Distributed Listening – socially engaged art

Impact: Cultural Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact

Description of impact

This project was designed in collaboration with 2 theater companies to engage participants outside of the academic research community.

Two theater companies identified a specific need of engaging young people in listening and in discovering the role of sound in everyday life. The proposal was developed according to those needs and brings a research component (distributed listening) into a portable form in the shape of a newly custom-designed app for mobile devices.

Throughout 2016 we collaborated with the Lyric Theater in Belfast and young adults aged between 16 and 25. We also worked with Manchester based charity '42nd Street', a young people’s mental health charity committed to supporting young people under stress.

This project was concerned with socially engaged arts, a form of active citizenship, commissioned to effect social change. At the heart of our project were the participants who, under the guidance of professional theater facilitators, developed a piece of creative work based on “distributed listening”.

Who is affected

Young people
Young performers


The outcome, an app, has been designed and is now live on the App store. The Android version will be launched in mid 2018.
Impact statusCompleted
Impact date01 Jan 201601 Jul 2017
Category of impactCultural Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact
Impact levelAdoption


  • distributed listening
  • mental health
  • performance
  • app development
  • Lyric Theatre
  • theatre
  • sound