“Our exhibition is a celebration and a document of our processes, as we worked towards creating our sound toolkit.
Each artwork represents a series of conversations about sound and about silence.
The exhibition has been co-created and co-curated with our participants, advisors, artists, mentors and staff.”
Click the + under each image to learn more about the artworks.

This pattercake sound might come before speech. As babies we can make a room melt by copying this simple action: two hands together to make a sound.

Later, in the playground, a game as old as time is played. We clap hands and make friends, sing repetitive songs, learn a beat.
And praise!

From cradle to grave, we thrive on the sound of applause.

Driftwood Chime

The collaboration between Cross Lane Hospital and our gallery spaces started before the sound project officially began. The Cross Lane Art group has been creating for Space to Be, Scarborough Art Gallery, since it opened in April, 2022.

One of the first pieces to be made was a small driftwood mobile. This became a talking piece when there was very little else in the room. It invited visitors ‘to touch’ and in touching, they found that the driftwood pieces, knocking together, made the most beautiful chime.

Participants from Cross Lane decided they wanted to replicate mobile, making it much bigger, amplifying the natural sounds of sandy and storm-battered beaches.

Shell Ears

As children, maybe as adults too, we place a shell to our ear to find the sea inside. Is it something mystical that happens in this moment? We are truly convinced. Is the ocean really caught in this miracle of nature, or is it simply our own heartbeat, a pulse that we experience?

Lean in and remember being small in this world.

Wall of Silence

We have talked as much about ‘silence’ as much as we have talked about ‘sound’.

Our wall represents the need for silence when we want to block out the world. Sometimes we sometimes simply want to turn down the volume.
In this space, our wall also represents the trauma of silence, how the quiet times have a habit of making space for intrusive thoughts.

We embarked on this project with many assumptions. We assumed that silence is equivalent to solace, that silence brings peace. And whilst this may be true for some of us, we’ve heard how silence itself can be disturbing.

This oxymoron is described beautifully in this lyric, which was left in our scrapbook, a record of our thoughts throughout the project.

“I’ve got voices in my head and there’s a deafening silence.”
A Little Bit of Love, Tom Grennan

We hope our wall offers you comfort, and you’re welcome to borrow our ear defenders as you journey through our exhibition. If silence does not bring you solace, then at least we hope you feel heard in this conversation.

Push the Button

Chromesthesia or sound-to-color synesthesia is a type of synesthesia in which sound involuntarily evokes an experience of color, shape, and movement. We’ve been thinking about what colour sounds like to us.

Push the buttons to see what soundscapes we’ve created that reflect our perceptions of colour.

Ear of Truth

Being heard in times of emotional pain and distress feels vital in our journey to recovery, but a ‘listening ear’ is only helpful if we also feel we are being believed.

Our discussions led to research about the ‘Mouth of Truth’, in Rome, which bit off your hand if you told it a lie. Joan and Liv went on to design the ‘Ear of Truth’, something much friendlier.

The Ear of Truth is non-judgemental, is someone you can trust with your confidences.

The Ear of Truth will be on display, at Woodend, until….

Roman Holiday, featuring ‘The Mouth of Truth’.


Nostalgic sounds from the TV

The repetition and routine of switching on the TV, the comfort of hearing the jaunty theme tune of your favourite quiz, the drum roll before the right or wrong answer, the anticipation when you hear the ‘da da da da da’ of your favourite soap opera, another drum roll as we are left in suspense- the drama of other people’s lives, taking us away from our worries of the real world…these musical notes punctuate our lives. There are melodies, too, tinkling tunes from childhood cartoons and playful companions. They are as familiar to us as lullabies and nursery rhymes.

Listen now, the hum of the test card, signalling that it is nearly time to close the day.

Sound Machine

Imagine the earliest encounters of ‘talking machines’. Imagine the confusion or delight of those who first experienced the ‘captured voices’ of scientists and singers.

Watching magical lantern slides and listening to songs on an old gramophone, courtesy of the infamous ‘Dr Nick’, our students were inspired to create sketches and designs for their ‘future-facing’ Sound Machine.

They saw nature in the shapes of the old gramophone: a huge flower, a long stemmed weed. They listened to modern tunes from Olly Murs, whilst they created this sculpture, but it is the timeless notes and conversations from the gardens that have inspired their soundscape for this piece.

Walls have Ears

We started our conversation with the gentle art of playing with clay, observing each other’s ears and creating these delightful objects. We’ve found it easier to talk when our hands have had something to do.

We’ve questioned how well our own ears function in the process of listening to sound, and how else we experience sound and noise- in our heads, our hearts, our toes and our fingertips, in the vibrations that reverberate around our bodies. In these first conversations, we realised that our ears are only the start of the story, but also everything in the story. How well do we know our ears? What care do we take of them?

“If the ear were to shatter or bleed profusely when subjected to abuse from intense or prolonged noise, we might be more careful of its treatment.”

From ‘Design, Serving the Needs of Man,’ George C Beakley and Ernest G Chilton

Realising we were creating a wall of ears, we were able to reflect on the disturbing climate of fear, created by new technologies and political agendas. These conversations led us to consider these fears in every stage of our project, to ask permission before making recordings, to keep our exhibition as low-tech as feasible and to give our participants opportunities to explore and question the technology we do use.

We hope our Wall of Ears helps others to consider and give voice to the future we do want, but also our artwork asks you to embrace the beauty of ears, in all their quirky formations and diversity. Our Wall of Ears asks you to consider your own self-care, to care for all ears with compassion. Our Wall of Ears beckons you to create a new narrative and respect other’s ‘sound privacy’.

Tell me a Story

Once upon a time…we listened to a story. We curled up in a cosy corner, a blanket around our knees, to listen.

Once upon a time, we told a story. We embellished our real lives and we sought to entertain. We learned quickly the power of a good story, the power to change perceptions, the power to make our audience laugh out loud.

Once upon a time…we sought solace in a story, found ourselves immersed in something imaginary, something so fantastical it gave us new truths.

And in this place, we wrote and told new stories, remembered how it feels to rediscover our creative selves, to soothe each other with words.

Our special thanks go to:

Our incredible participant advisors :
Joan, Loz, Mel, Bryn, Liv, Peter (Community participant advisors) Anna (Yorkshire Coast Sight Support), Charlie (Blueberry Academy)

Hannah Sprague (Scarborough Museums and Galleries) Joan (Artist/ Participant advisor) and Debbie Hill (artist)
Tom Sharkett (sounds) ; Liz Boag (Artist Mentor); Simon Doughty (Sculptor); Joan (artist) Hannah Sprague
Activity coordinators:
from Cross Lane (Lucy, Miriam, Debbie and Hayley) , Personalised Learning and Mencap
Artists from:
Cross Lane, Personalised Learning College, Mencap, Yorkshire Coast Sight Support, Blueberry Academy, CU Scarborough, staff at Scarborough Museums and Galleries and Crescent Arts, Woodend Tenants and Creatives
Sound Baths:
Kate Stancombe and Sefton Freeman
Emma Hallam (Scarborough Museums and Galleries) Joan (artist) and Fitzpatrick Designs
Technical support:
Tim and Jamie (SMG) Jim Taylor (sounds) Ed Shipley (sound support)
Project coordinator:
Jayne Shipley
Project Assistant:
Hannah Sprague
Project concept:
Caroline Stathearn, Dorcas Taylor and Martha Cattell
Web design:
Paul Lewis
Audio Interpretation:
Chrissie Lewis