Alexandra and Ainsworth residents turn their environment into soundscapes

As part of Camden Alive residents of Alexandra and Ainsworth spent an evening workshop creating soundscapes to reflect their stories and experiences, with London-based sound artist Peter Adjaye, aka AJ Kwame.

Using their phones, residents recorded the sounds of their neighbourhood, as well as making new sounds by using percussion on the streets and buildings of Alexandra and Ainsworth.

The finished audio projects will be showcased through the Camden People’s Museum app, which aims to present the culture and creativity of its residents through digital interaction.

Ben, a resident participating in the project, said: “It's been great connecting with different people in a creative environment, you get to know people in a different way - it drops certain barriers because you're involved in something creative. Whereas in normal circumstances you don't break the ice in that kind of same way.”

Kate, a resident participating in the project, said: “What’s been really nice is I’ve been more engaged with the estate than I have any other time – this is the first time I’ve come into the youth centre and it’s been nice speaking with the kids here. And I have become more attuned to the sounds of the estate, I’m more conscious of it.”

Taking the residents through the process of sound recording and editing was Peter Adjaye, a contemporary conceptual sound artist who specialises in collaborations.

Peter Adjaye, sound artist, said: “There’s so many talented people on this estate, and they all get along really well. I've worked with eight year olds all the way up to 50 year olds on this project, and they've all managed to work together. And they're discovering things about each other, appreciating things about each other - it's been a real voice discovery. I think the community really comes together in a project like this, they start to see each other’s perspective.”

The group was made of up 20 residents of all ages, one group worked with Peter through two workshops at the Tenants and Residents Association Hall, as well as a group of seven young people aged 9-13 who worked with him at the ARC Youth Club. Each session gave residents a place to come together and be creative, pushing them to explore their neighborhood and see it in new ways.

Peter worked with residents to capture the sounds of their spaces, as well as helping them to make music through a series of creative workshops.

The residents were also taken through the process of editing to turn their sounds into a soundscape, which will allow listeners to go on a sound tour of the Alexandra and Ainsworth area. Listeners will be able to move through the area and connect with it and its stories through this immersive sound experience.

At the end of the project there will be a number of final soundscapes and musical compositions, made in collaboration between Peter and the residents. Each piece will be inspired by the resident’s lives, experiences and the world they live in.

“This is a really exciting project for the participating residents. Each of them have been shown how to transform their world and their experiences within that world, into a piece of sound.

“I am so pleased they have had the opportunity to work alongside the exceptionally talented Peter Adjaye, who gave them an insight into a skill that can lead to a range of options - from an enjoyable hobby, to a potentially exciting new career. I cannot wait to hear what our residents have come up with.”
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities

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Camden Alive is part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture and is a Mayor’s Cultural Impact Award winner.

London Borough of Culture is a Mayor of London initiative with support from the City of London Corporation’s Charity, City Trust Bridge and Airbnb.