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Soundscapes of the Past: Historical Imaginings

Pasoulas, Aki, Knight-Hill, Andrew, Martin, Brona (2022) Soundscapes of the Past: Historical Imaginings. In: International Computer Music Conference, Standing Wave 2022, 3-9 July 2022, Limerick, Ireland. (In press) (KAR id:94953)

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Histories are primarily documented in visual or written form. Our ‘Sonic Palimpsest’ project seeks to subvert this occularcentric focus, exploring the potential of sonic perspectives, to unlock alternative understandings of our past.

Chatham dockyard, our case study site, was founded in 1547 and closed as a working yard in 1984. During the 400-plus years of its operation, tens of thousands of people were employed (or forced to work) in building construction and in launching more than 500 warships and repairing thousands of others. Countless stories have been collected throughout this period, some through diaries (the 17th C. diary of Samuel Pepys is a notable example) others found in oral history archives, books and papers. Our team has explored these sources and conducted new oral history interviews, applying anthropophonic perspectives to see if we can unpack new insight through sound.

Our research has demonstrated the rich potential of musical and sound-based knowledge frameworks to inform human, embodied and affective understandings of history which foreground people and place across time. This paper gives an overview of some of the salient sounding histories uncovered, focusing on three selected areas: the life of convicts in the dockyard, Samuel Pepys’ diary, and our own interviews with former workers of the yard.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Heritage; sound design; electroacoustic composition; aural history
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Aki Pasoulas
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 09:58 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2022 11:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Pasoulas, Aki:
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