2021 - current
Hannah Kemp-Welch is a sound artist with a social practice. She creates works collaboratively and in community settings, often responding to social issues. Recent projects include ‘The Right to Record’ (2021) - a creative campaign with disabled activists, which successfully lobbied the Government to change a harmful clause within the benefits system; ‘Meet Me on the Radio’ (2020-21) - a weekly Resonance FM programme co-produced with elders isolated during lockdown; and ‘o-o-radio!’ (2023) - a project at Wysing Arts Centre, constructing homemade radios with d/Deaf young people, to better understand how hearing aids operate.
Hannah has a particular interest in transmission arts - she experiments with DIY radios and produces zines to make these technologies accessible. She is a member of feminist radio art group Shortwave Collective and arts cooperative Soundcamp, and has produced works for Radio Art Zone (2022), Movement Radio (2022), and Radiophrenia (2020-22). Alongside her artistic practice, Hannah teaches contextual studies, community engagement, and collaborative practice as an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and London College of Communication.
Listening in Socially-Engaged Art: Artistic Strategies for Equitable Collaboration
Socially-engaged art projects are rarely initiated by the communities they seek to serve. Though arts organisation’s efforts (consultation, co-production and partnership models) go some way to address this, inequality often remains ingrained in projects from their inception. As a practitioner and researcher, my work critically reviews tensions around participation, ownership and representation in such projects, 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 research proposes that ‘collective 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). My project develops and tests protocols for listening, to propose tangible and effective ways to listen that can support equitable creative relationships. My research asks - how can an artistic and collective practice of listening be generative for creative endeavours with others? How could this support equitable relationships?