Impact Case Study (REF 2014)

Sound Diaries was the subject of an Impact Case Study submitted by Oxford Brookes University at REF 2014. below you can find some of the text and detail from that case study written and collated by Dr. Felicity Ford:

The continued development of Vending machines of the British Isles; SOUND BANK; Sonic Time Capsule (2011); and Hûrd (2011-2012) through Sound Diaries has generated opportunities for public engagement through social media, popular conferences and events, exhibitions, and podcast and media appearances.

Vending Machines of the British Isles (2010-2011) was featured at “Boring 2011”, a popular conference and subsequently in episode 60 of the cult technology podcast ‘shiftrunstop’. An installed version of the work also featured in the audio architecture exhibition in Beijing and London.

When Ford devised SOUND BANK she was volunteering on BBC Oxford’s cultural magazine show, “The Hub” where she publicised the project in a short entitled “Sounds from Life”. Additionally, a special edition of SOUND BANK was produced for a public gallery show in Reading called “Love is Awesome”, and in 2009, Ford published records from December 2008 daily on her own website as an advent calendar blog-post series. SOUND BANK also drew the attention of Rutger Zuydervelt, who asked Ford to contribute a text to “Take a Closer Listen”, 250 copies of which were printed and distributed internationally. SOUND BANK archival envelopes were handed out to audience members during a soundwalk co-presented by Ford along with Peter Cusack and Pascal Amphoux as part of the “ARTEFACT” festival in STUK, Leuven in 2013. Additionally, SOUND BANK featured in the lecture presentation Ford gave at that event. Different outputs and incarnations of SOUND BANK have impacted across multiple platforms – local radio; gallery exhibition; web-based projects; books and festival event programmes; all underpinned by the research activity of writing textually about sounds on the Sound Diaries website.

In 2010, Ford attended a meeting about public engagement with the British Library’s “UK Sound Map”. Sonic Time Capsule was a themed recording project conceived through Ford’s exposure to the concepts behind the UK Sound Map, and recorded sounds were made available to the public via the map and an associated audioboo account required for contributing to it. These sounds were in 2012 repurposed for a “framework:afield” radio show foregrounding the key issues around archiving field recordings for posterity in advance of a related presentation at the British Forum for Ethnomusicology’s conference. The show was broadcast on Resonance fm (UK); Concertzender (NL); Radio Nouspace (Canada); Soundart Radio (UK); Radio Zero (PT); Radio Marš (SI); Radio Campus (BE); WGXC (US); and Radio Paisagem (Br).

Hûrd takes its name from a sound and textiles work presented by Ford in Cumbria in January 2012, and is part of a series of projects conducted by Ford under the KNITSONIK moniker. These projects engage stakeholders in the working wool industry through creative uses of sound. Sound-based practices highlight the origins of woollen textiles in distinctive landscapes and social histories, and different strategies are used to draw shepherds, mill-owners and hand-knitters into related discourses. An exhibition held at Rheged arts centre in January 2012 – “Wonder of Wool” – featured a hand-knitted speaker system covered in Cumbrian wool, entitled “Hûrd – A KNITSONIK PRODUKTION”. Through these speakers, field recordings later presented on the Sound Diaries site were played – sounds largely originating from the same farms as the wool used to cover the speakers.

In May 2012, Ford used Sound Diaries as a platform for research during a British-Council funded residency in MoKS, Estonia. Cumbrian recordings were paired with new recordings made in Estonia and presented on Sound Diaries with accompanying texts reflecting on their differences, similarities, and cultural significance. This underpinned the ‘cultural exchange’ theme of the residency, providing an invaluable platform for Ford’s investigations concerning relations between British and Estonian woollen industries. Sounds and ideas presented on Sound Diaries re: links between wool and landscape were repurposed to give a sonic dimension to the popular WOVEMBER campaign website, and Ford’s baa-tone has been downloaded by over 200 users.