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Listening in Place

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Abstract: As a composer and sound artist often working with documentary sounds, I spend much time listening to the stories related by the ‘ordinary’ world of my day-to-day experience. I transform my experience of the sonic environment through digital intervention, into narratives that I hope have a wider resonance. My presentation will be about aspects of listening, acoustic ecology, locality, personal experience and art, from an aural perspective (since we still stick resolutely to visual metaphors).

Katharine Norman is a composer, sound artist and writer. She has been interested in documentary sound recordings as material for art since at least her PhD studies at Princeton in the 1990s. Due to start an academic post in Music at City University this January, she has previously held appointments at Sheffield University and Goldsmiths. From 2003-7 she lived on a small island off the West Coast of British Columbia and worked as a freelance writer and editor. She takes the (aural) view that it is sometimes of benefit to stand outside and listen. Her book ‘Sounding Art: Eight Literary Excursions through Electronic Music’ (Ashgate, 2004) takes an experimental, multidisciplinary approach; an online version, and examples of her sonic work (also available on CD and at are available at

This talk is part of the The Cultures of Climate Change series.

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