This interdisciplinary, practice-based research explores the potential of sound in specific locales, aiming to promote knowledge exchange, embodiment, and understanding of the historical and cultural activities of marginalised communities. The goal is to shift these dialogues from the periphery to the centre, challenging dominant narratives and re-assessing cultural heritage from a more inclusive perspective. Derived from both established and non-established archives, two datasets were developed through extensive desk, archival, and field research. Both datasets focus on two case studies at distinct sites of cultural activism on Cox Street in Coventry’s St. Michael’s ward, intersecting with the Ring Road infrastructure project that significantly changed the area’s topography.  

These Data Sets (accessed via the website weversions.site) serve as foundational resources for the artists selected to respond to the chosen locations, to create site-specific soundworks. The first Case Study Data Set focuses on a Poetry Festival organised by the Indian Workers Association (IWA) at the Sidney Stringer Centre for School and Community Use on 11 February 1978. This event informed the soundwork by Paul Purgas. The second Case Study Data Set details a case study showcasing the sonic activities of The Eclipse, recognised as the UK’s inaugural legal inner-city rave club, which functioned from October 1990 to May 1992. From this study, rhythmanalyst DeForrest Brown Jnr created a soundwork. Corresponding with the development of the data sets, a curatorial toolkit was designed both for this research and for future application. This toolkit offers techniques to audibly excavate historical sites of cultural activism, identifying the significant role that historically marginalised communities play in challenging prevailing cultural narratives. Moreover, the research examines how sound can encapsulate specific locales and evoke or form collective memories. Artist Vivienne Griffin led this exploration through an “active listening” workshop, assessing the interaction of the participants to analyse how collective memories form or align through shared interactions. 

To summarise, this research endeavours to ascertain the potential of sound and curation in narrating the activities of historically underrepresented communities, introducing audiences to alternative narratives that co-exist with conventional histories. The toolkit presents a progressive, non-hierarchical, and inclusive curatorial method, bridging the gap between audiences and content. It challenges conventional cultural mediums, fostering new discussions that go beyond academia to emphasise the significance of safeguarding sites of resistance as heritage landmarks.