Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Sound as Art: Sound in History. Sound as Culture: Sound in Theory

Posted: February 20th, 2010 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Conference on sound studies
University of Aarhus, Denmark
September 23–25, 2010

Today, sound studies provide an important framework for furthering cultural research related to a broad range of historical and contemporary issues. Also, sound studies contribute to the understanding of currents in social and global activity increasingly determined by auditory, sonic, and communicative materiality. At the same time, the exploration of auditivity and auditory cultures raises a series of significant aesthetic, medial, historical, cultural, and theoretical questions.

Cultural changes related to globalization and digital media have questioned traditional paradigms of vision containing notions of visual representation, semiotics, and a hermeneutics based on reading. Such changes suggest an auditive paradigm in which modes of interaction, mobile communications, and spatial and geographic fluidity lead to a renewed sense of orality and listening. In research this new paradigm is establishing itself as the interdisciplinary field of sound studies. It draws on disciplines such as musicology, performance studies, art history, anthropology, cultural studies, urban studies, and histories of technology and media while influencing these disciplines with new modes of reflection on and examination of their respective methodologies and subsequent political effects.

The aim of the conference is to profile contemporary sound studies as an interdisciplinary field of studies and to contribute to the discussion and development of the auditive paradigm in general. Key concepts like ‘acoustemology’, ‘acoustic space’ or ‘sonic environment’ might be reflected upon and developed as well, both at a theoretical level and with regard to specific cultural, medial and aesthetic contexts.

The Programme

The programme of the conference will consist of keynote lectures, plenary roundtables, thematic workshops and individual presentations. Individual presentations and entire workshops may draw inspiration from the following array of questions:

– What is the experiential framework of listening and auditive culture, and how is the world constituted (identity, locality, sociality, culture etc) through auditive practice?

– How has musical and technological sound production and perception changed through the last century and how has it contributed to everyday soundscapes, the concert hall, and the media?

– What can we know, i.e., what types of knowledge, identity and meaning are made possible through acoustic practice – are there any limits to sound taken as an experiential framework and as cognition?

– What perspectives might arise from current studies of auditory modes of relating to space, of appropriating, expressing and designing social environments?

– How does sound help define urban environments, and how might issues related to urban planning, architectural design, and noise benefit from a deeper and more complex understanding of sound?

– What are the correlations between listening and other sensory modalities, the body, sociality, materiality, technology and media (sound viewed as a cognitive paradigm isolated from actual resonating sound).

– How do auditive practices appear to be conventional or normative? How do auditive practices, in conjunction with other sensory modalities, articulate value, aesthetics, ethics and morals in culture?

– How do we further the development of academic terminologies for dealing with sound?

– How can transgressions of traditional distinctions between sound, music and art be understood in a socio-cultural perspective?

– What do the specific aesthetic aspects of sound art seek to achieve in contrast to the predominance of visuality and modes of seeing within the arts?

– How is artistic and academic education in sound competence developing?


Proposals for presentations (20/10 mins) or workshops (90 mins) must be submitted to the conference organisers/programme committee by April 1, 2010 as an email attachment (rtf/pdf/doc) to [email protected]. Please include the following information: Paper abstract and title (max. 200 words), name(s), affiliation, e-mail, and technical equipment required (PC/DVD/CD/data projector/over-head projector/etc.).

Notifications of acceptance will be sent no later than May 3, 2010.

The official language of the conference is English. The conference fee is 1.000 D.Kr/€135. Please contact one of the organisers mentioned below in case you need more information.

Keynote speakers

Dr. Penelope Gouk (University of Manchester), Dr. Jean-Paul Thibaud (CRESSON), and professor Adam Krims (University of Nottingham).


The conference is organized by the “National Research Network on Auditive Culture” (http://auditiveculture.ku.dk), the research project “Audiovisual Culture” (http://www.ak.au.dk/en), and the Nordic Branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

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