A Virtual Salon with Yoko Sen — Sounds of Caring

Recently we had the honor and pleasure of gathering health care heroes from all over the world for the premiere of Yoko Sen’s latest work of art — Sounds of Caring. Yoko is a pioneering sound alchemist and Experience Lab guest faculty passionately transforming the health care soundscape. Most recently, she has been deeply listening to the powerful and courageous voices of health care heroes at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yoko created a powerful and provocative piece to help us all listen, hear, and begin to heal together. There is such honesty, bravery, and vulnerability – and more than anything – authenticity in these voices. The emotion travels straight from their hearts to ours.

Above is the Sounds of Caring Virtual Salon we hosted with Yoko, which includes live Q&A with Yoko about the project.

In true Experience Lab form, we’ve made it easy for you to host your own salon conversation to share and discuss Sounds of Caring and embark on your own deep listening journey at your organization.

Sa·lon [sə-ˈlän]
A 16th century Italian renaissance concept where intellectuals and artists would gather together to increase their collective knowledge through conversation

Share Sounds of Caring.
Invite your participants to view the Sounds of Caring video. You may choose to watch together (in person or virtually) as part of the Salon, or send an email link to the video and ask your participants to view prior to the Salon. The seven-minute video is available here.

Guide a Salon Conversation With Your Participants.
After watching Sounds of Caring, invite your participants to join in a thoughtful conversation sparked by the video. Begin with a personal question to get participants thinking and then guide them through the Salon conversation starters.

Warm up question:

  • Think about and share a time when you felt fully seen or heard as an individual.

Salon conversation starters:

  • What are you hearing from our team members, providers and patients?
  • If we tuned our listening to what’s NOT being said, what might we discover?
  • How might we all listen more deeply or see more clearly the Experiences and emotions of our team members, providers, patients, and their loved ones?
  • What will we do with what we hear, see, and discover?

Tuning in to the voices, emotions, and Experiences of our colleagues and team members at this challenging time may reveal new possibilities for designing the future.

Yoko is an ambient electronic musician and the founder of Sen Sound, a social enterprise with a vision to transform the sound environment in hospitals as well as the beeps from alerts and alarms. She is guest faculty in The Experience Lab, a fellow at the Halcyon Incubator, and a Citizen Artist Fellow at Kennedy Center. Her sound is described as soothing — like listening to a dream — and it is this unique sound that has taken her work to many interesting places such as IDEO and TEDx.

It was Yoko’s own personal health care Experience five years ago that sparked her passion for reimaging hospital soundscapes. While spending many hours in the hospital, she was terrified by what she heard — a cacophony of alarms, beeps, patients in pain, doors being slammed. It is said that hearing is the last sense to go at the end of life — as Yoko laid in her hospital room, she wondered what the last sound she would get to hear at the end of her own life. As she got better, she decided to explore ways to help humanize the hospital Experience by transforming the sound environment — for it to be safer, more soothing, and beautiful.

The Experience Lab is hosting weekly virtual Experience Salons with exemplars and experts focused on timely topics specific to your internal and external COVID-19 response. Stay connected to our stories or follow us on LinkedIn for more information on future gatherings.