Syma Tariq

Syma Tariq

PhD Student

2018 – present

Syma Tariq is a radio journalist, writer and editor who arrived to PhD research through the ongoing, South Asia-focused radio-art project A Thousand Channels. She has long had an interest in sound and its relation to politics.

Syma holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Contemporary History from Queen Mary University of London and a Masters in the History of Political Thought from the University of Sussex. She is a recipient of an AHRC TECHNE award.


Image by Christa Holka

Image of Syma Tariq


Partition’s sonic condition: listening through the postcolonised archive

My practice-based research focuses on the discursive and temporal separations embedded in histories of the 1947 partition – the division of the British Raj into independent India and (east and west) Pakistan – through their sonic-archival forms. Given the recent growth in oral history work and gathering of testimony at a time of increased “borderisation”, the partition – which I posit as a sonic condition, rather than as an historical event – demands an ethico-political engagement with listening. The practices of listening situated in the making and normalising of partition histories encompass not just testimony gathered, but also the contexts and processes in which the postcolonised “artefactualisation” of voice occurs.

My fieldwork entails engaging with oral archives connected to partition and interviewing oral historians, archivists and cultural practitioners who work with partition testimony. An ongoing series of audio works entitled “Partitioned Listening”, initially commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary’s public programme Sonic Continuum in 2020, is part of my developing practice.


In progress