Open Call 2023

In 2008 Felicity Ford and Paul Whitty set up a project with the aim of recording everyday life in sound – to meet the world and its abundant soundings of vending machines, luggage carousels, toasters, escalators, boilers, garden sheds and wheeled luggage. They followed the writer Georges Perec’s instruction to exhaust the subject, not to be satisfied with a cursory glance, not to be satisfied to have identified what we already know – what we have already heard – but to look again, to listen, to keep listening, long after it would probably have been more sensible to stop. That project was Sound Diaries. The premise has been that the sound made by a dishwasher cycle is likely to reveal as much to us about our society and culture than the sound of the extraordinary. 

Sound Diaries continues to extend awareness with regards the myriad roles of sound and listening in daily life by exploring the cultural and communal significance of sounds, and has formed a research basis for projects generated both locally and Internationally, in Beijing, Brussels, Tallinn, Estonia and Cumbria; within local institutions in Oxford including Schools; and within cultural organisations such as Sound and Music and BBC Radio.

Call for participants:

For our second Open Call (to experience some of the work that developed from our first Open Call please visit HERE and HERE) we are looking for participants to document the sounds of everyday life (however this may manifest for them) and to contribute to a public event and publication.

We are interested in everyday sounds and sounding contexts from cutlery drawers to bus stops to self-service checkouts be they domestic, public or private. Potential participants will need to submit:

  • A proposal (500 words maximum). The proposal should outline the work you hope to make during your time working with sound diaries. If you are at an early stage of your career you may like to explain why this project would be of particular benefit to your practise and current development. It is likely that the proposal will include detail of the context in which you intend to work, the nature of the sound material that you will collect and the methods you will use for collection.
  • A brief CV (maximum one side of A4, 11pt type)
  • Links (maximum 5) to relevant creative and documentary projects or sound files.

Projects can take many forms but should focus on documentary recording of everyday sound. This could be sound from your own everyday or from another context that you want to investigate. It might help to look at some existing Sound Diaries and Sonic Art Research Unit projects. For example Get Rid! An investigation of the everyday sounding culture of grassroots football; the audiograft festival, the Berlin Sound Diary a document of the everyday sounds of travel; the on vibration lecture series, the sonic art research unit journal, a row of trees, and the UK Soundmap Sonic Time Capsule.

The deadline for application is August 20th 2023 at 11pm (bst). Successful applicants will be informed by September 15th and invited to attend an informal meeting in Oxford during November (date tbd) to discuss their project ideas. We’ll endeavour to send feedback on all submissions, though this will depend on the volume of applications we receive. 

Project Support:

  • Materials and Expenses budget £300ea
  • Travel expenses and accommodation to attend project discussions (November 2023).
  • Travel and expenses to attend project publication launch event (April 2024).
  • Project Publication (5 x copies per participant).
  • Mentoring from the Sound Diaries team, and other participants in the Open Call, if appropriate.

What Sound Diaries will expect from you:

  • Sound files for publication on
  • A text and/or images as appropriate to your work investigating the context of your project and the methods used in collecting the sound material (Maximum 1000 words/ten research images, sketches, diagrams).
  • A presentation/performance of your project at the final event in April 2024.

If you have any questions please get in touch with Paul Whitty and Patrick Farmer at the following address: 

Final submissions should be emailed to both and by 11pm (bst) on August 20th 2023.