Spaces to Speak Project Launch

After the recent success of ‘Ingrid Pollard: Three Drops of Blood’, talking on corners is proud to present their latest project, Spaces to Speak. 

Spaces to Speak launched on October 27th 2022 at Plymouth Barbican Theatre with the curators and artists in conversation. 

Spaces to Speak began life as an R&D project funded by Plymouth Cultural Investment Fund in October 2020. The project was borne out of a desire to initiate a different kind of dialogue within Plymouth’s creative sector. Recorded conversations with Black and Brown creatives (living or working in Plymouth) were undertaken which unfolded personal and professional narratives of their realities and engaging with Plymouth’s creative sector. 

Artist Lauren Craig was commissioned to respond to the conversations. As part of the commission, Craig, with sonic artist Neil Rose, and the curators, have created five ‘listening journeys’ across Plymouth, that Craig describes as ‘audio collages’. Audiences can engage in these free listening journeys by following the GPS routes on their smartphones, specifically mapped for this project. Head out for a walk with your headphones and really take the time to listen to these conversations. Look out for QR codes across central Plymouth.

More information about the project can be found on

Spaces to Speak curators Mills and Rose said:

“Conversation and listening are terms often overused, particularly in relation to projects in this field. We wanted to challenge the swift, surface level projects that are so common, and instead take a slow listening approach. The ‘listening journeys’ are long and minimally edited to allow the creatives a genuine space to speak, and to highlight the spontaneity and tangle of real conversations. The length and format of the ‘listening journeys’ requires the audience to take the time to listen”

You can find out more information about the Spaces to Speak approach in this video.

With the British Art Show 9 currently in Plymouth, Spaces to Speak couldn’t be more timely. BAS9 ‘explores three overarching themes – healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures.’ Since 2020 the Spaces to Speak project has been considering interconnected themes – care, trust, collective experience, looking to the future – and questioning how they are being addressed in Plymouth and the south west.

What is Plymouth already doing in terms of care, tactics for togetherness and imagining new futures? What are the lived realities of global majority creatives beyond the temporary mainstream Show of British Art?

Hannah Harris CEO of Plymouth Culture commented:

“We have been fascinated by how this project has evolved from the R&D phase. The approach Lorna and Ella have taken has been so considered that it has allowed the project to evolve at its own pace resulting in multiple layers and creative outputs. We see this as a critical, timely and pivotal piece of work that we are delighted to support”. 

The project culminates in February 2023 with a special live performance by Craig at the Real Ideas Immersive Dome in the Markethall, Devonport. For this closing event Craig has created an audio-visual sound piece as an immersive, interactive experience for the audience. Craig has commissioned locally made glass and metal vessels that are reminiscent of seed pods and shields. The vessels both conceptually ‘hold’ the creatives’ voices, and act as musical instruments that she will physically sound, “releasing the stories”.  

Craig says about the seed pod/shield vessels:

“I wanted to create protective seed pods for the stories that were shield-like and defensive, echoing Plymouth’s shores. I wanted to bring out the transparency of the stories through the glass, and bring a protective, combative and confrontational energy through the metal”.

Supported by funds from Arts Council England and project partners Plymouth Culture, Barbican Theatre, Association for Art History and Plymouth’s City Centre Company, with additional support from Real Ideas and Echoes. And a special thank you to Neil Rose (sound), Robert Hills (blacksmith) and Ian Hankey (glass) for their incredible work.

Join curators Dr Ella S. Mills and Lorna Rose to hear about the project’s approach, and to hear from commissioned artist Lauren Craig on her creative response to the interviews. Devon based artist Monica-Shanta, one of the project interviewees, will be joining the conversation on 27th Oct to discuss her practice, and her experience of the Spaces to Speak project.

Places can be booked on the Barbican Theatre website