Listening across Disciplines

Research Project

Led by Salomé Voegelin and Anna Barney

At London College of Communication and University of Southampton

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council

Key Stakeholders and Network Partners: Bloomsbury PublishingJournal of Sonic StudiesSounding Out!, The Higher Education Academy, ResonanceFMScience Museum and the British Library Sound Archives.

www.listeningacrossdisciplines.net

Listening across Disciplines is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded network project which brings together artists, musicians, scientists, technologists and social scientists as well as scholars and practitioners from the humanities to work across disciplinary boundaries on the recently emerging focus on sound and listening.

Through the framework of three network events key participants from a range of disciplines and professions, as well as stakeholders from education, press and health, students, Early Career Researchers and the general public, conducted a cross disciplinary exploration of the status, method, and evaluation of listening. The participants presented, gave workshops and shared their discipline specific application of listening; presenting its analytical, diagnostic or data gathering function; and debating the role of listening in the transfer of results and outcomes to other professionals and the general public.

The aim is to initiate a cross disciplinary exchange that draws together auditory research initiatives and methods from across the disciplines to advance its status and use. The principal and longer term aim of this network project is to establish a research hub that provides the infrastructure and shared terrain to develop and document, educate and disseminate information, guidelines and policies about listening as a methodology of investigation and communication in which culture and science can collide to generate new knowledge and innovative modes of knowledge production.

The issues under investigation are:
 
  • The scholarly and public understanding of listening as a skill and methodology
  • The discipline specific applications of listening and how they can be shared
  • The analytical, data gathering and diagnostic function of listening compared across the disciplines
  • The legitimacy and evaluation of the heard for the arts and humanities and for science and technology disciplines
  • The role of listening in the transfer of results and outcomes to other researchers, professionals and a general public.
 

Network Events

The three network events took place during the project performing key moments of enquiry, each pursuing a particular focus:

Researchers

The co-investigator Prof. Anna Barney is a Biomedical Acoustic Engineer at Southampton University, who has very clear aims of what she hopes listening might achieve in terms of the quantification of a discovery; to reach consensus on symptoms; and to pursue the possibility for a shared vocabulary, to produce consistency and trust in the heard and give it scientific legitimacy.

By contrast the PI, Dr. Salomé Voegelin, who is a Reader in Sound Arts at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, is interested in listening as an artist and writer and aims to establish consensus that listening is an important socio-ecological sensibility and engagement which might however pluralise perception rather than find agreement; and she is less interested in the veracity of data and scientific truth as much as in the fact that sound can evoke doubt in what we consider to be real and truthful, therefor questioning normative values.

What they share in common is the desire to make listening and sound a valid perceptual process and material; to evaluate how it is worked with and talked about; to promote its legitimacy and develop the technological; physical and conceptual methods through which it might achieve new knowledge and innovative insights into how the world is. A cross-disciplinary pursuit of these aims aspires to compare applications to inspire new approaches and collaborations, which combine artistic doubt with scientific speculation.

 

Participants

The Network Events welcomed selected artists, musicians, scientists, technologists and social scientists as well as scholars and practitioners to trigger debate and discussions focussed around 15 minutes presentations, each presenting how they listen, hear, deal with sonic material, evaluate, apply their sonic findings and how they engage these methodologies.
 
Core Participants

Documentation

The network events were broadcast on Resonance FM in a weekly series during 2017, podcasts of each show are available on the Listening Across Disciplines website. A selection of podcasts are also available below:

Research Links:

Sabine von Fischer:

Dan Rowan:

Jane Norman:

Simon King:

 

All podcasts are available on the Listening Across Disciplines website.

Beyond the Network

A series of opportunities arose directly or indirectly from the network events, its public engagement, radio broadcasts, participatory elements and other networking activities. They stand in relation to its research questions and aims, and hold the potential for their development beyond the network; and give shape to the testing and application of its findings.

Read more about the events on the Listening Across Disciplines website.