Research conducted by Marek Korczynski, Professor of Sociology of Work at Loughborough University, into the social history of music within the workplace informed the beginnings of the Sound of History programme.
The research uncovered a rich and diverse body of archive recordings that had been largely neglected, but which offered a vivid insight into the role of songs sung during manual labour. They covered a broad range of occupations – fishermen to factory workers, mining to munitions, charting the move from pre-industrial to industrial activities.
Artist Ruth Ewan used the research as a starting point, and became interested in Loughborough’s historical links with the ‘bell’. Eliza Carthy responded directly to the research with a unique, live performance of these forgotten work songs. In conjunction with this, a participatory project took place with two local schools working with composers Elspeth Brooke and Duncan Chapman to compose, record, and perform new pieces which were inspired by the archived songs from Marek’s work. 7 Inch Cinema presented a selection of short films that focused utilising hidden footage.