Tinnitus, Auditory Knowledge and the Arts is an Arts and Humanities Research Council project, bringing together Marie Thompson from The Open University, Patrick Farmer from Oxford Brookes University’s Sonic Arts Research Unit, The British Tinnitus Association and Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency to investigate how the arts might help enrich understandings of tinnitus and the diverse ways it affects people living with the condition.

In films, literature and music, tinnitus tends to be represented as a high-pitched ringing in the ears. While many might be able to relate to these depictions, tinnitus can be experienced very differently. For some, tinnitus may be a whistling, buzzing, or crackling sound. It can seem constant or intermittent, or change in relation to mood or environment. In exploring the relationship between tinnitus and the arts, the project aims to expand popular tropes about tinnitus.

Participants wanted

The project is currently recruiting participants for a series of digital workshops exploring how art activities might be used to share different experiences of tinnitus. Following a pilot with the British Tinnitus Association’s consultation group, the project team are looking for people who are over 18 and based in the UK to take part. While the workshops aim to capture a range of perspectives, they are unfortunately not suitable for people whose tinnitus is severe (i.e. is particularly intrusive or has a significant negative impact on their wellbeing and quality of life).

For more information about the workshops and to apply to participate, visit the project website. Deadline for applications: 7pm on Tuesday, 8 June.


Two artist commissions have also been funded as part of the project. Following a successful open call, artists Nina Thomas and Fern Thomas have been appointed to create new work relating to tinnitus. This will be displayed in an exhibition at Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency from 8 to 31 October 2021.

Image credit: Patrick Farmer: Tinnitus Portrait