Sophia Edlund

Department: Drama
Discipline: Drama

Project Summary

The engine of my thesis is ‘thelxis’, which is an ancient Greek concept to describe the act of enchanting and captivating an audience. While there have been mentions of the idea of ‘thelxis’ in classical literature, nobody has so far researched it in terms of voicing. My voice-based Practice-as-Research (PaR) investigates the notion of vocal ‘thelxis’ as a practice and process to understand more about how and why we come to be pulled towards and transfixed by specific sounds in voice.

What can we learn about why we come to be drawn towards – or resist – sounds in voice by studying different versions of vocal ‘thelxis’? How may ‘thelxis’ operate as a process with the uniqueness of each voicer and listener? How is ‘thelxis’ cultivated and co-devised in human and/or more-than-human vocalisations? To what extent can ‘thelxis’ be generated and controlled in aesthetic performance contexts? 

My thesis works from the ‘in-between’ (the listener and the voicer) with the aim to learn more about how ‘thelxis’ operates from multiple perspectives. My PaR is organised around three projects that bring together codified approaches of using voice to attract and enchant across a selection of cultural contexts. The first project is inspired by interspecies communication in herding calls (specifically, the Scandinavian tradition of Kulning), the second project is inspired by lulling (e.g. of an infant to sleep), and the third project is inspired by contemporary approaches to the mythological Siren Song. My research is expected to contribute an original concept (‘voicing thelxis’) to the developing interdisciplinary field of Voice Studies and to discussions in Posthumanism, as well as to new vocal practices.

Supervisory Team


Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis

Dr Adrian Curtin 

Wider Research Interests

Mythology - Voice - Song - Music Theatre - Extra-normal vocality - Interspecies communication - Performance psychology - Voice Arts in Health - Posthumanism