The Mental Health Noise Orchestra

A noise orchestra for people with mental disabilities and health issues.

An activity by
partnering with Europe Grand Central, European Foundation for Urban Culture, WorkshopsOfCulture

Explores the borders

mental disabilities creativity
music noise
community art art


The Mental Health Noise Orchestra is a project involving people with mental disabilities and health issues. As well as being community-based, it operates at the cutting-edge of contemporary sonic art, challenging public preconceptions concerning people with disabilities through demonstrating their potential for creativity and experimentation. Through workshops, the participants open their ears to the possibilities of sound and noise through listening whilst exploring an alternative to elitist traditions and the profit-driven music industry which pervade our notion of what music is or should be.


Lublin, Poland




How it was done

public art
Bordr stories


The project was conceived by the artist Ryo Ikeshiro (UK/Jp) who spent a few weeks working with people from the “Benjamin” Support Centre for People with Disabilities (Ośrodek Wsparcia dla Osób z Niepełnosprawnością “Benjamin”). Together, they presented the world premiere of the Mental Health Noise Orchestra in Lublin. They hoped that by attending the performance, the audience would also be encouraged to open their ears and minds.


Bordr Stories

As part of this activity, Bordr stories were booked.

View more stories posted with this activity

How it went

Main lessons learned

The participants and those working at the day care centre were extremely enthusiastic and supportive at all times. They were very happy with the workshops and the performances which I was very pleased with.

There were issues with organisation which could have been improved. By working more efficiently, the content of the workshops could have been more finely-tuned, but overall the outcome was successful.


Ula Pilat (interpreter and assistant)
Participants from Benjamin, including everyone working there
Warsztaty Kultury
Piotr Brożek (video)
Marcin Pietrusza (photography)

Activity Timeline


  • Workshops

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    Workshops exploring different aspects of noise. Topics explored included:

    • what is noise? what is sound?
    • favourite sounds
    • describing sounds
    • using contact microphones
    • listening to our soundscape and sound environment
    • field recording
    • creating a performance
    • leading an ensemble



  • Gallery Performance

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    1st performance and world premiere at Galeria Labirynt, with demonstration. Video footage from workshops was also screened.

  • Outdoor Performance

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    2nd performance, this time outdoors, at Centrum Kultury w Lublinie.

2 comments on “The Mental Health Noise Orchestra

  1. christo September 11, 2016 10:55 pm

    What were the responses to the question “what is noise?”Reference

  2. Ryo Ikeshiro September 12, 2016 9:21 am

    Varied from sounds they disliked – e.g. unwanted, an interruption, not music – to sounds they liked – e.g. interesting, complex, that made them pay attention and listen.

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