The Unheard World is a 6 month R&D exploring the experience of migration, displacement and language from a cultural and Deaf perspective. Led by Deaf artistic director and professional musician, Ruth Montgomery, working with Deaf and Syrian/Middle Eastern artists, the project will develop three distinct new music and mixed media artworks.

Three new artistic collaborations exploring migration, displacement, language from a cultural and Deaf perspective.

1: Syrian composer Waseem Kotoub, Deaf Sudanese textile artist Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings (who migrated to the UK for specialist deaf education) and disabled/deaf visual artist, Rachel Gadsden reworking of Kotoub’s composition ‘Stories of Syria’ into 5 movements (flute – Ruth Montgomery, violin, viola cello, Oud by Rihab Azar and Jamal Al-Sakka Arabic percussion). ‘Stories of Syria’ is based on Arabic traditional music with current/contemporary ideas.

Rachel Gadsden will create 5 live paintings relaying tones, emotions and story content of music from Stories of Syria. This could be in a descriptive form of figures or in Arabic/abstract colours

Omeima will work very closely with Ruth Montgomery for music translation by creating some textile works. These works will show that a lot of music is intrinsically mathematical, in a form of geometry. It consists of patterns of symmetry and asymmetry, ratios of time units and pitches and complex interactions of frequency spectra. Omeima will blend and extend on this with Arabic heritage, knowledge, traditional designs and calligraphy.

2. Kotoub’s new composition ‘Belonging’ refines collaborative integration of textile installation and portraiture. Omeima will create an installation showing fragments of cultural shifts, embracing her deafness, Sudanese & Arabic heritage. Rachel Gadsden will create a portrait of Omeima showing different stages of life through colour and expressive emotions linking with the music too.

These works will also develop captions and digital augmented reality BSL translation for devices, musically translated into BSL by Nadia Nadarajah relaying live. With filmmaking for illustration by Deaf filmmaker Bim Ajadi.

3: Experimental film/music collaboration between young BSL storyteller Layla Fitzgerald-Woolfe, Ruth Montgomery, Rihab Azar (Syrian Oud player) based on a young Deaf Kurdish refugee’s story fleeing Iran, with photography and writing by Stephen Iliffe. Collaborations complement each other thematically – the first, portraying what home was like, the second, telling the real story of a young refugee within today’s context and placing work by young creatives on professional, high profile platforms.

Activity includes collaboration with Deaf young people and young refugees with showcasing at Arlington Arts Centre, Fabrica (Brighton Digital Festival), Decibels Year of Sound. Artists and organisations will explore Audiovisability as a creative access practice with showcasing to influence its wider adoption.