Urban Vibrations: Selfhood, Sound and the City

10th May, 2016, Nottingham Contemporary

Krakow to Venice by Magda Stawarska-Beavan


Urban Vibrations examined the politics of urban sound through reference to Stawarska-Beavan’s and Mansell’s individual research. Discussing issues of memory, anxiety and personal/public space, the speakers examined urban noise as a site of contestation. Sharing their respective approaches to researching, collecting and editing city sounds, they discussed the complex spatial narratives revealed by urban soundscapes, and explored how art and historical methods can encourage different forms of ‘critical listening’.
About the speakers:

Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s practice is primarily concerned with the evocative and immersive qualities of sound. She is interested in how soundscape orients us and subconsciously embeds itself in our memories of place, enabling us to construct personal recollections and, moreover, it offers the possibility of conveying narrative to listeners who have never experienced a location. She works predominantly with sound, moving image and print, often connecting traditional printmaking processes with new technologies such as digital audio.


Dr. James Mansell is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in the Department of Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham, where he also co-directs the Nottingham Sensory Studies Network, a research cluster supporting sensory work across the disciplines. His research has focused on the cultural history of sound and hearing, sound media, and on histories of sonic modernity and modernism. His forthcoming book The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity will be published in the autumn by the University of Illinois Press.