SOUNDING CONNECTIONS is an online, interactive sound collage constructed from recordings taken around the North West of England. The works were developed by sound artist, Cameron Naylor, in an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Regen team.

In this blog, Sophie Whinney, who leads the Regen Art Lab programme, interviewed the collaborators within Regen on what they learned from the experience, what it means for the future of interdisciplinary collaborations, and how to connect the dots on the medium of sound and the topic of energy.

Images show the recording of SOUNDING CONNECTIONS: left Angela Mae Minas during an interview, right microphone set up in a tree to collect local birdsong for the soundscape elements.
RAL Logo 2 600x350


The Regen Art Lab’s artist residencies are Regen-funded, interdisciplinary collaborations between our clean energy experts and UK-based, early career artists. SOUNDING CONNECTIONS is the result of the programme’s second artist residency, which ran over 3 months and concluded in April 2023.


Over the past few months, Regen has had the pleasure of working with sound artist, Cameron Naylor, delving into the fascinating world of sound art and its synergies with electrical power.

The aim of our project was to bring together some of the voices fighting for a more sustainable and equitable energy system through the use of sound art. When we started the project, we were guided by exploring three elements and the relationships between them, namely energy democracy, community energy and the power grid.

Energy DemocracyEnergy democracy: Decarbonising our energy systems will require the active participation of many actors across society to influence the decisions that are being made, not only so that the transition is just, but also so we can decarbonise at the pace and scale that is needed.


Commuinty EnergyCommunity energy: Taking collective climate action at a local level is going to be essential to deliver renewable energy and tackle fuel poverty. The community energy movement exemplifies a shift away a global corporate fossil fuel industry to a community-led model that prioritizes the environment, local economies and health.



The power grid: Evolving our electricity networks is critical to net zero. We need to invest in and build the infrastructure that will transport the renewable electricity to our homes and businesses, and enable the transition to low carbon technologies like heat pumps and electric vehicles, at an affordable cost.

We explicitly set out to incorporate a range of voices from across the sector, to properly represent the nuances of this complex topic, make use of an artistic process to extend beyond our in-house expertise, and to share knowledge in different style and medium compared to our typical work. This drew inspiration from the practise of verbatim theatre, which uses real words spoken by individuals as the basis for the script. This is a powerful tool for highlighting social and political issues and bringing to the fore a diverse range of perspectives.

Cameron and the Regen team developed a set of open interview questions around the three themes of energy democracy, community energy and the power grid. Cameron used these to guide the conversations he recorded with eight community energy and renewable energy representatives, specifically from the North West of England. We wanted to focus on a particular region to make sure the piece had roots – a sense of place. Cameron was based in Manchester, which has a thriving community energy scene, so it was a natural fit for him to explore his local area. Alongside the conversations, Cameron experimented with grid sonification, and used field recordings and sound production to layer sounds and emotive elements to represent different renewable energies.

The final works are an audio collage clustered around a larger number of common themes which emerged from the interviews. The works are online, free and interactive, to encourage people to listen to them at their own pace and to share with their own networks.

To offer a glimpse behind the scenes of the production and process for the collage, I spoke with the artist Cameron and some of the collaborators he spoke with at Regen, Ray and Prina.

Cameron Headshot             Ray Headshot            Prina Headshot

Left to right:
Cameron Naylor, Sound Artist
Ray Arrell, Head of Future Energy Systems
Prina Sumaria, Local and Community Energy Coordinator

Connecting sound and energy

What magic have you found in experimenting with sound art and the concept of energy/democracy?

Cameron: The magic for me comes from finding ways to marry the technical aspects of energy, with the grounded and human reality sounded out via analogies to the energy that surrounds us on a daily basis. Much like energy, sound simultaneously occupies the abstract and the everyday, it is creating synergies between these two areas, that is the real magic to me – the ‘aha’ moment of sound and subject reaching an equilibrium.

Ray: Being involved in this project has been an interesting collision of two worlds – energy and sound. Working with Cameron to hear how he has used recordings, sound capture and effects to characterise different aspects of the energy system, alongside voices from our communities talking about those areas, has been fascinating. The electricity network is going to be the linchpin to a transition to a net zero energy system, it is critical to enabling the growth of renewable energy and low carbon heat and transport. This sound collage combines people sharing the challenges and opportunities that community energy brings, alongside an ‘audible characterisation’ of key topic areas and energy technologies. The end result is a patchwork of voices, supported by soundscapes around grid, wind, community empowerment, regulation and other areas. It feels like a truly unique set of material that provides a new way of being able to listen to real people in the real word talking about energy and democracy.

Prina: To me, there was a real magic in the joining of the emotional responses and sense of place created from the soundscape elements, alongside the knowledge and voices of those interviewed. Democratising energy, and supporting a bottom-up approach is a key tenet of community energy. This art piece exemplifies that principle through interviewing people on the ground and amplifying their voices.

Connecting voices and energy

How have the final art works reflected or addressed the diversity of perspectives? How did you navigate a project deeply predicated on interview material?

Cameron: As an artist carrying out any project, there are a huge number of choices encountered on a daily basis; whether it’s who is interviewed, the questions asked, or what material is cut from the final project, each choice presented reflects the biases fundamental to my creative practice. Therefore, strategies must be developed to ensure diversity does remain central to the work. Sharing development was critical in this way. This included sharing questions with the team, then sharing them with the interviewees, seeking feedback on the vocal cut to ensure the message remains as balanced and fair as possible (from both the team, and interviewees) and checks on the soundscape, and website under interface. This all helped get one step closer to achieving equilibrium with diversity and my creative approach.

Ray: At Regen we pride ourselves as being a convenor in the energy sector – bringing together a wide range of different groups from different aspects of the energy system, to cluster around the big topics facing net zero. Alongside the production of soundscapes, at its heart this project was aiming to bring together a diverse set of voices, to share honest views about the issues facing energy democracy and community energy. I feel that Cameron has achieved that, with a range of individuals from different organisations and areas of the sector sharing their thoughts and opinions on a range of subjects. The way Cameron has also ‘scattered’ excerpts from different people across each piece, is a reflection that all views are valid and no one voice is more important than the next.

Prina: The energy sector is not always a diverse space – it is often dominated by certain demographics, in certain geographical areas, with certain views. Cameron has done a brilliant job of extracting a diverse set of voices, to truly encapsulate the diversity already within the energy sector, and shows the possibilities of an even more inclusive and democratic energy sector if we take the necessary steps. With the chopping and changing of interviewees within the soundscape, it was impressive how a coherent narrative thread was maintained.

Connecting the disciplines – working together

Has the project challenged or expanded your own practices? How has the collaborative process influenced your own understanding of creativity, innovation, and the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration in the future?

Cameron: This project has been incredibly challenging to my practice in all the best ways. From interviews, the composition format, to the user experience, there have been areas in which I’ve seen massive growth, and that’s a sentiment that is multiplied by collaboration. It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with the Regen team and further afield to not only challenge myself by learning about a sector I was unfamiliar to prior, but also to open my work, and what is often a very personal process, up at so many points to get outside input into composition.  It’s helped challenge my compositional choices, as well as understand how codeveloping in this way helps to innovate in new and exciting ways.

Ray: I think this work has reinforced the value of trying out new approaches to communication. From the outset we decided that applying an overly analytical lens or driving for a seamless narrative etc. would potentially limit the creative process or steer the output away from something it should be – a piece of sound art. This piece wasn’t intended to be a playlist of interviews, it was intended to use voices and supporting soundscapes to communicate the energy topics in a new way. I think the outcome has met those aims and I for one enjoyed hearing the characterisation of different aspects of the energy system come together. This process says that the energy sector should be open to trying new ways of communication and new mediums to catch the attention of wider members of society.

Prina: Working with Cameron has shown us a new way of collaborating and engaging with a wider group of people; both the interviewees and the wider audience this piece might reach. His approach was open, and invited stakeholders to input their viewpoints in a unique way. Collaborating with others working towards the same mission will be essential for us to tackle the climate crisis from all angles. This project showed us the importance of opening up conversations in a way that invites dialogue and the sharing of ideas with individuals we may not usually approach, hopefully leading to a bigger and stronger movement of people working towards climate justice.

Noun Headphones 1002118 ADC32BListen to SOUNDING CONNECTIONS


Author: Sophie Whinney, Regen Art Lab programme manager
Contact Sophie at

Sophie Headshot

A special thank you to all the interviewees, who made the project possible:

Ky Hoare (Regen),
Angela Mae Minas (University of Manchester),
Alejandro Gallego Schmid (University of Manchester),
Sandy Rushton (People Powered Retrofit),
Timothy Braunholtz-Speight (University of Manchester),
Helen Seagrave (Energy North West),
Jaise Kuriakose (University of Manchester),
James Fenner (Carbon Co-op)





Stay informed

Sign up to the Regen newsletter to receive a monthly digest of our work to revolutionise the UK energy system, and industry insights.

We take care of your personal data. We will only contact you according to your preferences and will NEVER share or sell your details. See our privacy policy for more information