Richard Bentley

Reading:

David Hinton – Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape

Seán Street – The Sound inside the Silence

Listening to:

Kate Carr – ‘Interiorities’

Vietnamese Buddhist Chants

Watching:

Peter Mettler – Picture of Light

Thinking About:

The influence of soundscape in psychological distancing, a theme that runs through my recent explorations of ‘positive silence’

Working On:

Sound Art and Mental Health – producing a range of sound art and slow media for in-patients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. The pieces will be realised through participatory arts work with NHS and community mental health services and continues previous work developing a range of focus-oriented sound art practices.

Distal Bodies – a Sound Diaries project that documents the changing soundscape of a South Oxfordshire village during the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond.

Sandokai – production of a short film exploring the text of this Sōtō Zen poem, with its presentation of the interbeing nature of independent, seemingly disparate phenomena. A collaboration with artist and resident monastic Rev. Gareth Milliken of Reading Buddhist Priory.

Belong – a series of multi-disciplinary ‘blind collaborations’ with other associate artists at the Jelly arts organisation, creating a stratified work that coalesces around the theme of ‘breathing’.


Richard Bentley is a sound artist and researcher whose work explores focus-oriented sound arts practice and the experience of positive silence. This interest is manifested through listenings, writings, field recordings, composition, soundwalks and the development of participatory sound art exercises.

In his practice, Richard explores the interplay of mind and soundscape in experiences of positive silence. Phenomenological enquiry and documentation, through field recording and stream-of-consciousness transcription, typically provide the starting point for work, unearthing themes that are shared and developed through reflective writings, sound works and a host of interdisciplinary and participatory arts work.

Informed by this artistic practice and drawing from the fields of sound studies, art therapy and positive psychology, Richard’s research investigates focused-oriented sound art practices for wellbeing. His current work explores the experience of positive silence as freedom from distraction and the influence of the soundscape on present-centred awareness and psychological distancing. In addition to contributing to academic and public discourse on the topic, research outcomes include the development of participatory sound art practices that support wellbeing in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

Richard Bentley