This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium program.

Listening Pedagogies for Community-based Art

Hannah Kemp-Welch

Saturday 25 November — Presentations

12.30 — 13.00

Documentation of the lecture

As a practitioner and researcher, my work critically reviews tensions around participation, ownership and representation in socially-engaged art, seeking strategies that respond to and mitigate issues of inequality within artist-community relationships. My research asks, how can social art challenge uneven power-relations, even when set within frameworks serving neoliberal agendas?

My presentation proposes that ‘distributed listening’ can serve as a levelling tool, applied as a useful and usable model for dissecting power dynamics. Sound arts theory proposes distinct models of listening as an artistic practice (embodied, deep, imaginative etc). I take these out of the abstract and develop them within new contexts, to propose tangible and effective ways to listen that can support equitable creative relationships. I will share insights on listening collected from interviews with community artists, and introduce listening activities that can be embedded into social art projects. My provocation asks - how can an artistic and collective practice of listening be generative for creative endeavours with others? How could this support equitable relationships?

My proposal takes the form of a performance lecture, with sounds (a ‘polyvocal’ model, bringing together multiple voices and views), slides (accessible: showing short quotes and images) and distributed scores (small, printed invitations to take the provocation forwards).


Hannah Kemp-Welch is a sound artist with a social practice. She is a member of feminist radio art group Shortwave Collective and arts cooperative Soundcamp, and is currently engaged in PhD research with Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP), University of the Arts London. She produces audio installations and radio broadcasts with community groups, using voices, field recordings and found sounds. She also delivers workshops, makes zines and builds basic radios, aiming to open out sonic practices and technologies for all. Hannah is a member of feminist radio art group Shortwave Collective and the arts cooperative Soundcamp. Hannah has exhibited at Art Gene, Furtherfield, John Hansard Gallery, Kettle's Yard, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Nottingham Contemporary, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. She has also shown work internationally at Chinretsukan Gallery Tokyo, FILE festival Brazil, and TENT Rotterdam Hannah is currently working on a transmission arts project funded through the Developing Your Creative Practice grant, Arts Council England and was on residencies at MoKS (Estonia), Full of Noises (UK) and Buinho Creative Hub (Portugal) in 2021.

Hannah Kemp-Welch, archive of the artist Hannah Kemp-Welch, photo: J.S.