Listening across Disciplines

Principal Investigator:Dr. Salomé Voegelin, Reader in Sound Arts
College:London College of Communication, UAL

Project Summary

The principal and longer term objective 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 bring forth new knowledge and innovative modes of knowledge production and communication.

Listening Across Disciplines responds to the Highlight notice for Cross-Council Enquiry with a strong commitment to cross disciplinary research by bringing together artists, musicians, scientists, technologists and social scientists as well as scholars and practitioners from the humanities, stakeholders from press, education and health, as well as Early Career Researchers and the general public, to conduct a cross disciplinary research of listening as a methodology of enquiry and communication. It will provide a network in which culture and science can meet to debate and initiate innovative modes of knowledge production that bring value to the arts and humanities as well as to technology and science research, and a general public.

The network brings together significant researchers and consolidates existing initiatives and methods of listening to advance its understanding and application across a wide range of disciplines. It is developed in the context of a recent emphasis on sound in the arts and humanities. And although science too has recently embraced listening, it remains a largely qualitative method of investigation, considered as generally subjective and peripheral to more established data assessment and analysis methods. In response, this network expands the interdisciplinary focus of sound studies, from its origin in arts and humanities, into science and technology, to explore the potential of cross fertilisation between artistic research and practices of listening and its scientific or technological methods and applications.

The project will be realised through three network events, each lasting two days, and two online platforms, a website and a blog site. While the website serves to document and archive, to produce additional material and to disseminate the research globally, and the blog site enables faster exchanges and plural authorship, the network events will provide application and substance to the online network and enable a real world exchange. These events will feature workshops and technical demonstrations of listening strategies, tools, methods and instruments, as well as presentations of approaches to analysis, evaluation, and communication. They provide an applied forum for knowledge sharing and enable a shared enquiry into the possibilities of listening as a progressive and functional research methodology.

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 disciplines
  • The role of listening in the transfer of results and outcomes to other researchers, professionals and a general public.

Outputs

The main outputs of the research

In order to achieve focused discussions and guarantee relevant outcomes the events are organised in three themes:

  • Listening to the Environment focuses on ecological, geological, architectural and spatial concerns
  • Listening to Bodies and Material considers social and medical issues, anthropology and forensics
  • Listening to Language Culture and Artefacts deliberates on speech and language, technology, museology and curation.

Each event incorporates a public listening workshop that opens the selective forum to a more general audience and offers an immediate opportunity to experience listening as a thoughtful and directed methodology.

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 on listening as a methodology of investigation and communication that advances what research can be conducted and what information and outcomes can be obtained in the arts and the sciences.

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