Ambient Jam Sonic Letters

artistic image of a face with painted colours around it
a man in a hood with a mirror ball
man dressed ina gold cape with microphone
two images of the same woman in a stripey top



“She is captivated” Area manager for a Lewisham supported housing provider

“She is enjoying it so much, seeing all familiar faces, it has given her that social interaction she has been missing due to lockdown.” A sister of one of our members

During the COVID-19 lockdown, we’ve re-shaped all our programmes, including the Ambient Jam improvisations with artists who have multiple and profound disabilities. Together, we are connecting in new ways using sound, movement and light to create ‘Sonic Letters’ and holding weekly improvisations over Zoom.

These letters are created in the form of short films using sound, music, movement of light, dance, clowning, spoken word and painting. Each film is inspired by our members and their own unique ways of communicating and connecting. For members with visual impairment, we have just begun to explore ways to audio describe the visuals of a letter. We miss everyone, so it has been a delight to think about their work and how they might receive a letter from us.

Unexpectedly for the artists, it has made us think more deeply in person-centred ways about the diverse ways each of our members communicate and how informative and creative that is. The letters have been so successful we would like to continue to make them when normal person-to-person sessions resume.

Artists have had to learn new digital skills and push their boundaries in using new media to communicate and connect. Some letters explore the theme of light and how it moves and reflects through objects and corresponds to music. The detailed understanding of the complex ways we might perceive light as a way of experiencing the world has been inspired by one of our members with profound autism. Creative digital letters have improved the communication pathways between us and families and circles of care.

We have also developed a programme of Ambient Jam Zoom improvisations, with artist-members supported by family or support workers in their homes, and artists working with movement, film and music. Recently, one of our members led the start of the improvisation by singing to us the song from one the Sonic Letters she had received. In this way, our personalised micro-film letters weave back into the group work and inform a larger event.

Here is a small selection of Sonic Letters that will continue to grow.

Each film is between 3 – 6 minutes long.

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