Sonic West: Collective urbanism through a multiplicity of listening

Justin Bennett has organised a symposium for Sonic West titled Collective urbanism through a multiplicity of listening.

21/11/2019, 17:30h

Belcampo – OBA De Hallen,
Hannie Dankbaarpassage 10,
1053 RT Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Language: English
Invited speakers (tbc): Arie Altena, Michiel Huijsman, Justin Bennett, Mayke Haringhuizen, Fani Konstantinidou, Taufan ter Weel.


Sonic West is a participatory social sound project that stimulates the public awareness of urban sound and provides a space for exchange and research into the personal listening experiences of citizens. How does your city sound? What do you hear in your house, your street, your neighbourhood? These hearing experiences are almost always personal, subjective and fleeting. They are mostly cast aside by urban planners as insignificant, meaningless and of no use for research or practice. We do not agree and think that exactly these experiences are what creates the urban environment. Discussing, exchanging and reliving these experiences can turn the urban space into a collective place and bring about social and political engagement.

The aim of Sonic West is to encourage people to listen to their surroundings and to make them aware of the many different relationships they have with their environment and each other through sound. The participants meet in listening workshops, sound walks and recording workshops, and store their findings in a growing archive of recordings and written impressions. The archive is presented to the community and a wider audience through an app and a sculpture, commissioned by the public library, which functions as a listening object. Participants turn into self-determined researchers and become more aware of the social and political aspects of sounds in their urban environment.

The point of departure is always a simple question like; What do you hear? Which sounds do you want to share? What should the neighbourhood sound like in the future? During a multi-year process, the participants become listening activists of their surroundings. They will feel more and more connected to their neighbourhood and their neighbours.

More information on the Sonic West website