Research & Projects

Rebecca’s main research interests are in the fields of sound, listening, performance and writing. Rebecca is particularly interested in practice-led research methodologies for investigating aural attention, affect, mood and atmosphere through listening, text and vocal delivery techniques.

Rebecca’s work is informed by situated transdisciplinary interests in politics, site, and aesthetics. She is currently making situated accounts of sonic-driven scientific experiments and eavesdropping on the first few minutes of the Universe for forthcoming publications and outreach endeavours.

Parameters for Understanding Uncertainty: Creative Practice and Sonic Detection as Strategies for Scientific Outreach (P4UU) (2022-2023)

This research investigates how methodologies used in creative practice meet those in the physical sciences. The aim is to find innovative approaches to better communicate research processes involving invisible matter. P4UU combines research into existing art/science collaborations with a sonic inflection (e.g., Ars Electronica residencies at CERN, Geneva) with field research at laboratories where physical science experiments use sound technology for dark matter detection (e.g., the Canfranc Underground Laboratory and the Laboratory of Acoustics for the Detection of Astroparticles), to find unconventional research engagement strategies. Situated accounts of the aforementioned laboratories, a disused underground railway tunnel or below sea level, can provide new angles on often impenetrable methods of particle physicists. Field work in the form of site visits, interviews, autoethnographic writing and workshops inform the investigation. Podcasts, new sound work, and a series of published materials put the research in contact with a wider public. 

Stolen Voices: Listening as Site-Specific Creative Practice On The East Coast Of The UK (2014-2019) 

Stolen Voices is an ongoing inquiry by Rebecca Collins and Johanna Linsley, with rotating collaborators, inspired by eavesdropping.

The work imagines public spaces as semi-fictional constructions, as if an Agatha Christie novel has shattered over a town and fragments caught in the local soundscape. Summoned to these spaces, the artist researchers, Collins & Linsley, seek access, navigate pathways and decode traces of an as-yet-undefined event. Stolen Voices particularly investigates the UK coast. The sense of borders and border crossings, evidence of lost technologies, shifting economies and ways of life, and the romance of the sea – all of these add up to prime eavesdropping territory. The project takes a variety of forms, from participatory workshops to new music composition, experimental performance, community gig nights, an installation called the Eavesdropbox, an album (Stolen Voices 001 shortlisted for a New Music Scotland Award, 2021) and a book project (forthcoming) which contains a sonic detective novel.

Stolen Voices 001 the album 284 limited copies. Shortlisted for a New Music Scotland Award, 2021.

Stolen Voices has been supported using public funds from the Arts Council England. It was initiated in 2014 as a Live Art Development Agency DIY project, in association with Sound & Music and Arts Bournemouth. The project was commissioned as a Silver City Stories project, with support from Aberdeen City Council, the University of Aberdeen and Visit Aberdeenshire, in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts. The project received support from the Live Art Development Agency, SPILL Festival and Snape Maltings, Royal Society Edinburgh. Previous supporters include Helix Arts and East Durham Creates.

“Sometimes listening isn’t to do with receiving sounds: it’s short-hand for what we understand to be involved with the minor, or maybe the haptic senses. Short-hand, for an attempt to unlearn the infrastructures that we live within, that are based on the ability to focus, define, refine, and move through in a linear manner.”

Rebecca Wilcox

Against Disappearance: Future Environmental Values in Visual Culture  (2020 – 2022)

A transdisciplinary research enquiry investigating how artistic practices can offer frameworks for living more environmentally sustainable futures. Since early 2020, Rebecca has been working with an international interdisciplinary team of environmental scientists, policy makers and criminal justice specialists on the Intergovernmental Policy for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) global assessment. This report, due to be presented in 2022, will be used by decision and policy makers to inform strategic planning related to the environment. As Visual Culture lead on the report Collins, to date, has been compiling a database of resources and drafting the written section of the report for publication. An integral aspect of this investigation is the translation of complex theoretical ideas into action points to be understood by policy makers and non-specialist audiences. Collins seeks to interrogate how a series of bespoke graphic designs can assist in this process. To do so, Collins will initiate a new collaboration with Barcelona-based action design for social change collective, The Social Vim, to produce a series of infographics to illustrate complex findings from the report. A publication with the extracts from the submitted report and the info-graphics is forthcoming.

PICA (Processes of Imaginative Artistic Creation) (2018 – 2020)

Competitively selected to be part of two-year research residency program in the Basque Country to explore collective process of creation and imagination through embodied sharing practices. To date PICA has held critical discussions at Festival Punto de Vista (Pamplona, 2019/20), BAD Dance Festival (Bilbao, 2018/19) and has organized a 5-day conference, Proklama13 at Artium Museum (Vitoria, 2019). Individual research for this project was presented at London College of Communication (2019) Bricks in the Kiln #4 and Bulegoa, Bilbao (2019). 

Sound Art In Brazil (2018)

Field work in Brazil with groups and individuals associated with the UNESCO-funded ‘He for She’ initiative into pedagogical strategies to tackle gendered exclusion in the sonic arts. The project included a symposium on ‘Gender, Body, and Sound’ (5th-6th September 2018) in collaboration with Prof Isabel Nogueira and the research group for gender, body and music based at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Research In A Box (2017)

Co-investigator for Research in a box: Women in Sound: Designing and Building Instruments Outputs include a loanable kit for schools, three online video tutorials, a website and a symposium. See  

Interdisciplinary Projects: Smile And Hashtag This Girl Can  (2015- 2017)

Co-investigator on an award-winning interdisciplinary project, Smile, investigating dental anxiety and sound with The School of Dentistry. Outputs to date include a performance and a school’s engagement program. Lead artist for Hashtag This Girl Can, performance project exploring the performance of online gendered identities with Cap-a-Pie and Newcastle University. Outputs included an installation at Northern Charter, two conference presentations and a performance at Northern Stage, Newcastle. Rebecca received the National Co-Ordinating Centre for Public Engagement Award (NCCPE) and the University of Leeds Engagement Award.   

Experiments In Aural Attention (2011-2016)

Lead investigator for Experiments in Aural Attention exploring he aesthetic relation of aural attention in audience/performer dynamics present in contemporary performance and installation-based artworks. Outputs included an exhibition and Listening to Water, an audio track featured on BBC Wales and Stress FM for the Lisbon Architectural Triennial.