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Vocalise to Socialise
8–9 November 2014, 14:00–17:00

Lab 1

This weekend lab will focus on the evolution of the voice and its role in social bonding.

Our power of speech is unique amongst animals and is vital to maintaining our social networks, but what makes human voices appealing to other people? Join artist Emma Smith, psychologist Laurence White, cognitive neuroscientist Nina Kazanina and special guest speakers for a weekend event to explore the evolution of voice and its role in social bonding.

Day 1: Saturday November 8

11am – 12.30pm   Language Evolution Workshop

2pm – 5.30pm   5Hz Lab: Vocalise to Socialise

Day one will explore ideas from biology, psychology, neuroscience and anthropology about the origins of the human voice and will include a practical demonstration on electroencephalography with Nina Kazanina.

Guest speakers Camilla Power (University of East London) and Laurence White (Plymouth University) join us in the afternoon for debate and discussion around current relevant research in this field.

Laurence White: Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Plymouth University. Laurence’s research explores the music of speech, examining how variation in speech rhythm and timing affects our understanding of language and our attitudes to speakers.

Camilla Power: Senior Lecturer at the School of Law and Social Sciences, UEL. Camilla is an evolutionary anthropologist whose work looks at the emergence of language, art and ritual.


Day 2: Sunday November 9

11:00 – 12:30   Language Evolution Workshop

14:00 – 17:30   5Hz Lab: Vocalise to Socialise

Day two will look at how the voice has been used for social purposes throughout history and will include an interactive language evolution game.

Guest speakers include Shane Butler (Bristol University) and James Carney (Oxford University).

Shane Butler: Professor at Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Bristol. Shane’s research explores the ways in which literature is present to us, looking at how study of our ancient past models key aspects of human cognition and experience.

James Carney: Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. His research focuses on the psychology of representation and narrative in relation to social bonding.


Language Evolution Workshops

Join us to help evolve a new language.

This lab is part of 5Hz, a collaborative project by artist Emma Smith, psychologist and phonetician Laurence White, cognitive neuroscientist and psycholinguist Nina Kazanina and musicologist Emma Hornby. The project will imagine an evolution of voice specifically for social bonding, based on neuroscientific and psychological research into speech rhythm.

Supported by the Wellcome Trust, 5Hz involves a one-year participatory research process, leading to public workshops and events in autumn 2014 and an exhibition at Arnolfini in March 2015.

To book a place please contact the Arnolfini Box Office:

By Phone or Fax
Box office and general enquiries: 0117 917 2300
Fax: 0117 917 2303
By Email:

5hz Logo@2x

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