Conference Description

Hearing Landscape Critically: Music, Place, and the Spaces of Sound

‘Everything that is resounds … The landscape resounds; facades, caricatures, halos, shadows dance across it.’

-Alphonso Lingis

Harvard University

14-16 January 2015

To register for this conference, click here.


Landscapes are spaces of community and segregation, of inspiration, mystification, nourishment, and devastation. Though landscape has long been acknowledged as a foundational element of our historical and contemporary engagement with the world, the significance of sound and music in shaping notions and perceptions of landscape has only recently begun to receive sustained critical attention.

The third meeting of the ‘Hearing Landscape Critically’ research network will take place at Harvard University, 14-16 January 2015. The aim of this three-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust is to transform our sense of sound in landscape, and to document, investigate, and provoke critical encounters between the social and acoustic agents involved in the formations of landscape. The network embraces an interdisciplinary methodology and brings together scholars from diverse geographical contexts and academic fields (including art history, literary studies, and cultural geography) alongside creative practitioners, prompting new ways of thinking about sound, music, space, and place.

Key research objectives:

1. To investigate particular privileged or hidden sites and sounds of power, politics, coercion or subversion through landscape and music;

2. To explore the different modalities of performing/performed landscapes;

3. To interrogate the role of landscape, music, and sound in shaping subjectivity, social space, and the everyday;

4. To articulate the theoretical gains and ethical imperatives of encounters between landscape, music and society.

Invited speakers:

Brandon Labelle (Bergen Academy of Art and Design)

Bruce Smith (University of Southern California)

Holly Watkins (Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester)

Kay Shelemay (Harvard University)

Nancy Guy (University of California San Diego)

Programme committee:

Daniel Grimley (Oxford), Jonathan Hicks (KCL), Stephanus Muller (Stellenbosch), Michael Uy (Harvard), and Carina Venter (Oxford).


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