Audibility, Inclusivity and Sound Art

Sound art education and inclusivity for Deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents.

The exclusion of d/Deaf (as conventionally referred to, capitalized “D” signifies a member of the Deaf community, unlike “deaf” for a person with a hearing disability) and hard-of-hearing individuals from the artistic fields of music and sound art in general, as well as from the radio as a medium, is often understood as "natural" and in terms of pathology. As we suggest elsewhere, this is a commonplace misunderstanding, a stereotype so to speak, also built-in the educational system, which in turn perpetuates it, thus depriving access to a wide domain of cultural expressions for deaf or hard-of-hearing students and adults.

Using emerging approaches in contemporary art, artistic education, Deaf studies, and Sound studies, we intend to object to this "naturalized" exclusion. To address these issues, on one hand, we implement an educational program that aims to familiarize d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing children with sound art and music; and, on the other hand, we aim to develop relationships between cultural and educational agents, institutions or individuals, that are in one way or another related to those fields, of deafness and art-making.

The benefits of students' involvement with sound art and music are many and varied: Engaging in music, and the arts in general, through the educational process, offers students a framework of personal and artistic expression, the ability to combine sensory perceptions, and familiarity with public exposure and collective creation. In addition, it enriches the available tools for expressing and externalizing emotions. Moreover, music can positively affect the central nervous system, as it stimulates sensory and kinetic abilities, bringing about positive changes in behavior and perception. Finally, music as art and as
Science represents a universe of additional knowledge, combined with many disciplines (such as physics, history, philosophy and anthropology), in which participating students and teachers come into contact in an experiential way, through empirical engagement with the subject-matter.

The methodological approaches followed in our educational curriculum unravel in presentations and workshops organized in a periodical basis. Informed by special education experts, but also by contemporary art-education practices, the educational framework aims to encourage dialogue and hands-on engagement with the subject-matter, rather than a unilateral conveyance of meaning and knowledge. Artists, educators and students are encouraged to bring in their own knowledge, expertise and/or experience, and to learn from one another in an experiential and playful way.

These procedures also enhance our methodological toolkit for the future. Crucial aspects of the educational process are documented, and will be published in the forthcoming months.


Educational coordination • Dana Papachristou (Music/musicology, art education, new media aesthetic theory, adjunct lecturer of Transcultural History and Theory of Art in the Department of Culture, Creative Media and Industries, University of Thessaly, Greece).

Community Liaison • Ourania Anastasiadou (Visual artist, curator, educator, Special Education Staff of the Athens School of Fine Arts. Ourania is an ASFA graduate in painting, and a holder of pre-doctorate degree entitled Advanced Master in Education: Deafness, from Gallaudet University. She has founded and is currently the head of the Deaprtment of Accessible Education in the Athens School of Fine Arts).

Audibility: Public Discussion

Deaf Art: Artistic genealogy, anthropology, and the radio.