Call for Papers: Soundscapes of Wellbeing, RGS-IBG AC2017, London, 29th August - 1 September 2017

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With apologies for any cross-posting, the below CFP may be of interest to those interested in the relationships between the environment and health.

Call for Papers: Soundscapes of Wellbeing RGS-IBG AC2017, London, 29th August - 1 September 2017

Session organisers: Laura Colebrooke and Rich Gorman, Cardiff University

Geographers have long recognised the vital interconnection between landscape and wellbeing. Yet the entanglements evoked by geographic study are often silent. Tuning in to the soundscape can produce sophisticated understandings of place, engendering feelings of connection with surroundings, providing different forms of engagement with space (Butler 2007) and geographers in recent years have sought to explore the role of sound in producing and mediating certain environments (Bull 2015) as well as the emotional and affective significance of sonic landscapes (Doughty et al. 2016) (c.f. Gallagher and Prior 2013 for a useful review of the progress in sonic geographies).

However, within geographical discussions of health and wellbeing, sound often continues to be ‘tuned out’, and the rich complexity of the relationships between sound and wellbeing remains unheard. Sounds can evoke emotional resonance, ideologically laden with social relations and power as much as visual stimuli, capable of simultaneously producing places of social inclusion, and atmospheres of exclusion and confrontation (Doughty et al. 2016). Paying attention to the role of sound within spaces of health and wellbeing also creates a way to more critically engage with the heterogeneity of ‘therapeutic’ spaces, and recognizing the fluidity, multiplicity, contingency, and indeterminacy of the ways in which formal and informal spaces and practices emerge that may or may not be conducive to health and wellbeing (Gorman 2016), moving beyond a dualism between urban/industrial/noise and rural/natural/peace.

There is a need for geographies of health and wellbeing to access the more-than-representational invisible immaterialities of sound (Gallagher and Prior 2013), and move to consider the soundscapes of health and wellbeing, exploring the interrelationships, collisions, and confluences between health experiences and the soundscapes within which they are embedded. In addition, we are curious as to the potentials for understanding the materialities of soundscapes and how these may relate to health and wellbeing.

Amidst the rising interest in sonic geography, in this session we wish to bring discussions of health and wellbeing to the fore to ask: how does sound and listening shape our experience and knowledge of health and wellbeing?

We welcome submissions which engage creatively with the idea of soundscapes including papers, sound recordings, installations and performances. These can be empirical or theoretical and might address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The potential role for understandings of soundscape to enrich our knowledge of emplaced wellbeing.
  • More-than-human relationships at play within soundscapes.
  • The heterogeneity of experiences of soundscape – beyond normative framings of 'natural' and 'urban' sounds.
  • The materiality of sound and its relationship with wellbeing and the processes by which sounds constitute environments and practices which harm, and those which heal.
  • The soundscapes of healing/treatment practices and how these play a role in experiences of therapy.
  • Experiences of sounds such as: white noise, sound therapy, sound induced so-called ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’, industrial and road noise, binaural beats, silence as well as ‘natural’ soundscapes.
  • Synaesthetic experience and wellbeing.

Contributions are welcome from all disciplines and from all career stages. Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words to and no later than 13th February 2017.

For more details on the conference see:


Categories: CFP
Keywords: CFP, soundscape