Belfast Soundwalks

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The Belfast Soundwalks project, led by Professor Pedro Rebelo and co-ordinated by Dr Sarah Bass (Sonic Arts Research Centre) in collaboration with Belfast City Council (BCC), aims to use sonic art to engage the public through the development of a locative mobile phone app.  Targeting both tourists and citizens of the city, this project aims to sonically enhance the experience of a number of areas of the city, including destinations that may not traditionally be accessed as attractions by visitors and/or disregarded or undervalued by local residents.  The project will bring together a number of sonic artists/composers who will create approximately ten soundwalks around the city, while liaising with BCC to distribute the resulting app to the public in line with their tourism and cultural strategy. The project is centred on the development of smart phone apps which provide unique listening experiences associated with key places in the city. The user’s location in the city is tracked through GPS which triggers sound materials ranging from speech to environmental sound and abstract imagined sound worlds.  Additionally, local community groups will be consulted in order to evaluate and reflect upon the effectiveness of the soundwalks.

The project builds on the success of the Literary Belfast app and aims to further strengthen links between Queen’s University Belfast and Belfast City Council through facilitating the dissemination of an art form not widely experienced by the general public. Through the newly created Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, directed by Professor John Thompson we are articulating this project with Queen’s consortium partners, Newcastle University and Durham University.

“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more.  This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to: www.ahrc.ac.uk”.

CREDITS
The Belfast Soundwalks app was created by researchers at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with Belfast City Council (BCC).Pedro Rebelo – Project Lead
Sarah Bass – Project Manage
Matilde Meireles – Graphic Design
John D’Arcy – Additional codingApp development by Calvium Ltd 

Publication:

Bass, Sarah, and Pedro Rebelo. “Belfast Soundwalks: Experiences in Sound and Place through Locative Media.” International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction 6, no. 2 (32 2014): 61–72. doi:10.4018/ijmhci.2014040105. 

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