Colourama - Conversations with Synaesthetes (2018)

  What: An audio documentary & installation about synaesthesia, a curious neurological condition where sounds are experienced as colours. 

The work is a collaboration between media producer Thomas Wilson and the University of Sheffield Music Department. The project was produced for the Festival of the Mind, where the piece was played to a live audience over wireless headphones. 

What is synaesthesia?

Synaesthesia is a neurological condition experienced by roughly 4% of the UK population. The word synaesthesia is Greek in origin, and loosely means 'union of the senses'.

Stimulation of one sense (e.g. hearing a sound) triggers the stimulation of a second unrelated sense (e.g. seeing a colour). Synaesthesia takes many forms; in fact there are over 60 that we know of.  

We spoke to synaesthetes (people with synaesthesia) from all walks of life, and asked them to describe and compare their experiences.

 When: The podcast aired at the Festival of the Mind in 2018 and was heard by the Sheffield public on 100 sets of wireless headphones in a travelling circus tent. We held a live Q&A with 3 synaesthetes and two university researchers.

You can now hear the documentary in full online via the player at the top of this page. 

We also built a sound installation for the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield where visitors could hear excerpts from the documentary and interact with synaesthete artwork. 

  Who: Colourama is a collaboration between mixed-media producer Thomas Wilson, and Renee Timmers + Caroline Curwen from University of Sheffield Music Dept.

  What now? Be part of the reseach - Curious to see if you might have synaesthesia? We invite you to complete this very short questionnaire, share your experiences, and to add to our research.

We’d like to thank the Festival of the Mind for supporting this unique project, our interviewees, and Isan & Kosta T for providing the soundtrack. 

-- For more information:  hi@thomw.co