Hannah Kemp-Welch

Hannah Kemp-Welch

PhD Student

2021 - current


Hannah Kemp-Welch is a sound artist with a socially-engaged practice. 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.

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Voices in Social Art Practice: Participation, Composition, Transmission

My research considers socially-engaged art through the lens of acoustemology (Feld, 1992), asking what shifts could be produced in this discipline by extending listening beyond words, to a new and situated practice. Community arts have too often approached voices in a somewhat instrumental way, intimating that simply ‘giving voice’ or ‘including diverse voices’ is sufficient to achieve 'representation', while sound arts discourse has tended to focus on the sonic, oral traditions and artistic uses rather than affect. Drawing on research into expanded listening and pedagogy in mainstream education (Gallagher, Prior, Needham, Holmes, 2017), my project will look at how socially-engaged artists approach listening, and how this sounds out through their work.

I will conduct interviews with practitioners, before developing three community-based projects that test a cross-disciplinary model between sound art and social art. This practice-based research aims to interrogate how artists listen in participatory art projects, develop a model of artistic production with community groups that ‘knows-with and knows-through the audible’ (Feld, 2015) and create a framework through which to study how voices are presented in socially-engaged practice. A secondary aim is to produce a practical resource which feeds some of this research back to social art practitioners.