Dr Panos Amelidis, Dr Tom Davis from Experimental Media Research Centre, BU and Dr Thomas Gardner from Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice, UAL, hosted the first Audio Testimonies Symposium at BU on 4-5th July 2020.
This symposium was an attempt to consider the role of Audio Testimony in artistic practice, and explored the ways in which artists use sound to enable new forms of testimony, and create new artistic configurations, which engage public consciousness. The event featured two keynotes and workshop sessions spread over two days.
Keynote 1: The symposium was opened by a keynote presentation by John Young, Professor of Composition at De Montfort University, who reflected on recorded audio testimonies as agents of meaning through electroacoustic music. Professor Young started from the notion that sound recording is a significant act in itself, and discussed some of the ways in which he has used a range of audio testimonies to explore the experience of war.
Keynote 2: A second keynote presentation was by Amy Wlodarski, Professor of Music at Dickinson College, USA, who talked about her experiences of listening to audio Holocaust testimonies and how she have come to think about the relationship of listening to recorded traumatic memories, specifically the relationship between the witness and the interviewer.
Workshop sessions: Participants worked in small discussion groups of 4-5 people, in which they gave short presentations about how their work related to the theme of the symposium. Participants also brought material that connected their practice to audio testimony and presented this to the group in order to draw links between their own creative practice and emerging themes.
On day two participants attempted to collaborate creatively within their groups and explored ways of presenting their findings and experiences back to the main body of the symposium. The outcomes were amazing successful given that they were constructed in such a short time frame and included, poetry, reflective writing, performance, edited audio, pre-recorded testimonies and more.
The groups were coordinated by six group facilitators: John Young (keynote speaker) Salomé Voegelin (Professor of Sound at the London College of Communication), Cathy Lane Professor of Sound Arts at the London College of Communication and Director of CRiSAP), Dr Mark-Peter Wight (Post-Doctoral Research Arts at the London College of Communication), Dr Thomas Gardner, Dr Tom Davis and Dr Panos Amelidis.