysis. The objective was to identify and interpret the harmonic and monophonic sounds and frequencies labelled as “Drone” associated with this unique acoustic environment. 

Prior to the workshop, ambisonic field recordings of drone sounds were strategically captured on Cox Street. These sounds not only mirrored the sonic activity near Coventry Ring Road but also connected with the historical context of our data sets, which included Indian classical music, poetry, and electronic compositions. This created a sonic bridge between past and present, tradition and modernity. The workshop’s approach was intentionally immersive and multi-sensory, employing innovative listening techniques informed by Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Meditations”, Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s “Forensic Listening”, and Maryanne Amacher’s psychoacoustic concept of “Making the Third Ear”. These methods guided participants to experience and dissect sounds in order to identify and elevate everyday noises, reshaping their understanding of listening and recognising its potential as a progressive and expansive form of knowledge exchange. 

The workshop, which featured five participants selected based on age, local connection, and understanding of the project, upheld clear exclusion criteria to maintain integrity. Recruitment was conducted through an open call on social media and direct email invitations via a Coventry University representative, ensuring inclusivity and informed consent. Participants received a detailed project brief that emphasised transparency and the option to withdraw at any time. Incident management procedures were established, and data was anonymised, stored securely, and scheduled for deletion six months post-research in adherence to ethical standards. The workshop commenced with a meditation session, linking deep listening with formal meditation practices found in contemporary classical music, including extended vocal techniques. Breathing exercises and physical relaxation were emphasised as foundational, priming participants for vocalisation and an understanding of spatiality. Progressing through exercises in timing and musical rhythm, such as clapping and foot-stomping, the workshop then explored ambient sounds, frequencies, and vibrations within the environment. This approach delved into psychoacoustics—the interpretation of sound signals—which can produce additional auditory sensations. 

Inspired by Pauline Oliveros’ work with software and early computers, Griffin introduced the use of tuning forks, condenser microphones, and Max MSP software to create a temporary experimental sound lab. This lab produced dense layers of sound that corresponded with the localised sounds emanating from the Ring Road. These layers sought to mirror the acoustic frequencies and sustained tones of the field recordings, characterised by the rhythm and hum of vehicular sounds. They introduced new auditory dimensions through tempo and delay, with participants gaining hands-on experience with synthesisers and tape loops to recreate these sounds. In addition, participants were invited to use polyphonic and harmonic vocal techniques to contribute their voices and co-create a collective drone. This sound-making process was incorporated because it promotes a sense of community and broadens auditory perception. The resultant sounds were recorded and played back, forming an improvised compilation of sounds and harmonies.   

Furthermore, data collection, which incorporated participant testimonies and discussions, proved pivotal in providing a spectrum of viewpoints on active listening and soundwalking. Through these activities, participants acquired the ability to discern various sounds, engaging in discussions about their interactions with the environment and society. The creative output included audio pieces crafted by participants, reflecting their comprehension of the distinctive characteristics of the various acoustic environments where Griffin’s workshop took place. This approach aimed to transcend auditory exploration, integrating systematic research with the subjective richness of personal and collective experiences to elucidate how inner-city sounds sculpt memory and perception. Ultimately, this process enables participants and fellow researchers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the profound impact of everyday acoustic environments. 

Website and Printed Matter Design Brief 
Visual documents pinpointing each of the examined sites were used in tandem with the RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) colour model, which is a primary colour model utilised in digital and light-based systems due to its alignment with human vision and technological applications. Its standardisation across digital devices and processes, such as photography and web design, makes it familiar to wider audiences, thus increasing accessibility. The background images of the sites, as well as a photo taken above the city centre development, were saturated with either red, green, or blue, then superimposed with a bold typeface to further capture people’s attention. This particular font, called FolioConBol, historically used by the conceptual art collective Art & Language, which originated at Coventry Polytechnic now Coventry University on Cox Street, was chosen for its history and proximity to the each of the case studies. Additionally, the collective is internationally acclaimed for integrating intellectual discourse and theory into their art, resonating with the conceptual art movement. By prioritising typography as their critical medium, they aimed to challenge conventional art forms, shifting the emphasis from the individual to collective forms of art-making that utilise text to convey ideas and blur the boundaries between written language and visual art. Their methodology, deeply rooted in conceptual art, gave equal weight to the foundational ideas and the discussions they generated. Consequently, typography, colour, and visual documents associated with the sites became pivotal in the evolution of the design brief (refer to the Appendices). This approach captured the research’s conceptual essence and provided the graphic designer with extensive insight into the design’s aims and objectives. The value of this approach was further reinforced by the wealth of materials accrued in the data sets associated with the project. 

Benedicte Gyldenstierne Sehested. (2024). Posters with QR codes documented at the site of each Case Study on Cox Street, Coventry.
For the website thesis text, accessibility and legibility guided the design direction, influencing the employment of the “Motorway typeface”—a functional font used for civic purposes. Budget and schedule details were crucial for setting realistic scope and timelines. Unfortunately, the original designer, with whom I had a longstanding working relationship, withdrew due to personal issues. This necessitated a more hands-on approach with the new designer, who was in comparison relatively inexperienced and unfamiliar with the project’s scope and desired aesthetic. A detailed brief with visual and typographical references and regular updates was required to meet the deadline and prevent further delays.[111]   

Benedicte Gyldenstierne Sehested. (2024). Posters with QR codes documented at the site of each Case Study on Cox Street, Coventry.
In the context of this project, it has been necessary to recognise the pivotal role of typography in conceptual art and in ephemeral practices, namely sound art and DIY publishing. Identifying its capacity to transcend visual form and convey information enables a curatorial focus on sonic and historical documentation. Consequently, the selection of fonts and layout was crucial to imbue the content with nuanced meaning. This is particularly significant for ensuring clarity and navigability for audiences accessing soundworks via QR codes on posters installed at each of the sites. Furthermore, typographical solutions were imperative for organising documentation within data sets to facilitate clear archiving. Moreover, the adoption of consistent typographic branding for the website and posters, which has been integral to establishing the project’s identity.[112]  

Website Design as Distribution Platform 
The development of the website for this practice-based PhD was informed by the need to distribute soundworks via QR codes, initially prompted by COVID-19 restrictions, but also the aim of maintaining visibility across case study sites. A site was created to store and stream audio files, unforeseen circumstances and budget restrictions necessitated the construction of a new site, which doubles as the host for the soundworks and a digital component of the PhD thesis including each Case Study Data Sets, curatorial toolkit, and other relevant documents. For visual details on the various stages of design, please refer to the “Artwork & Website Design Brief” section in the Appendices. It also hosts a future curatorial research and production initiative titled “WE VERSIONS”, which will apply the new knowledge and curatorial techniques developed during this practice-based research project.[113] Furthermore, when constructing the new site, a mobile-first approach was prioritised, acknowledging that most QR code scans occur on mobile devices, thus ensuring a user-friendly interface that adheres to accessibility standards. Every soundwork is accompanied by detailed information that aligns with physical posters at case study locations, forming part of a comprehensive distribution strategy that includes social media, print, and broadcast radio channels.[114] Targeted marketing efforts and engagement with specific stakeholder groups and students in Coventry are critical to extending the platform’s visibility and reach.[115] 

The content management of the website is systematic, with clear criteria established for inclusion and arrangement. This ensures that all content, including the soundworks, the PhD thesis, and accompanying materials, is easily discoverable and accessible to users. Access to certain materials, such as the PhD thesis and accompanying materials, is restricted behind a passcode for privacy and security purposes. The website’s design considers legal considerations, adhering to copyright laws, protects user privacy, and plans for sustainability and adaptability in anticipation of future technological advancements to ensure long-term access to content. In short, the methodological foundation of this website is designed to ensure not only immediate effectiveness but also the capacity for future development and broadening of scope. 

Preparing and editing audio files for broadcast 
Before preparing the audio files for broadcast, I researched digital radio platforms near Cox Street for disseminating the works. I discovered Hillz FM in Hillfields, Coventry, and reached out to them. Additionally, I involved NTS Radio, which has been a consistent collaborative partner since 2011 on numerous projects at the ICA, and from 2017, either independently or in conjunction with Camden Art Centre. Recognising NTS Radio’s rapid rise from a DIY music blog to an international radio station, I acknowledge them within this study as a central figure in the industry, comparable to Boiler Room in the digital realm and to Kiss FM, accessible both online and via FM frequency.  

Consequently, to be broadcast on NTS Radio, a programming panel will vet the soundworks before consenting to airing them. Additionally, they specified that the programme must not surpass 60 minutes due to their scheduling of programs in one- or two-hour increments. Hillz FM, due to its close proximity to Cox Street and a deep understanding of the area's diverse histories — enhanced by a detailed description of the works — was immediately willing to accommodate the project. Similarly, Camden Art Centre was receptive to the proposal, and it will be published through its podcast platform, Camden Art Audio in March 2024.

The subsequent phase involved preparing audio files, a critical methodological step crucial for the fluid delivery of content to audiences. The preparation primarily focused on managing file sizes and programming lengths, both key factors that significantly enhance the operational efficiency and quality of broadcasts. Optimising file size is crucial as it affects storage, transmission bandwidth, and download times—all vital for streaming or broadcasting content. Smaller sizes lead to faster transfers and less buffering, improving listener experience. A consideration that extended to website uploads, this stage of the process was delayed, as was the broadcast, because Brown Jr.’s original Dismantling the Hardcore Continuum, (2023) was approximately 52 minutes and 586 MB—too large for both broadcasting and website hosting. Therefore, I requested that Brown Jr. not only reduce the file size but also condense the soundwork’s duration to 30-35 minutes for radio broadcast and to 20 minutes for both radio and a potential future cassette tape release.[116] Unfortunately, due to unforeseen technical issues and a prolonged tour as Speaker Music, Brown Jr. was unable to access the original soundwork for an extended period. Consequently, this delayed the uploading and broadcasting of the new “radio edit” entitled Dismantling the Hardcore Continuum – Futurythmic Dub, (2024) and the production of the “cassette edit” of the soundwork. It also provided DeForrest with an opportunity to re-evaluate the theoretical intention of the soundwork and “try to think of a meta-musical expression of techno that intricately metabolises and deconstructs samples of the recorded audio, tracks, and documentaries defining the acceleration of domestic and imported electronic dance music in the UK from an Ex-American perspective”.[117]  

This delay, due to an earlier misunderstanding highlights the importance of pre-determining the length of the soundwork for distribution and broadcast parameters, as well as ensuring that the file size maintains sufficient audio quality to prevent sound fidelity degradation. It necessitates employing audio compression techniques like MP3 to achieve an optimal balance between file size and audio quality.[118] As stated, the programme length specifically relates to the precise timing of content segments in radio, where time is an inviolable constraint and programmes must fit into specified slots. Therefore, the methodological preparation of audio files for radio requires a fusion of technical precision and creative judgment, ensuring that the content delivered is of high quality and appropriately formatted to meet the temporal and technical demands of digital radio broadcasting and website access. 

It is also critical to unpack the decision to edit a collective presentation of soundworks with site-specific field recordings as a radio program dedicated to Cox Street because it performs a crucial role in the auditory documentation and appreciation of the area. By weaving together field recordings, sound works and insightful appraisals into a 60-minute experience, the programme not only assures narrative cohesion but also fosters a comprehensive understanding of the locale's cultural and historical context. This amalgamation allows the soundworks to both transcend and promote the often narrow or disregarded distinctions associated with Sound art and disseminated an educative and immersive journey, offering listeners a continuous exploration of Cox Street's ambiance and heritage. 

The ambition of this format rests in its potential to engage listeners. Instead of offering isolated fragments, the structured programme guides the audience through a virtual sonic embodiment of space, aiming to augment the impact and resonance of the experience. Plus, the inherent behaviours of (digital) radio listeners facilitate the transcendence of geographical boundaries, inviting wider audiences to immerse themselves in the cultural re-evaluation of Cox Street as a pivotal site of resistance against post-war cultural conventions. 

Additional to audience engagement, the radio programme has the capacity to engage new audiences and serves as an archival tool, going beyond the content of the dedicated website. It captures the acoustic environment and societal perceptions of Cox Street, offering an invaluable resource for future historical and cultural heritage endeavours. This preservation acts as an auditory time capsule, maintaining and significantly contributes to celebrating and recognising the importance of local culture, with the intention of instilling civic pride among residents and the local authorities. Plus, the initiative adopts an innovative approach to media distribution, reimagining traditional broadcasting to offer new avenues for artistic and cultural engagement. The soundworks, when published as a unified radio programme, present Cox Street's cultural heritage compellingly and accessibly, engaging a broad audience and endorsing an inclusive, forward-thinking approach to cultural expression. This dynamic mode of expression is further enhanced by active listening strategies aimed at deepening understanding and perception. Additionally, research indicates that active listening is a low-risk, potentially beneficial approach for facilitating knowledge exchange within the context of speaker (broadcaster)-listener relationships.[119] 

[98] Auto-ethnography is a qualitative research approach intertwining personal narrative and cultural, social, and political contexts. It is a reflective method employing first-person storytelling, often challenging traditional research norms by emphasising subjectivity and personal insight. While some critique its lack of objectivity, proponents value its depth and personal relevance. Ethical considerations are paramount due to the intimate nature of the work, which is utilised in various disciplines from education to psychology. This method embodies a politically and ethically aware research paradigm that enriches understanding of cultural experiences.

[99] Gökçe, G., Saiba Varma, S., & Watanabe, C. (2020). [Online]. ‘A Manifesto for Patchwork Ethnography’ in Fieldsights. Available at:

Gökçe Günel, Saiba Varma, and Chika Watanabe’s co-authored “Patchwork Ethnography” offers a methodological approach to ethnographic research, which is outlined in this following quotation: “By patchwork ethnography, we refer to ethnographic processes and protocols designed around short-term field visits, using fragmentary yet rigorous data and other innovations that resist the fixity, holism, and certainty demanded in the publication process. Patchwork ethnography refers not to one-time, short, instrumental trips and relationships à la consultants but rather, to research efforts that maintain the long-term commitments, language proficiency, contextual knowledge, and slow thinking that characterises so-called traditional fieldwork while fully attending to how changing living and working conditions are profoundly and irrevocably changing knowledge production... [Patchwork ethnography] expands what we consider acceptable materials, tools, and objects of our analyses… [It] helps us refigure what counts as knowledge and what does not, what counts as research and what does not, and how we can transform realities that have been described to us as “limitations” and “constraints” into openings for new insights”.

[100] Studio etiquette encompasses the tacit codes of conduct essential for fostering a professional atmosphere in any creative space. This protocol is crucial across various studios—be it for music, dance, photography, or broadcasting. For example, in music recording studios, respecting the space is paramount; equipment and instruments are to be handled with care, and food and drinks are to be kept at bay to avoid damage. Timeliness is a given, with sessions often on a strict schedule. Artists must arrive prepared and maintain a low noise level to prevent interrupting the creative flow. Collaboration is encouraged, with respect for differing ideas and a willingness to accept feedback. Cleanliness is also a part of this decorum, necessitating individuals to tidy up after themselves. These behaviours also apply to general studio principles include clear and professional communication with staff, maintaining confidentiality on sensitive projects, and showing courtesy to all, reinforcing a smoothly operating and cooperative environment. These practices are not just about personal discipline; they’re about making the studio a conducive collegial place for creativity and safety, ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved.

[101] Larmon, G.A. (2013). The Legacy of Designer Norman Potter. Available at:

[102] Cross, N. (1982). ‘Designerly Ways of Knowing’ in Design Studies. 3(4). pp. 221-227.

Abdullah, D. (2022). Designerly Ways of Knowing: A Working Inventory of Things a Designer Should Know. (Eindhoven: Onomatopee). 

A further design toolkit reference is Nigel Cross’ “Designerly Ways of Knowing”, (1982), which acknowledges design as a unique discipline characterised by distinct processes that diverge from those in science and the humanities, emphasising creativity and synthesis. Meanwhile, Dana Abdullah’s 2022 book of the same name critiques the commodification and oversimplification of design thinking, marking a shift away from the depth and rigour that Cross underscored. Inspired by Antonio Gramsci’s concept of critical self-awareness, Abdullah challenges designers to critically engage with their practice and contemplate its wider societal impacts.

[103] Chris Watson: The Art of Location Recording. (2018). Available at:

Cabaret Voltaire is a historically significant avant-garde group formed in Sheffield, England, in 1973, including Stephen Mallinder, Richard H. Kirk, and initially Chris Watson. Renowned for pioneering the industrial music genre, the group blended electronic sounds with early techno and house music experiments. Their innovative work, characterised by found sounds, tape manipulation, and pre-sampled sounds, served as both musical endeavour and cultural commentary, reflecting the post-industrial landscape of Northern England and broader societal issues. Beyond music, Cabaret Voltaire influenced performance art and late 20th-century culture. Challenging traditional music concepts, they explored experimental sounds, impacting various genres such as electronic, dance, and experimental music, and contributing to the DIY ethic in music production and distribution. Named after the Zurich nightclub central to the early Dada movement, their approach combined the anarchic, experimental, and politically charged. Cabaret Voltaire’s work, a reflection and influencer of the cultural and political zeitgeist, underscoring the importance of cultural representation and promoting marginalised cultures in mainstream arts.

[104] Chopped and screwed music, crystallised in 1990s Houston as a hip-hop sub-genre, is inextricably linked to DJ Screw (Robert Earl Davis Jr.). Characterised by its decelerated tempo, “chopping” techniques, pitch modulation, and complex acoustics, it articulates the Southern hip-hop narrative and diverges from the faster-paced East and West coastal styles. DJ Screw’s mixtapes, which slowed beats to a languid cadence, cultivated an avid local following and became emblematic of the Houston hip-hop identity. The genre’s ascent in the 1990s-2000s, propelled by artists like UGK and Paul Wall, solidified its role as both a musical form and a voice for marginalised Southern communities. Current ethnomusicological research, examines its regional cultural significance and its reflective commentary on socio-economic realities, marking its evolution as a dynamic force in the hip-hop continuum.

[105] Links to supplementary practice-based projects: 

Enter Netmancer. (2020). Available at:

Paul Purgas: We Found Our Own Reality. (2020). Available at:

Public Knowledge: Assembling a Black Counter Culture. (2021). Available at:   

[106] The development of artist contracts, specifically the influential “Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement”, can be traced back to Seth Siegelaub and lawyer Robert Projansky in 1971. Their collaborative work aimed to address the inequities artists faced in the art market, particularly focusing on establishing resale royalties for artists, a concept that was controversial but ground-breaking at the time. This agreement was designed to ensure that artists would benefit from the increasing value of their work, especially upon resale, which often saw a considerable appreciation in price that artists traditionally did not partake in. As the art market evolved, the original agreement’s terms needed to adapt. The updated version of the agreement in 2019 still maintains the same essential structure, where terms set by the artist at the first transfer of an artwork carry forward as covenants throughout all future ownership stages​​. The foundation of both the original and revised agreements acknowledges that the value of an artwork is and will be affected by each and every other work the artist has created or will create, recognising the interconnected value of an artist’s body of work ​​Siegelaub’s approach was also significant in emphasising the relationship between artist, collector, and dealer, acknowledging that dealers often play a critical role in presenting and negotiating agreements and that they, alongside artists, should be supported in this process​​. Critiques of the 1971 Agreement highlighted its focus on individual artists’ success and called for broader models of redistribution to support a wider range of artists, particularly those who are financially precarious​​. The new agreement also reflects a growing trend of artists using their sales to support philanthropic efforts, redirecting a portion of sales or resale profits to charitable foundations or causes they support, thereby addressing the desire for a more equitable redistribution of wealth generated by their work​​. 

Michael Asher’s approach to contractual agreements in their art practice was deeply intertwined with their philosophy of artist responsibility and critical self-reflection. Contracts were designed to protect the situational specificity of their artworks, ensuring their material and temporal interests. This was a response to the commercial art market’s practices, which often did not align with their site-specific work. Asher’s contractual agreement from 1975, for instance, laid out detailed conditions for the commissioning, installation, and potential future dismantling and reinstallation of their work, emphasising their control over the artwork’s integrity. These agreements were pioneering in their explicit articulation of the artist’s ongoing rights and the conceptual nature of their work, underscoring the importance of critical engagement with the socioeconomic conditions of artistic production. Asher’s contracts reflect a comprehensive and analytical approach to the artist’s role in the reception and distribution of their work, challenging traditional expectations and exploring the boundaries of artist responsibility.

[107] This was part of a year-long publishing and curatorial project that I co-curated with Professor Alun Rowlands, under the guise of Novel, between May 2018 and 2019, titled A reproduction of three weeks in May 1970 as part of Reading International. Renee Green’s Partially Buried, (1996) offers a metaphorical journey into the contingent, cultural, and historical legacies of a community and a location, weaving together texts, photographs, video, and audio to reflect on constructed histories and memories. Green’s genealogical traces in Partially Buried resonated on a personal level because it highlighted a method of how to transpose an intricate web of historical, cultural, and personal connections that shape our subjective understanding of places and events. Through this work, Green delves into their own lineage to challenge notions of race, identity, and historical narratives, positing that an understanding of a locale is deeply influenced by its interwoven historical events.

[108] Burnham, J. (1968). ‘SYSTEMS ESTHETICS’ in Artforum. (September 1968). pp. 31-35. 

Jack Burnham’s article SYSTEMS ESTHETICS for Artforum in 1968 introduced novel ideas on a post-formalist artistic practice and a systems-based art alternative to conventional methods of artmaking. Burnham identified a “polarity between the finite, unique work of high art... And conceptions which can loosely be termed unobjects”, diagnosing a general “movement away from art objects” that challenged the illusion that “art resides in specific objects”. Burnham states, “futurologists are concentrating on the role of the technocracy: its decision-making autonomy, how it manages the central storage of information, and the techniques used for smoothly implementing social change. In the automated state, power resides less in control of the traditional symbols of wealth than in information”. Kyneston McShine’s text for the INFORMATION, (1970) exhibition catalogue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art further illuminate this discourse, acknowledging the need for art to evolve with cultural dynamics and to engage broader audiences through accessible and imaginative modes of communication.

[109] To identify the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of a song or music track, the software tool used was Ableton Live. This program is classified as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and comes equipped with built-in BPM detection tools. These tools are capable of analysing audio files and determining their tempo accurately.

[110] Ghost Town racism and resistance - The Specials play Coventry 1981. (2019). Available at:

Schüller, C. (1981). ‘Ghost Town racism and resistance - The Specials play Coventry 1981’ in The Leveller. 59.  

Chris Schüller’s 1981 The Leveller article with Alastair Indge’s photos captures a tense period in Coventry, marked by racial violence and the response from The Specials with their Ghost Town single and an anti-racist concert. Amidst repeated attacks, including the fatal stabbing of Satnam Singh Gill and the assault on Susan Cheema, the city’s Asian community was notably absent from the usually busy Coventry Precinct. The formation of the Coventry Committee Against Racism and subsequent march drew aggressive opposition from fascist-affiliated skinheads. In the face of inadequate police protection, Asian residents formed self-defence groups. Escalating violence saw further attacks, such as the tragic bet-driven murder of Dr. Amal Dharry. In this climate, The Specials hosted a festival at Butts Stadium to support racial harmony and anti-racist efforts, though turnout was low. The Specials’ concert became a dynamic expression of the urgent need to address racism, underscored by Rhoda Dakar’s performance of The Boiler, a song confronting sexual violence. The event epitomised artistic resistance to the racism rife in Coventry, rallying for unity and action through music.

[111] It is important to highlight that since 2007, under the guise of Novel, I have co-curated and edited a number of independent publications, which “act in-between the potential performance of a script, and the indeterminate transcript of an event. The journal hosts a cacophony of voices that coalesce around writing as a core material for a number of artists exploring language and the speculative force of fiction”. Plus, I co-curated In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955, which showcased the often-overlooked serial artist publications from 1955 onwards. The exhibition traced 1960s’ small press to the 1980s and 1990s’ DIY zine culture, highlighting how artists continually adopt magazines and postcards for innovative forms of art production.

[112] Typography in sound art, as epitomised by the Fluxus movement, is pivotal, marrying historical context with contemporary expression and enabling the documentation and dissemination of ephemeral works. Hannah Higgins in Fluxus Experience, (2002) discusses the integral nature of visual elements, including typography, within Fluxus, while Liz Kotz in Words to Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art, (2007) stresses typography’s role in documenting transient performances. Ken Friedman, Owen Smith and Lauren Sawchyn in The Fluxus Performance Workbook, (2002) recognise the typographic element in Fluxus as a conduit for audience engagement and Anne H. Berry in The Black Experience in Graphic Design: 1968–2018, (2022) observes that typography harmonises the visual with the auditory, guiding the audience’s conceptual journey. Finally, Catherine De Zegher in 2005 posits that typography can reshape a work’s conceptual framework affirming typography’s critical role in sound art practices, extending beyond the aesthetic to encapsulate the conceptual and functional essence of the practice. 

Higgins, H. (2002). Fluxus Experience. (Redwood City: University of California Press). 

Kotz, L. (2007). Words to Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art. (Cambridge: MIT Press). 

Friedman, K., Smith, O. & Sawchyn, L. (2002). [Online]. The Fluxus Performance Workbook. (Performance Research E-Publications). Available at:

Berry, A. H. (2022). The Black Experience in Graphic Design: 1968–2018. (New York: Allworth Press).

[113] WE VERSIONS: A curatorial, research, and production advisory based in London, UK, operating internationally. WE VERSIONS is a curatorial, research, and production advisory that creates public soundworks to foster civic engagement. WE VERSIONS seeks to excavate the collective voices and cultural activities of communities by sonically mapping their spatial environments and historical contexts. WE VERSIONS uncovers new vocabularies and critical insights into the environments we inhabit and traverse, challenging established narratives to cultivate novel explorative auditory experiences. WE VERSIONS connects the past with the present and future, emphasising active listening and inclusivity, amplifying voices previously unheard in mainstream discourse accessible to all.    

[114] Posters have been crucial in documenting the transient nature of performance art, notably in Allan Kaprow’s “Happenings” and Al Ruppersberg’s “Singing Posters” from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, serving as communicative, historical, and artistic records. Kaprow’s “Happenings” (the term coined by Kaprow in the late 1950s) were improvisational performances that merged art with everyday life. Each “Happening”, unique to its audience and setting, was memorialised in posters, providing a lasting record of these events with reference to their content through abstract imagery or text. Judith F. Rodenbeck, in Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings, (2011), emphasised the critical role of these ephemeral documents in historical analysis and reconstruction. Al Ruppersberg’s “Singing Posters” merge visual and auditory art, with posters featuring song lyrics that encourage audience participation, blurring the distinction between documentation and performance. Lucy R. Lippard, in Six Years: The Dematerialisation of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, (1973), describes how these works defy conventional art documentation, functioning not only as documents but also as integral components of the artwork. The use of posters is significant because they document transient, performative, and ethereal artworks. They serve as points of engagement and as objects for historical analysis, and, In the words of Owen Smith in Fluxus: The History of an Attitude, (1998), ephemeral artefacts “become part of the art historical narrative, providing insights into the cultural and social context of the time”. 

Rodenbeck, J. F. (2011). Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings. (Cambridge: MIT Press). 

Lippard, L. R. (1973). Six Years: The Dematerialisation of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972. (Redwood City: University of California Press). 

Smith, O. (1998). Fluxus: The History of an Attitude. (San Diego: San Diego State University Press).

[115] Social media marketing strategies encompass content creation, community engagement, and platform-specific tactics, fostering interaction and visibility through hashtags, and partnerships. Notable is the utilisation of Instagram and Facebook, TikTok and X (formerly Twitter).

[116] Vail, J. R. (2021). [Online]. Cassette Tape 2.0 Media Plasticity in Underground Music Networks. Available at:

The medium of cassette tapes holds historical significance, as exemplified by Wajid Yaseen’s “Tape Letters” project. This project documents the communication methods of South Asians who migrated to the UK from 1960-1980, particularly the Potwari-speaking community’s innovative use of cassettes. Additionally, Eclipse was notably leading in recording and distributing DJ rave tapes, a hallmark of bootleg culture. However, with the proliferation of CDs and the need for more advanced technology and licenses, Eclipse encountered significant resistance from music publishers. Nevertheless, the cassette’s revival in experimental music, now as limited-edition artisanal items on platforms like Bandcamp, with over 18 million cassette units sold in 2017, marking a seismic shift indicative of digital media’s impact on the organisation and preservation of music. For further reading on the revival of cassette tapes as a mainstream media read Cassette Tape 2.0: Media Plasticity in Underground Music Networks by James R. Vail.

[117] The statement was shared via email on January 15, 2024, and is discussed in detail in a subsequent interview conducted between DeForrest and me on 16 January 2024, which is detailed in Chapter 4 of the thesis and available as a transcript in the Appendix.

[118] In the context of music compression for radio and web applications, lossy compression methods such as MP3 and AAC are commonly employed to reduce file sizes significantly while preserving acceptable sound quality. MP3 leverages perceptual coding to eliminate data less perceptible to the ear, optimising storage space. AAC is preferred for its enhanced efficiency at lower bit rates. Alternatively, lossless compression formats like FLAC and ALAC offer perfect audio fidelity, at the expense of larger file sizes relative to their lossy counterparts. Variable Bit Rate (VBR) encoding is instrumental in managing file size by adjusting bit rates according to audio complexity, which minimises quality loss. Compression algorithms are refined by psychoacoustic models that identify and remove inaudible frequencies. Moreover, real-time streaming protocols such as Icecast and SHOUTcast, along with standardised web platform formats like SoundCloud, are pivotal for efficient audio streaming. These methodologies collectively ensure a compromise between efficiency and sound integrity, fulfilling listener preferences and the exigencies of broadcast/streaming technicalities.

[119] Weger, H., Castle Bell, G. Minei, E & Robinson, C, M. (2014). “The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions” in International Journal of Listening. 28(1). pp. 13-31. doi: 10.1080/10904018.2013.813234.