Public Voices: A Practice-Based Workshop

Public Voices: A Practice-Based Workshop

Issued: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:11:00 GMT

Dates: 2nd / 3rd February, 10am - 5pm

Location: TBC (Glasgow)


This two day training event explores the voice as a creative tool for presenting research. As practitioners, public speaking is encouraged as an important part of delivering and ‘giving a face’ to artistic research. Combining practical and writing exercise, this workshop hopes to challenge current conventions and re-invent how the voice is used within this process. 

This training event is supported by SGSAH Cohort Development Fund.


Day 1

Ros Steen will introduce practical methodologies which explore how the voice can enrich the live presentations. Participants will work in pairs on physical breath and vocal exercises developed from the Nadine George technique*. They will consider how the voice can be used not as a conventional musical instrument but as a dynamic and expressive resource. Engaging with preconceptions of embarrassment associated with singing and expectations of failure, Ros will guide students through aspects of vocal quality which explore “authenticity in the sound of the voice”. Through a series of active and physical warm ups we will investigate how the voice can be “used in a reduced volume while retaining the vibrated quality of the larger vocal commitment”. By examining the connection between the voice and the body we will acknowledge the ways in the which speech has been conditioned.

* for more detailed descriptions of the workshop process please see:

Ros Steen Bio

Emeritus Professor and former Head of Research and the Centre for Voice in Performance of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ros Steen has been a Voice Practitioner for over 33 years and has studied and worked with Nadine George since they met in 1990. Trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD) and the University of Glasgow, Ros pioneered the use of Nadine George voice work as a medium of rehearsal in professional theatre in Scotland and was responsible for introducing and establishing the work as a core language of the Scottish theatrical landscape.
She has taught the work in training institutions and established Nadine George Voice Work at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as the central practice in spoken voice for performers. In 2013 she compiled and edited Growing Voices. More recently she was an invited artist on the South Bank’s Collision project collaborating with A.L.Kennedy to explore the links between
the openings of the voice and writing

Day 2

How might voice be used in a research project, not as a substantive topic, but as an ‘inventive’ device which helps formulate and reformulate our research problems? What is of interest here is not mastery of a vocal technique, oratory skills or musicality, but rather the capacity of utterances of all kinds as live and vibrational research practice.

Nina Wakeford will introduce her own research and talk about how the live speaking/singing/shouting voice might be used to constitute the writing of a doctoral, as she did in her PhD Fine Art (Studio Practice) at Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. This required thinking about the voice in terms of its capacity to enact demands, as well as how it might evoke embarrassment and sentimentality. Thinking about utterances and research raises the question of when and how we are ‘speaking for others’ (to use the title of Linda Alcoff’s well known article).

In the second half of the day Nina will run a workshop looking at inventive devices for research, and in particular how research might be performed live.
In order to do this each participant will need to bring along an expanded summary of abstract of their doctoral project (700-1000 words). These will not be circulated amongst the group, but will be used as source material by each participant in the workshop in order to participate in the exercise.

Working inventively with the live voice may shift when and how problems are addressed by a research project – and we will try this with everyone’s project at the end of the day.  Participants are asked to read the introduction of Inventive Methods and Linda Alcoff ‘On Speaking For Others’ before the session. 

Nina Wakeford Bio

Nina Wakeford is an artist and sociologist, and teaches at the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London. As an artist Nina makes work that begins with the unfinished business of past social movements, and the challenges of revisiting the energies that these movements created. She is interested in how to enact demands through material engagements, the way in which identification and disidentification are forged, modes of empathy and inhabitation, and the risks of staying loyal/respectful to the kinds of materials that initiate the work. Nina is the co-editor of Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social (Routledge, 2012) a collection that explores, amongst other things, how research might better work with openness and ambiguity. Her performances have been shown at BFI, ICA, Raven Row and the Wellcome Collection.

Applicant Procedure

The workshop is limited to 14 PhD participants only, and we expect demand for this two-day workshop to be high. We invite you to make an informal application as follows:

Please provide us with no more than one sheet of A4 containing the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • Your university affiliation
  • Your PhD research topic (200 words)
  • What you want to gain from participation in the workshop, please be specific (50 words)

Applications should be sent to Jude Browning and Naomi Pearce ( by 5pm, 8th January 2018.