Skip to main content Skip to navigation


The voices of the 'Sociologists Talking' sound-exhibits are located amidst words taken from Les Back’s 2007 book ‘The Art of Listening’, and echoes of the Sociologists’ dialogues are written on white boards which cover one side of the classroom/exhibition space.

Hearing is our final link to the external world

As a visitor to the 2008 exhibit, Les Back wrote an academic article published in 'Sociological Research Online' in which he reflects on the exhibition. The article is available to read online in Sociological Research Online.

In it, he argues:

A commitment to dialogue is central here – not least with our students – if we are to seek and find new audiences and publics for sociological ideas. We have no choice but to play the game and establish standing that can be quantitatively recognised. However, this is a dead game without retaining a commitment to communicate to a wider range of publics comprised not only of professional sociologists but also our students – inside and outside universities - and people searching for alternative ways to think the issues of the day. This wonderful exhibit - all too briefly available – offered an opportunity to listen to sociologists talking and allowed us to begin to tell the truth to and about ourselves (Back, 2008: 1.24)

Seeing research as a dialogue, we would be very happy if you wanted to share your own thoughts and observations relating to this exhibition with us - and






the art of listening