Winchester performing arts projects awarded £170,000 in national grants

The creator of a series of interactive art experiences that invite children to explore the power of their own voices has won nearly £170,000 in grant funding from the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

Dr Yvon Bonenfant, of the University of Winchester’s Faculty of Arts, will be using the awards to take his speaking and singing art installation, Uluzuzulalia, on a UK tour in Spring 2014. He will also be working with Winchester’s INTECH Science Centre to launch a new installation called the Voice Trunk, while exploring the development of an iPad app, which would make his art more accessible to children and families at home and in schools.

Uluzuzulalia invites children aged six to 11 years old inside two hi-tech performance tents: the ‘Speech Bubble’, where they play with different linguistic sounds and develop and cast magic spells; and the ‘Squeak Bubble’, where they use their voices to imitate wild animals and extreme weather.

The children are guided through the sets by actors playing the role of ‘tongue wizards’. Their role is to use the tents’ special effects and their audience’s voices to reveal ways of making sounds that the young people might not have the freedom to do elsewhere. As well as taking part in a live visual arts performance, the children are taught the science behind the human voice.

Dr Bonenfant’s innovative visual and vocal arts projects have secured a Large Arts Award from The Wellcome Trust worth £116,818, while Arts Council England has pledged £51,945 from its Grants for the Arts programme.

“I’m delighted that the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England have made the daring decision to back these unique projects,” said Dr Bonenfant. “Now I look forward to taking more of the vivacious voice to a creative and dynamic audience – children.”

In October, Dr Bonenfant will be giving a keynote presentation about the research concepts behind his work at the Art and Knowledge: Making Sense of the Sensibleconference to be held at the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in Finland.

For more information about Uluzuzulalia visit www.uluzuzulalia.com