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Sonic Heritage - Listening to the Past

Pasoulas, Aki, Knight-Hill, Andrew, Martin, Brona (2022) Sonic Heritage - Listening to the Past. In: Griffin, Howard, ed. AMPS Proceedings Series. (In)tangible heritage(s): A conference on design, culture and technology- past, present and future. 29 (1). pp. 133-138. Amps (KAR id:91186)


History is so often told through objects (that you look at), images and photographs, but the potential of sounds to reveal place and space is often neglected. Our research project ‘Sonic Palimpsest’ explores the potential of sound to evoke impressions and new understandings of the past, to embrace the sonic as a tool to understand what was, in a way that can complement and add to our predominant visual understandings. Soundscape studies explore and expand our existing knowledge about sound and listening, and the relation between human beings and the acoustic environments they inhabit and perceive. Our research project emanates from soundscape studies and examines the sound environments of past incarnations of Chatham Historic Dockyard. We are digitising the oral history archives held at the dockyard, which provide an insight into the daily routines of dockyard workers and those that lived in the Medway Towns, and the sounds that dominated their environments. We are currently interviewing women who worked at the dockyard, since women are under-represented within the archive. This paper will respond to the following questions: How does the inclusion of sound influence our experience of objects, places and histories? In what ways can we utilise sound to construct hybrid experiences of overlaid histories? What steps can we take to ensure that this mediated experience of the past does not adulterate the heritage it seeks to evoke, while responding to key issues? Our research highlights the social and cultural value of Oral History and field recordings in the transmission of knowledge to both researchers and the public. Together these recordings document how buildings and spaces within the dockyard were used and experienced by those who worked there. We can begin to understand the social and cultural roles of these buildings within the community, both past and present.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Proceeding)
Projects: A Sonic Palimpsest: Revisiting Chatham Historic Dockyards
Uncontrolled keywords: heritage, soundscape studies, Chatham Historic Dockyard
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Aki Pasoulas
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 11:22 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 15:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Pasoulas, Aki.

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Martin, Brona.

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