Listening to Climate Change: experiments in sonic democracy

Jul 2017 - Mar 2019

Dr George Revill, Senior Lecturer in Geography (PPEDG, FASS), Research Associate Dr Johanna Wadsley, and Mr Gair Dunlop of Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, were awarded £498,532 by the AHRC for Listening to Climate Change: experiments in sonic democracy (ARHC Grant Ref: AH/P000126/1, HEI cost £641,881.81). The primary project partner is the National Trust and the grant application was developed with the support of the OU’s OpenSpace Research Centre.

With a public title of Sounding coastal change, the project considers environmental and social change in North Norfolk, and aims to “bring human and non-human voices together, to think about the future”. The idea is to use sound, music and different kinds of listening, to explore the ways in which the coast is changing and how peoples’ lives are changing with it. The project home is Blakeney village and the geographical focus is the village, Blakeney National Nature Reserve, and the North Norfolk coast more generally.

The research involves residents, school children and young people, local interest and community groups, institutional stakeholders and their representatives, and visitors to the area. The research team includes geographers, musician/composers and sound artists, and an art/documentary film-maker. The project will result in workshops, live performances of new music and film, sound installations, radio broadcasts, sonic exhibitions, an interactive online sonic map of the area, a documentary-art film and e-books. Everything created and presented through the project will be free to attend or download.

In addition to the National Trust, in-kind partners/collaborators/supporters include The Pilgrim Federation of Church of England Schools, Blakeney Parish Council, St. Nicholas’ Church, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Future Radio (Norwich) and the British Library Sound Archive.

The project launch week takes place between 3 – 7 July 2017, with school workshops, sound installations in local venues, and a live performance event at St. Nicholas’ Church, Blakeney. See www.soundingcoastalchange.org for details. The creative highpoint is the spring and summer of 2018, when the project culminates in a series of workshops, radio broadcasts, live performances and interactive exhibitions. The project runs until March 2019, wrapping up with the publication of two free-to-download, media-rich e-books about the project, and deposits of the sonic and film work in various national archives.

The team currently includes:

  • Dr George Revill, geographer, Principal Investigator & project leader, george.revill@open.ac.uk
  • Gair Dunlop, film-maker & Co-Investigator, g.dunlop@dundee.ac.uk
  • Dr Johanna Wadsley, geographer, Research Associate & project manager, johanna.wadsley@open.ac.uk
  • Sam Richards, composer, musician & folklorist
  • Dr Lona Kozik, composer, musician & digital sound artist
  • Richard Fair, radio producer, sound recordist & audio-visual artist
  • Robert Chastney, geographer & Norfolk research consultant

For further information contact johanna.wadsley@open.ac.uk.