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Where We Find Ourselves: A Co-Listening Practice

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Co Listening

Drawing on the work of Pauline Oliveros and others, artist Ian Nesbitt holds space for deep listening as a transformative collective practice. This is not a conversation, but an invitation to listen deeply, and share what emerges. Freed from the need to respond, the practice allows participants to listen for understanding rather than agreement.

Each session begins with the prompt ‘Where do you find yourselves?’ Asking where we find ourselves calls us into dialogue with our surroundings. It calls us to behold and reflect on our relationships with other beings. It calls us to make space for our individual and collective griefs, and for that which does not make sense yet.

Gently proposing a shift from ‘Festival of Debate’ to ‘Festival of Listening’, these events question the place of combative verbosity in any speculative futures that we might envisage, asking participants to imagine how a political institution such as the House of Commons might benefit from becoming, even temporarily, the House of Listening.

The in-person event takes place at Bloc Projects, in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Grief must be Love with Nowhere to Go’ by Chris Alton and Emily Simpson. Artist Ian Nesbitt, who has been facilitating these sessions for two years, says: “Co-listening is a practice of togetherness, addressing the question of how to live well amongst the grief and debris of a collapsing system."


Ian is a socially engaged art worker, filmmaker, writer and pedestrian based in northern Britain. His current work holds space for practicing togetherness and exploring the question of what it means to live well with the unfolding consequences of a collapsing system.

His work has been platformed, commissioned and screened across Europe and the UK since 2005. During 2023 he was ‘artist-in resonance’ for Amsterdam-based Dancing On The Edge’s Year Of Listening. He is currently working on commissions for Gentle / Radical (Cardiff, UK) and Harris Museum (Preston, UK) and finding time for his long-form project The Book Of Visions.

Part of our 2024 festival strand


How can we reimagine our citizenship and our democracy?