[Past Events 2015] Conor McCafferty, 'Urban Acoustic Cartography: Sound mapping as a tool for participatory urban analysis and pedagogy'

  • Brighton UK

Conor McCafferty from Recomposing the City will present on 'Urban Acoustic Cartography' at the upcoming Symposium 'Sound and the Urban Environment', at ONCA Trust and Gallery, University of Brighton, 2 June 2015.

ABSTRACT: Sound mapping practices and projects have proliferated around the world in recent years. They offer a critical alternative to the emphasis on noise and noise pollution in current policy, scholarship and practice. Their multivalent character suggests new insights across disciplines: the study of urban sound; practices of (collaborative) sound art; sound in architectural and urban design practice; urban pedagogy and urban data and policy work.

This research forms part of the Recomposing the City research group at Queen's University Belfast and has gathered an initial dataset of approximately 100 sound maps from around the world. This will lead, firstly, to a critical review of sound mapping practices to help to bring the field into dialogue with architecture and urban design discourse. This paper will chart a path through multiple creative, theoretical and technical fields to bring together disciplines of architecture, sonic arts and sound studies.

The paper goes on to outline a proposed methodology of participatory engagement: firstly with built environment professionals, exploring urban sound mapping in urban analytical terms; and secondly with young people, as a means of experiential learning "of the city" through the urban sound environment. These different case study subject groups are chosen to investigate potential applications of participatory sound mapping practices in both the professional context (for those working in design practice or policy environments) and the educational context (for young urban dwellers with no experience of design practice).