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Archiving sonic environments

Sound Studies Lecture Series. Co-arranged by the Division of Musicology and the Sound Environment Centre at Lund University

Thursday 14 September
LUX:A233 (Helgonavägen 3, Lund)

Wildlife and environmental sound archives were initiated in the mid 20th century for a variety of purposes, including animal communication studies, species identification, and soundscape analysis. In this talk, I will focus on three such sound archives that are globally significant: The World Soundscape Project’s archive at Simon Fraser University; The British Library’s Wildlife and Environmental Sounds collection; and the Animal Sound Archive at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. I will begin by briefly charting the creation of each archive to situate them in their historical contexts, before turning to consider how sound recordings archived at each institution are maintained, circulated, and consumed. Here, I will focus on the technologies and techniques of archiving and curatorship, and the politics, aesthetics, and ethics of listening to archived sonic environments. I will end by reflecting on the contemporary relevance of the three sound archives in an era of rapid environmental change and biodiversity loss.

Dr Jonathan Prior is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Cardiff University. His research spans cultural geography, environmental philosophy, sound studies, and landscape research. He has published on the use of sonic methods in human geography; the relationship between landscape design and sonic perception; environmental aesthetics; and ecological restoration and rewilding strategies.

British Library Archive