The Sound Voice Project

A transdisciplinary performance project exploring voice loss and identity

Working internationally with people with lived experience of voice loss, interdisciplinary professionals, arts venues, festivals and hospitals, The Sound Voice Project aims to understand the intrinsic value of the human voice and how it connects to our identity? What is a voice and what happens when it is gone?

Can You Hear My Voice


The Willow Tree

I Left My Voice Behind


Your Voice

Over the two years between 2019 – 2021, composer Hannah Conway and writer Hazel Gould led creative engagement sessions with people with lived experience of voice loss (including Motor Neuron disease, Parkinson’s and throat cancer), their families and interdisciplinary experts who support them. Professionals from biomedical research, healthcare, technology and science joined together with those with lived experience in creative workshops to explore the meaning of voice. These are people that would never normally meet in the same room.

These collaborations evolved unique, shared understandings, new dialogue and personal narratives which have been translated into a series of six chamber works. All six works are for live performance on the concert platform.

Three of these works additionally exist as immersive, surround-sound pieces of digital theatre; video installations which have profoundly moved audiences; inviting them to deeply consider the value and beauty of the human voice.

“What you have achieved with this project is unbelievable…With this work, you have hit on something people have been experimenting with for decades – serious, thoughtful works of art that have at their centre the stories and voices of people who are not usually afforded a platform.” [Audience member 2021]
“The project helped us change direction and focus. We were able to refine the objectives of the technology, and all of that fed into a successful subsequent scientific grant application. It changed the nature of not only the research, but it made it stronger and more likely to succeed, hopefully more likely to produce a product which will really answer what the patients really want.” [Biomedical researcher, participant 2021]
“I only had my laryngectomy surgery in March 2020 and found this project a really important part of my recovery and coming to terms with my new voice. It’s helped me to deal with the emotional and mental side of dealing with my voice loss.” [participant 2020]
“It’s not about the music, it’s not about the disease, it’s about who people are. That’s the most powerful thing, it’s an education for us all.” [participant quote 2021]

In 2022-24 we launch phase two of The Sound Voice Project.

New audio-visual, immersive installation works, expanding the current project to design digital works especially for hospital settings. We’re exploring how immersive works of art can impact healthcare professionals, patients and visitors. This includes exploring how to transform the agency in a space and informing the future innovation of healthcare services and design of physical environments for patients and hospital community.

Touring The Sound Voice Project to five hospitals and four arts venues across the UK. We are working with these partners to develop outstanding co-creative practice, developing immersive installations for healthcare settings and innovative ways to reach new audiences. We are presenting interdisciplinary concerts featuring world class professional musicians, alongside performers with lived experience of voice loss.

Digital technology to integrate audience voice within ever evolving works of art: developing newly digital platforms to capture audience and patient voice.

A national programme of creative engagement workshops to explore voice and identity with healthcare professionals, patients, families and audiences.

Interdisciplinary think tanks and panel discussions to explore how new technologies inform the creation of new works of art in flexible community and healthcare settings. These sessions will also deeply explore the collective responsibility of press/arts industry for co-created/performed work by integrated disabled/non-disabled artists and people who’ve experienced extreme trauma.

The Sound Voice Project celebrates voice; changed voices, that are sometimes difficult to hear or understand because they have been so damaged and impacted by severe medical conditions/illness. We all have a relationship to voice and identity, no matter what background – it’s something that cuts across cultural/social background, age, gender and sexuality. We’re creating a platform for people who usually have very little or no access to the arts, both as performers and as creatives.

Audiences are invited to reflect upon their own identities (often prejudices) and experiences.

The Sound Voice project is a powerful model, operating outside traditional paradigms in the arts, social sciences and healthcare sectors to remain flexible and responsive, placing people with lived experience at the very centre.