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Inspired by and contributing to the development of Susan Philipsz’s public artwork Station Clock, Twelve Tones is a citywide participatory art project engaging communities across Birmingham and Solihull exploring sound in relation to place and time in a series of artist-led workshops and sharing events.

Launched by Susan Philipsz in a workshop with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students in November 2018, the project will cultivate dialogue between the UK’s second city’s diverse communities – from young to old; across all genders; races and faiths; differing social backgrounds; professional and amateur vocalists – a breadth of humanity.

From 2019 – 2021 the Twelve Tones team are delivering artist-led participatory sound art workshops with communities across Birmingham and Solihull. Through this series of workshops and sharing events, the Twelve Tones artist-composer team are working with fifty-five community groups to explore the twelve tone chromatic scale utilised in Station Clock and discover how sound can be experienced sculpturally in the public realm.

Workshop participants are being invited to record and contribute their voice to become part of Station Clock, as one of the 1,092 voices that will sing one or more of the twelve tones in union, harmony and dissonance, on the hour, every hour, seven days a week.

Alongside the community workshops we will also be running Open Recording Days where citizens of Birmingham, including people who have not participated in the workshop programme, will also have the opportunity to record their voice at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The recording process takes less than 15 minutes of your time, refreshments will be provided and travel expenses within Birmingham can also be covered. 

How to take part –

  • Email for more information about the project and to find out how your choir, community group, school or workplace can participate in the city-wide Twelve Tones workshop programme.
  • Visit  to book a 5 minute slot at an upcoming Open Recording Day.

Twelve Tones has been commissioned with the Birmingham Big Art Foundation and is funded by an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant and Birmingham City Council Culture on our Doorstep Grant. Recordings are being produced in partnership with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

The curatorial framework for Twelve Tones was collaboratively devised with composer and community arts consultant Bobbie-Jane Gardner in response to Susan Philipsz concept for Station Clock.

Susan Philipsz, The Voices workshop at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire 2018. Commissioned by Birmingham Big Art Project with Eastside Projects. Supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council. Photograph DB Photographic Solutions.