HtV Research Publications
Hearing the Voice is delighted to announce an exciting opportunity to contribute to a major exhibition on voice-hearing that will take place at Palace Green Library, Durham University from 5 November 2016 to 26 February 2017.

Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday will be one of the main ways that our project seeks to improve public understanding of voice-hearing, reduce stigma and discrimination and challenge some of the myths and misconceptions that surround this experience. Incorporating material from Durham University’s own collections as well as those of other local and national institutions, the exhibition aims to explore the cultural, clinical and spiritual aspects of voice-hearing, and to demonstrate how this phenomenon illuminates fascinating questions about many vital aspects of human experience.

As part of the exhibition, we are looking to commission a writer to undertake a residency during the course of the exhibition at Palace Green Library. The residency would contribute particularly to the section of the exhibition that will focus on the important role that voices – be they inner, imagined or heard – play in writing and in the reading of literary works. It will explore writers’ powerful and unusual experiences of voices whilst writing, including the surprisingly common but little understood phenomenon whereby writers “hear” the voices of the fictional characters they create. Focusing specifically upon the works and lives of three hugely significant literary figures (Woolf, Dickens, and Beckett), it will investigate how voices have inspired writers throughout literary history and how these unusual experiences feed into the representation of voices within literary works. Readers, too, have diverse and fascinating experiences of inner voice (with 1 out of 7 people saying that they experience the voices of characters like hearing somebody speaking in the same room) and so this section of the exhibition will also encourage visitors to reflect upon their own experiences of characters and narrators whilst reading.

The aim of this residency is to actively explore ideas around inner voice in writing and reading through engagement with and interaction between the exhibition, its visitors, and a writer. It is envisioned that the residency will comprise of three main strands:

  • contribution to the exhibition setting and content through periods of working within the exhibition setting (i.e. being physically ‘in residence’) and working with the curatorial team on interactive exercises for visitors during periods outside of being ‘in residence’
  • facilitation of creative writing workshops
  • production of new work as an output of the residency

Together, work on these three strands should:

  • aim to explore and expound the role of inner voice in the creation of literary work for exhibition visitors, workshop participants, and through new writing
  • draw on the exhibition content and interaction with exhibition visitors and workshop participants in order to do this
  • be informed by the research and reference material provided by the project
  • create a space in and means by which visitors can respond to the exhibition content and ideas
  • contribute to the body of knowledge and research findings on the role of inner voice in the creation of literary work

Scope of residency
The residency is anticipated to run throughout the life of the exhibition and for a short period thereafter. During the exhibition’s run it is expected to include a minimum of 10 days working in the exhibition galleries at Palace Green Library and the delivery of no fewer than 2 creative writing workshops held at the Library as part of the exhibition’s engagement programme. This should be preceded by a number of research and development days, and followed by time working on the completion and preparation for publication of new writing produced within, and as a result of, the residency. The exact format of the final publication is yet to be determined, but it is anticipated that selections will be made to be included alongside images and text from the exhibition, as a legacy of the project.

How to apply
For more information about the commission and instructions on how to apply, please download the Writer-In-residence commission brief.

Applications close at 12 noon on Friday 15 July 2016.

For informal enquiries relating to this commission, please contact Emma Hamlett.