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Be Curious Festival 2017

Location: University of Leeds
Date: March 25th 2017

About the Event

"Have you ever wondered what happens in a University? Be Curious is the research open day of the University showcasing our research with free, interactive and fun activities."
(University of Leeds, 2017)

The Proposal

Presented in the form of a market stall which members of the public will visit, this Be Curious installation will ask two questions:

What can we learn about city markets through sound and voice alone?
What ‘voice’ should be given to city markets in order for their cultural value to be recognised?

Visitors to the stall will be offered to opportunity to listen to vivid sound recordings made at Leeds Kirkgate Market (and other markets from across the country and around the world, including Mexico City and Kuala Lumpur). These recordings, and particularly the voices contained within them, will be used to prompt reflections on the cultural value of Leeds Kirkgate Market and city markets in general.

The responses by members of the public will be recorded and broadcast in real-time using the Yarn storytelling platform (developed at The University of Leeds):

Set against the backdrop of the controversial redevelopment of Leeds Kirkgate Market and the political tensions that have followed the Brexit vote, this installation will encourage visitors to reflect upon the value of city spaces in which multiculturalism and diversity might be celebrated.


Janet Watson, Elisabetta Adami, Rianna Harree (a first-year student from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) and I staffed this event.

The number of visitors our stall attracted was rather disappointing but those people who did visit us seemed to find it interesting. The event also represented an excellent opportunity for us to investigate public perception regarding the cultural value of city markets and to test the concept of using binaural field recordings as a method of studying language and voice, both of which proved very helpful in developing a new collaborative research project, Voices of the Urban North.

Some of the results of the event are documented in this 'Yarn Story':