Sound Young Mind Sound Sculptures Blog

How do you share with a wider audience work that has been created ‘in-the-moment’ when you can’t identify any part of the young people who created it? No public performance, no films, no photographs, no names. How can we share the work with a wider audience so it’s creative and reflects the project in a meaningful way?

Sound Young Minds is a music-making project led by Gawain Hewitt and CLS musicians working with young people who are patients at psychiatric hospital schools. Young people can be as the young as 8 right up to eighteen with a broad range of psychiatric illnesses.

Traditionally creative music projects tend to have a sense of making and building towards something over time – creating and developing a piece of work that is then performed in a sharing - but we quickly learnt that this does not work in this setting. Every session looks different depending on who’s in the room. It’s always unexpected. As a result of their illnesses, there is no guarantee that a young person will return for all sessions, and if they do, that they will engage in the same way – so we meet people where they are. In that moment. That moment could be five minutes or an hour. So how do we share and celebrate this work?

All our sessions are recorded so these ‘moments’ are captured and then housed in sound sculptures made by Gawain. The brief I give him is that they have to be interactive so that people can play with them and make their own connection. For example, Dawn Chorus was the sculpture created at the end of our birdsong projects. Three small wooden birds can be placed on different branches and each configuration triggers a different track created during the project. It’s wonderful to see audiences play with the sculpture and their engagement deepen further when they realise how the music was composed.

The sound sculptures travel to our concerts and have appeared at Southbank Centre, Southwark Cathedral and also at the Tate Modern and next year will appear at their own exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery at the Museum of the Mind next spring 2021.

Fiona Lambert, Director of Participation at City of London Sinfonia

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