Music 286R Listening, Creativity, and Imagination

Mind the Gap - Project Abstract

Think Tank ODI published a briefing on public attitudes towards refugees and other migrants in the UK in October 2021. They reported that:

- Most Britons consistently overestimate the number of migrants in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2019, refugees and other migrants accounted for 14% of the UK population, yet the majority of Britons assume that 27% of the UK population are migrants.

- Public narratives on refugees and other migrants are polarised between a ‘threat narrative’ to culture, wealth and security, and a ‘positive narrative’ emphasising the potential benefits of immigration to culture, the economy and society.

- However, since the European Union (EU) referendum, immigration has ranked as a less important issue for the public. Concerns about immigration have fallen to their lowest levels in two decades. Attitudes towards migrants have also shifted from mostly negative to mostly positive, with a notable drop in negative attitudes.

The ODI briefing highlights the importance of taking care of the public narrative around issues of migration; that a real difference to human lives can be made by demanding compassionate and honest debate.

This project aims to combine the aims of soundscape composition, radio opera composition and musique concrète electroacoustic composition to sonically critique the conversation around migration across British shores.

The project uses source material and data from British sound projects such as the British Library's Sounds of Our Shores (, Ian Hawes' London Sound Survey ( and A.J Holmes' Social Housing Sound Archive (, as well as field recordings from friends and family still living in London.

This project ultimately aims to imagine a more compassionate, human centred discussion around refugees' place in British society, where the voices of those most impacted by the dispassionate policies on display are most foregrounded.