Tangible Radio - Class on Air

Exploring radio through vibro-tactility as an expressive medium with Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

The second chapter of Audibility, concerned with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing experience with sound art and music, is a two-fold project, entitled "Tangible Radio - Class on Air".

In this context, we re-thought radio, both as a technological medium and as narrative form, bringing those two aspects into question and for artistic creation among Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, who, in this case, became the expert interlocutors and the radio-content creators.

The two folds of the project consist of:

  • "Tangible Radio": The development of a prototype accessible radio receiver, based on the principles of vibro-tactile sound transmission/diffusion (through solids, in contrast to conventional speakers' diffusion through the air). The device is brought to class as an enabler, to "touch the sound" and explore its (literally) hands on expressive potentials together with Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The students also provide their feedback and comments for amelioration and incorporation of essential features, in a participatory design manner, adapted to the needs of a high-school setting.

  • "Class on Air": The production of a radio-show by the students, which will be broadcasted live and published as a podcast, to be played through the Tangible Radio device as well as through conventional audio systems.

Towards this goal, TWIXTlab brought together a group of experts in music and radio production, education, and innovative design. The working group, consisting of Orestis Karamanlis (music education, programming), Kalliopi Takaki (radio production & education), Giorgos Mizithras (radio art), and Petros Flabouris (architecture and acoustic design), entered into creative discussions with our scientific and educational advisors by September 2022, out of which they developed an original pedagogical methodology which piloted in School.

The joint effort unraveled in school, in order to adapt to the experience(s) of Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. To inquire how, and to what extent, vibro-tactility can "substitute", or add to the sense of hearing, and to expand our understanding of the perception of sonic stimuli. To further explore how vibration and tactility be incorporated in our toolbox for creative making, particularly when informed by Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. To make (radiophonic) space for Deaf voices to be heard, felt, transmitted and reach a wider audience.

We are grateful to the Argyroupolis Special High-School for Deaf and hard-of-hearing for the generous hosting and participation.

tangible broadcasting


Our inquiry and practice was also greatly inspired by TWIXTlab's two resident artists from Ontario, Canada, David Bobier and Leslie Putnam (from vibrafusionlab and o'honey collective). During the residency period in Athens, David and Leslie presented their work on vibrotactile installations, sound sculpturing and art education, met our working group and our scientific advisors, and delivered a masterclass.


Audibility coordinators:

Dana Papachristou, music, musicology, new media aesthetics - educational coordinator

Panayotis Panopoulos, anthropology of sound and voice - scientific advisor

Ourania Anastasiadou, visual artist, curator, Deaf accessibility expert - community liaison

Yorgos Samantas, anthropology, sound design - project manager

Special thanks

Xenia Nikolakopoulou is a professor of English language and a Sign Language interpreter (Greek and English). Without her help, mediation, insights, warm response and creative feedback, the "Tangible Radio - Class on Air" project would not have been implemented as smoothly and excitingly as it did.

with the additional financial support of

Tangible Radio

prototype device

Class on Air

radiophonic pedagogy with/for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

Tangible Radio - Residency

David Bobier and Leslie Putnam