Co-designing sound art: A call-out for participants who use cochlear implants - Action On Hearing Loss: RNID
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Co-designing sound art: A call-out for participants who use cochlear implants

Posted on 05/08/2016

The Victoria and Albert Museum in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss would like to invite 12 participants who use cochlear implants (CI) for an artistic-research project led by the artist Tom Tlalim.


Historically, cochlear implants are designed to recognise speech. Listening to complex environmental and musical sounds is more challenging, and requires work and training on behalf of CI users. In this project, artist Tom Tlalim seeks to develop sound art that is particularly suited for CI users by drawing on their everyday experiences. The aim of the project is to explore what music and sound art sound like when listened to through this unique hearing device, what sounds are enjoyable and what is the potential for a sonic experience that caters for different hearing abilities in the museum space.

We would like to invite 12 adult CI users to become closely involved in this project. Participants will work with the artist at the V&A, sharing knowledge about their hearing experience with CI. In particular, how they relate to the sonic environment, particularly when listening to music or sound art in open space, museums, galleries or public spaces. Alongside this project, the wider community of CI users will be invited to participate and have their say through an online community moderated by the artist on SoundCloud.

The project will centre on a series of one-to-one meetings with the artist and there will be two group work sessions. The work will be conducted at the V&A in the autumn of 2016. Participants will listen together, talk about their hearing experience, collect and share favourite sound examples, and discuss the different qualities of these sounds and their meaning to hearing participants. Through these activities, participants will contribute to designing bespoke soundscapes, leading to an exhibition documenting the project at the newly-opened Sackler gallery of the V&A.

The project will take place over a period of 8 weeks during the autumn of 2016. You will be part of a group of 12 participants. The project will include 2-3 individual meetings* with the artist, and 2 gatherings* where we will invite all participants to meet, work together, listen and discuss aspects of their hearing experience. The total time required from each participant will be around 8 hours  from 7 October until early December 2016.

What to expect – User experience

The working sessions might typically include some of the following activities:

Talking about hearing

In-depth conversations/interviews, speaking about the experience of hearing with CI describing specific situations, what participants hear and their reflection about it.

Listening to sounds and discussing how they sound to you – Participants will be invited to bring sound files with them that you enjoy listening to. They can bring music, natural recorded sounds, and/or sound “objects”.

A session schedule may include:

  • Interview/discussion

  • Listening and discussion

  • Exploring composition of sounds and talking about hearing sounds in contrast to other sounds

  • Listening to sounds in space while moving through the space, and discussing how movement affects the hearing experience.

Group sessions

Two group workshops will take place at the V&A where we will listen to sound examples in the museum space and participants will be invited to produce music or sound individually and as an ensemble.

Further details

Artist/Researcher: Tom Tlalim

Location: V&A, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL
A V&A Adult Learning Communities Programme in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss

Research period: a period of 8 weeks starting on 7 October 2016. 8 hours per participant.

Deadline for expressions of interest: September 12, 2016

For further Information on how to be involved and any queries please send an email to both Tom Tlalim ( and Residencies Programme Manager Laura Carderera ( with FUTURE DESIGN SOUND ART in the subject heading. The deadline for expressions of interest is 12 September, 2016.

*Research sessions will be filmed. Material may be used (with participant's consent) in research outputs and in resulting artwork. V&A Film and Image forms will be passed to participants.

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