One of the projects that we embarked upon last year, to celebrate 25 years of Us in a Bus, was to create a Soundscape, using the sounds and voices of the people we support, recorded by us with their permission.
This Soundscape is a unique window into the lives of a remarkable community of people who have profound and multiple learning disabilities and who we meet in their supported residential settings. It is a snapshot of their lives, in their own ‘words’, and is a celebration of their incredible spirit and resilience.
While photos and video footage have been explored as a means to raise awareness and celebrate their lives, these sounds ~ their voices ~ seemed to be a crucial part that was not yet being heard beyond their homes. With this in mind, we began exploring the possibility of recording each individual’s voice. Our intention was to build a sound collage out of these expressions that would serve to unify and amplify their voices; individually and collectively. The inspiration for the project came directly from this vibrant group of individuals. The nature of their conditions mean that many find communication to be a huge challenge, yet each person still asserts themselves through a diverse range of expressive sounds. It is a celebration of their lives through their unique sounds and voices, amplifying them individually and collectively.
The Soundscape took 12 months to create and throughout the process the team of Us in a Bus Practitioners kept focused on one guiding principle – that it must be true to the individuals involved and their vocalizations must remain as they intended them, without any manipulation. The result is an incredible collage of their voices and sounds that holds the individuals at its centre, following their emotional context at all times to create a sense of unity and continuity.
The Soundscape is ‘Untitled’ because we simply want the people we hear to be able to speak for themselves, without any preconceptions. We hope it provides an alternative way for the people we work with to be truly heard.
‘A Soundscape Untitled’ was created by Rich Myles, Marina Jurjevic, Russell Clark, Anne Laney and Tiw Raegening with the support of all their colleagues.
We would like to thank all of the wonderful people whose unique voices were recorded for its creation and for their families and carers for supporting the project. Thanks also to the following for their technical help in creating the CD: Richmond Film Services http://www.richmondfilmservices.co.uk/, Crispin Merrell and Doug from SoundVideo http://www.soundvideo.co.uk/.
You can listen here: