Curating Sound for Difficult Histories

Curating Sound for Difficult Histories

held as part of Arts Week 2018 and in collaboration with Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, University of Hertfordshire and BIRMAC (Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture

Tuesday 15 May 2018, 14: 00-21: 00

Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square


Organising Committee  :

Kim Akass, Univeristy of Hertfordshire

Silke Arnold-de Simine,Birkbeck, University of London

Janet McCabe, Birkbeck, University of London

Diana Popecsu, Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (Birkbeck, University of London)


The aim of this event deals with sound and silence and how soundscapes – music, noise, voices, speech and silence– make visible difficult histories, in particular the Holocaust. What the event will do is connect questions of representation, memory/remembering, authenticity/affect, around the theme of curating sound for difficulty histories.


Music and composition : Prof. Stephen Frosh, with an illustrated talk on Steve Reich’s composition “Different Trains” (1988)

Installation art and soundscapes : Esther Shalev, with an illustrated talk on Holocaust, testimony, the human voice and its silences. Works which could contribute to the day :

The Berlin Inquiry

Does your image reflect me?

Inseparable Angels: Imaginary House for Walter Benjamin 

Between Listening and Telling: Last Witnesses, Auschwitz


Sounds and museum installation : Jascha Dormann – Idee und Klang

Sound and exhibition, considering the sounds / voices of survivors and perpetrators (overlapping voices / contested testimony and the sound of bearing witness / question of silence / listening and speaking, linked to ways of remembering and memory cultures). This session considers sound design in the exhibition / museum space.

18: 00

Holocaust, film and sound editing : Val Kuklowsky, Hollywood sound designer/editor, with an illustrated lecture on the use of sound in Son of Saul. This session could be chaired by Adele Fletcher (Herts)

Val’s illustrated lecture will be followed by a screening of Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015)