Portrait of Zeynep Bulut

Sustainable Speech

In this talk, Zeynep Bulut will explore what constitutes sustainability of speech considering cases of fluent and non-fluent aphasia together with the conceptions of embodied voice in experimental music practices. By sustainability of speech, she does not address a linguistic or semantic fluency of speech. Sustainability of speech rather refers to feeling empowered to speak, both within and beyond the bounds of language. Probing cases of aphasia together with experimental music practices prompts such an exploration. Cognitive psycholinguistic and functional approaches describe aphasia as a “breakdown of information processing and linguistic abilities” deriving from a brain injury or trauma (Valletta and Barrett 2018). In a different context, amid social traumas, fragmentation, mobility, and change, sound poetry, contemporary vocal and experimental music practices employ breakdown of language as an aesthetic modality. While performing a metaphor and abstraction, the breakdown of language in these practices also points to the concrete, malleable, embodied, and cross-sensory aspects of voice, speech, and language. In so doing, these practices encourage an ecological account of speech, which underlines the body, voice, and language as plastic, as both malleable and resistant, interacting with the physical and social environment in a multi and cross-sensory network. 

Looking at cases of aphasia together with these aesthetic explorations allows us to consider the ways in which the ecological account questions the limits of the linguistic and semantic fluency of speech. In pursuit of this idea, and drawing on cases of aphasia and examples in sound poetry and experimental music, she will discuss the following: What does the non-fluency of language and speech indicate in the context of speech and language disorders? How does the embodied voice in experimental music treat notions of fluent and non-fluent speech? What might the probe of embodied voice offer for traumatic experiences of brain damage, loss of speech, and brain plasticity? And how may the embodied voice restore the power to speak, and offer a sustainable speech?

Free. Organised by FUAIM.

Location: Aloys Fleischmann Room in Sunday’s Well Music Building. If you would like to attend, please RSVP through music@ucc.ie.


03 Mar 2022


11:00 am




Aloys Fleischmann Room, Sunday's Well Music Building


  • Zeynep Bulut
    Zeynep Bulut
    Lecturer in Music

    Zeynep Bulut is a Lecturer in Music at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests include voice and sound studies, experimental music, sound and media art, technologies of hearing and speech, digital media and culture, deaf performance and culture, and music and medicine. She is currently completing her first manuscript, titled, Building a Voice: Sound, Surface, Skin. Her articles have appeared in various volumes and journals including Perspectives of New Music, Postmodern Culture, and Music and Politics. Alongside her scholarly work, she has also exhibited sound works, and composed and performed vocal pieces for concert, video and theatre, and released two singles. Her composer profile has been featured by British Music Collection. She is sound review editor for Sound Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and project lead for the collaborative research initiative “Map A Voice.” https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/zeynep-bulut

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