Sound and Anthropology
A collaboration in St Andrews from 19th-21st June 2006 between Social Anthropology, St Andrews University and Sound Arts and Design, London College of Communication. Funded by the AHRC and the British Academy.
Introduction to the Project
On the pages for the presentations, you will encounter the following icons:
play a sound sample
play a video
Before you can see the multimedia presentations on this site, you just need to do a quick setup.
To give you the best quality media files file to suit your connection speed, please select from one of the options below.
If you have any difficulty in accessing any of the material, please see the technical help.
The Content on this site is copyright St Andrews University and/or the contributors unless stated otherwise.
You may use the Content only for personal and non-commercial purposes. You may not use, reproduce, modify, transmit, display, publish, sell, create derivative works, or distribute any of the Content without permission.
By using this site you agree to observe all copyright and other applicable laws and may not use the Content in any manner that infringes or violates the rights of any person or entity.
All reasonable care has been exercised to ensure that agreement has been secured with any person featured in the Content to allow its use.
This web publication grew out of an AHRC and British Academy funded training programme and conference. It centres on the interface between two disciplines – anthropology and sound art. The project came about quite by chance, - the product of the fertile soil of coincidental meetings and events, staying with old friends while travelling, browsing each others bookcases, talking ideas late into the night, and listening to each other's sound libraries.
A collaborative project was born which involved training Scottish anthropology postgraduates in sound art skills and theory, and London-based sound artists in qualitative research methods and anthropology. From St Andrews, Stephanie Bunn co-ordinated the project, and along with Huon Wardle led sessions in anthropological methods and theory at London College of Communication. From London College of Communication, Cathy Lane co-ordinated, and Peter Cusack and John Wynne led sessions for St Andrews in sound recording, editing and sound art. Adam Reed, Andrew Whitehouse, Angus Carlyle and Cathy Lane led additional sessions. Over 60 students were involved in the training programme which culminated in a retreat at the Burn Centre in Edzell, where students prepared presentations which they later presented at the project conference, alongside such experts in their fields as Steven Feld, Colwyn Trevarthen, Wendy James and David Toop.
It was the anthropologist's desire to understand the many ways that sound can be meaningful, coupled with the artist's ability to 'think outside the box', - leading to talk of thunderstorms harmonizing with jazz concerts and 'contrapuntal conversations' - which gave us the theme of the conference – 'The Body, the Environment, and Human Sound-making'. This conference, with its many complementary papers and presentations, you see and hear here now. Steven Feld suggested that a new form of media might help give the papers the voice they needed. We took this advice, and hope that the possibility to hear the sounds and see the visuals of many of the papers as you read them gives an important new dimension to the conference proceedings.
Alongside papers given at the time, we include some additional presentations and interviews to show the present work of some of those involved. We would like this project and its outcomes to form an important compendium for key themes in this interdisciplinary area, which participants from both fields address in different, but complementary ways.
Stephanie Bunn, July 2008