University of Hull ‘Sound + Environment Conference’ 29th June – 2nd July 2017

This guest blog is by Luca Nasciuti, who is a 3rd year PhD candidate in Musical Composition at the University of Aberdeen. He is an artist and composer who uses field recordings to build complex soundscapes. His sound is urgent and physical, rooted in the natural and man-made sources he employs. He performs his music internationally and he has worked extensively with theatre, dance, and film.

His latest installation ‘Domestic Green’ was developed in residency with RSPB Scotland and presented at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow in September 2016, and his most recent collaboration with Italian choreographer Daniele Albanese premiered in February 2017 at the Festival Les Hivernales in Avignon.  His latest release, ‘Kishar’, for the London label ‘Restercords’, questions ideas of Nature and the Antropocene.

I was very pleased to receive an acceptance email to present at the Sound + Environment conference in Hull.

The 4-day conference on the intersection between art, science, listening, and collaboration had a focus on acoustic ecology and saw keynote addresses by leading practitioners in the fields like Chris Watson and Leah Barclay.

It seemed a perfect opportunity to present my work and participate in the debate given I am approaching the final stages of my research.

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Hull: the location of the Sound & Environment Conference

My presentation with the title ‘Composing with spaces on the edge of noise’ illustrated my approach to listening and the practice of field recording in the creation of socially and politically charged works; works that challenge habitual listening and habitual experience of spaces and places.

In this occasion I presented the work I developed during a residency with RSPB in 2016 in Inversnaid and Glasgow, part of the SGSAH residency and internship programme.

Through listening to the reserve in Inversnaid I developed 2 sound installations that reflected on the ideas of nature, conservation and the design of wildlife spaces both in rural and urban environments.

In light with the theme of the conference I was very excited to be taking part in the dialogue on what is nature and the definition and understanding of this concept in relation to tranquillity and silence.

Many presenters came from Australia and their presentations showed how the very concept of tranquillity is cultural for in that part of the world nature is not often seen as ‘quiet and friendly’ but quite the opposite.

Many other presentations dealt with how acoustic ecology can inform policies on the design of urban spaces, as well as bringing to the debate many issues related to climate change and human impact on the environment.

Policy making and community engagement were topics that many people shared when talking about their works and research, and I found my approach shared many concerns with other attendees.

Sustainability seems to have been a key concern for many researchers and artists attending the conference. For raising awareness perhaps is only a step forward towards a more sustainable future, yet the work we can do in changing policies and creating a wider network that can influence our choices from the ground up is something we still need to work on as a possibility for change.

International relations and cooperation with wider communities have been discussed in length to explore ways to link different places and issues that communities face worldwide.

The passion, enthusiasm, and drive for change from every attendee made the conference a stimulating ground for debate. It gave me an opportunity to see how my work and fit in a wider research context and how my musical research can is grounded in the current debate address pressing issues on the cultural, political and environmental crisis that is affecting countries across the world.

I left the conference reassured by knowing there are many realities worldwide trying to effectively promote a sustainable future. My research and work is part of this network and it plays a part in the promotion of such ideas.

We are always seeking new guest bloggers! If you have an idea for a blog post or would like to informally discuss writing for the SGSAH blog please get in touch with Joanna via email at, or find her on Twitter

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