Hand And Voice (Рука и глас) is a project (enabling deaf teenagers and poets to co-create poetic performances), executed in Serbia, being a SEA (Socially Engaged Art) prototype of CoLaboArthon.

Poezin, UTLOSS, and ChaOS representatives executed this project, and its both instances were supported by Serbian Ministry.

This project represents a "cross-cultural" Participatory Action Research, a community work uniting cultures of deaf and hearing communities. Our team built a set of methodologies and technologies to enable conducting Deep Dialogue through online and face-to-face processes. This provided a deep Domain Knowledge building as well as awareness and empathy development.

a video of one of the poems collectively built through the process (with English subtitle)
Place Belgrade, Spring 2014 and Autumn 2016
Aspects engaged performance, art and science for humane and cultural projects, cultural creation, collective creativity, methodology flexibility, working with people with disabilities, Collective mind with deep Demographic Faultlines
Components CoLaboArthon, CoLaboFramework, City Game, Change management, Complexity theory, Individual development
Members Rozalia Forai, Sasha Rudan, Sinisha Rudan, Hana Godomski, poets, deaf youth, and organizations: ChaOS, Poezin, Utloss

This project has ran under the auspices of the Serbian Ministry of Culture for two years. Each of the project instances lasted for more than two months of workshops and meetings, resulting in final public performances in the city cultural centers. The project was also covered on Serbian National Television.

It illustrates the need for socio-technical augmentation of community processes by IT ecosystems like Colabo.Space. Its timespan (longitude), the mixture of online and offline work involved, communication barriers during its execution, complex behavioral changes targeted by the project, and the high diversity of participants (including cultural faultlines as well as interdisciplinary approaches) made Colabo.Space a necessary intervention to realize the project. It is also a distinctive example of using Art and Science jointly for achieving cultural and humane goals as the project brought together in a creative collaboration performance poets (slam poets) with deaf teenagers inexperienced in our demanding goal of empowering them to write and perform poetry.

Body Sculpture - contextualized energizer

Figure Contextualized energizers/trainings: Each CoLaboArthon process had a specific knowledge-emotion building goal, preceded by a contextualized energizer/training to build awareness or a mood for the required process


Tacit Community Knowledge and Engaged Art

We used our component CoLaboFramework to address the communication problem and knowledge building/preservation and map dialogues to place all the gathered knowledge required for poetry writing onto the KnAllEdge map.

Besides using both methodology and technology to overcome Faultines and safety zone issues, we also invented a series of energizing contextualized warm-ups, mood setters specifically designed for each methodological/technical phase. This was the result of our previous experiments and research on how much the success of technology depends on building the right mood and preparational steps on the social level. For the creation of a safety zone, we used the Coaching with compassion technique.

Besides turning participants' problems into engaged art, this was a process of their social opening, working on their problems and building a deeper connection with experts in the problem domain. That had been one of our biggest goals when creating the CoLaboArthon Model.

Deaf City

To properly address the communication shift from the world of sound into the world of visual stimuli and movement, we integrated elements of the visualization of challenges and solutions and their abstraction through elements of City Game (for more details, a reader can consult the City Gаme section of this chapter), which resulted in the Deaf City visualization (presented in the figure deaf-city below).


Figure deaf-city: ** visualization and abstraction of co-created terms through "Deaf City".

Deaf City - the city name represents duality of 'the city of deaf people' and of 'the city being "deaf" to hearing deaf youth's needs'.

This city both developed visualization and abstraction of specific challenges. This Boundary Behavior also. It incorporated Coaching with Compassion. The methodology implemented this through dividing the city in a green zone (the one participants dreamt of) and a red one (where they currently were), with a blue water barrier between them. They depicted each of those, while also building symbolic bridges, leading them to the dreamt-of future. This is also a visual demonstration of the "Intentional Change Theory (ICT)", which we implemented throughout the different dimensions of this project: with the "green" city area being the "Ideal Self", according to ICT, the "red" being the "Real Self", and the "blue" representing the "Learning Agenda/Plan".


Figure sign-language-key-heart: ** co-created verse ”Sign Language is the key to the heart of deaf people" and its visualization in Deaf City

Public Impact

Besides internal, personal change and the emerging of a Collective Mind among the deaf community, experts and artists, this project brought a public change - helped in bringing attention to the problem of deaf people, by bringing their engaged art in front of a large audience during their several performances, and by bringing them onto the National TV station.


Figure collective-story-telling: ** Deaf youth participants presenting their storytelling multimedia solution of their challenges

FeelTheSound - CoLaboWare

feel the sound

Figure FeelTheSound-CoLaboWare: ** deaf youth dance by feeling the sound through FeelTheSound - CoLaboWare hardware UI

As part of our work on adjusting our socio-technical model and system (its software and process) to existing social patterns and their limitations, it was important to develop an innovative hardware user interface, one that would not introduce friction into those processes, and that would not lessen their energy. That led to the development of CoLaboWare hardware interfaces. As described in our section on the Hand and Voice project, this project was in great need of some of these solutions. FeelTheSound addressed these issues on the level of translating rhythm and sound into the domain of tactile senses.


This project was full of challenges. One, as mentioned above, was the inexperience of the deaf part of the team when it came to performance and poetry writing. The second was a very high segregation between the "worlds" of the hearing and the deaf participants. It's not just a Demographic Faultline we dealt with, but almost a Cultural Faultline between these two groups. In terms of even basic communication, we had to adjust our 1 on 1 collaboration to require either a translator, or written communication, or our learning sign language. The forth was creating the psychological safety for the participants to express their ideas. The final one was making our socio-technical system and methodologies attractive for youth to participate in.

Future Work

The "Hand And Voice" is part of ColaboArthon, a continuos process, necessary to understand how creativity, art and innovation can help in engaging society, bridging differences, and solving big problems.

If you are interested to join the process or help it, please contact us: chaos.ngo@gmail.com