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World Listening Day 2015: H2O

WLD2015logoYou are invited to participate in World Listening Day 2015, an annual global event held on July 18.

The purposes of World Listening Day are to:

  • Celebrate the listening practices of the world and the ecology of its acoustic environments;
  • Raise awareness about the growing number of individual and group efforts that creatively explore Acoustic Ecology based on the pioneering efforts of the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, La Semaine du Son, Deep Listening Institute, among many others;
  • Design and implement educational initiatives that explore these concepts and practices.

This year’s theme for World Listening Day is “H2O”.

The global water crisis means 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water. Water is rapidly becoming the commodity of the 21st century and the catastrophic effects of climate change often involve negative associations with water. Rising sea levels, devastating floods, melting ice in Antarctica and droughts spreading throughout the globe, all highlight our increasingly unpredictable and extreme relationship with water.

Yet H2O is vital for life, water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, and 60% of our bodies are made of water. Oceans, rivers and lakes are the core of many of the world’s iconic cities and historically civilizations formed around water. Indigenous communities across the globe believe water is at the core of our existence. For thousands of years communities have lived sustainably by holding significant cultural and spiritual value of rivers, lakes and oceans.

World leaders believe we need to create a cultural shift in how we think about water. We need a better understanding and awareness of the value of water and we need to make critical changes to avoid the ramifications of the global water crisis. In the words of Sylvia Earle “even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.”

World Listening Day 2015: H2O invites you to reflect on water, metaphorically in how you listen, or through creative events inspired by water and sound across the globe. The 2015 theme resonates at a time where we need to shift our collective thinking and actions towards water globally.

World Listening Day 2015 will include a virtual symposium hosted on WaterWheel (, an electronic publication, and hundreds of events taking place across the globe.

World Listening Day is co-organized by the World Listening Project (WLP), the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE) and Biosphere Soundscapes. July 18 was chosen because it is the birthday of Canadian writer, educator, philosopher, visual artist, and composer R. Murray Schafer. His efforts leading the World Soundscape Project and his seminal book, The Tuning of the World, inspired global interest in a new field of research and practice known as Acoustic Ecology.

World Listening Project, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and Biosphere Soundscapes invite you to participate in World Listening Day 2015 on Saturday, July 18, and through the week of July 12th-18th. Some suggestions on how you can participate and organize include:

  • Soundwalks or listening events in your local community, with a particular focus on oceans, rivers, lakes and catchments
  • Field recording trips or workshops
  • Site-specific performance events
  • Concerts curating water inspired compositions (contact us to connect with composers and sound artists)
  • Personal experiences of attentive listening or field recording
  • Educational events that relate to acoustic ecology, field recording, or a similar topic
  • Public talks or lectures about listening, water and acoustic ecology including participation in the World Listening Day H2O virtual symposium on July 17-18.

Use the hashtag #WLD2015 to connect with other local and global groups participating in the World Listening Day 2015: H2O and get involved.

Participation in World Listening Day is rapidly expanding every year. In this sixth year we anticipate even greater activity and interest.

Please join in the World Listening Day 2015 activities by emailing about your plans and be sure to include “World Listening Day” in the subject line.

Please fill out the World Listening Day 2015 online participation form so we can promote your projects and include them in our documentation.

Please use our Quick Submission Form if you would prefer to provide brief details about your activities. It will only take two minutes! Thanks!


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Call for Participation: H2O Virtual Symposium

Call for Participation: H2O Virtual Symposium

WLD2015 H2OWorld Listening Day 2015 will include the World Listening Day H2O virtual symposium on July 17-18, hosted on WaterWheel, an electronic publication, and hundreds of events taking place across the globe.

Continue reading ›

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Soundwalk at Douglas Center, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

soundwalkers in Miller Woods

Soundwalk at Miller Woods, May 2014

11am Saturday, July 18: Join members of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology celebrating World Listening Day. Dan Godston, MSAE member and co-founder of the World Listening Project, leads a soundwalk starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education.  Tips on listening to the symphony of sounds of nature and humans will be shared. This year’s World Listening Day theme is “H2O.” Water is essential for all life. Without it our soundscapes and life disappear.

WLD2015 H2O

Click to Join Our July 18 Event on Facebook

This day is open house at the Douglas Center. Following our soundwalk, local artist Marsha Browne will be leading a “Landscapes of Miller Woods” drawing project. You are invited to stay and participate.

The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located in the western portion of the national lakeshore at 100 North Lake Street, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 12. For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1882 or check the park’s website at

Save the June-Aug 2015 flyer to learn about this summer’s activities at the Douglas Center in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

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‘scapes Sound Walk in the West Loop

Saturday, June 13 • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Chicago Artists Coalition

217 North Carpenter, Chicago

'scapes Sound WalkAs the final programmatic element to his ‘scapes BOLT exhibition, Norman W. Long (MSAE) will take participants on a sound walk of the West Loop. Long will retrace his field-recording walks in a different season with a decidedly different technology (our ears). A sound walk is a guided or unguided tour where one listens to their environment. We will be mindful of sounds that drift by, come to the forefront, drop in the background, stay with us and fade away. The sounds we listen to become part of our own stories or lives and affect us in a similar way of language. A sound walk is important to our understanding of place and how we define our communities.

Participants will gather outside the front door of the Chicago Artists Coalition, located at 217 North Carpenter Street, at 11 a.m. to commence the tour.

RSVP to:

sound map

Essay + Performance


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SOUNDWALKS: Alive Broadcast

Soundwalks: Alive Broadcast

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Highland Park Public Library Presents: Earth Day Harmony with Nature

13896378819_be8d0b8990_zEric Leonardson of the Midwest Society of Acoustic Ecology will introduce the concept of Soundscape Ecology and lead participants in a sound walk. This is an all ages event.

Saturday, April 18
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park, Illinois 60035

Show Map


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April-June 2015 WFAE News Quarterly

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.51.54 AMThe April-June 2015 WFAE News Quarterly is now online.

This issue focuses on of WFAE affiliate news; a tribute to Peter Grant; a call for papers for publication in Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, Balance-Unbalance 2015, and a summary of recent research projects.

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Proceedings of Invisible Places | Sounding Cities 2014

POSTER INVISIBLE PLACES_lowIt is now possible to download the 812-page proceedings from the 2014 Invisible Places | Sounding Cities symposium at

A city is a place of diversities. Its rhythms are sometimes contrapuntal, sometimes synchronous. We live in a city of multiple destinations and routes—spaces populated by sounds, smells, gestures, visions, exchanges, encounters, and feelings. We have a better a city experience with all the senses awakened. However, modern cities have been designed, built and determined by visual aesthetics. A strict regime of the visual limits the innately diverse ways we sense and communicate with our home and the world.

Invisible Places | Sounding Cities has two goals: a symposium on sound, urbanism and sense of place endorsed by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and an exhibition of artistic events that aims to bring art and science to the streets. It is integrated in Jardins Efémeros edition IV.—From the Foreword by Raquel Castro

Invisible Places | Sounding Cities took place July 18-20 in Viseu, Portugal. In addition to WFAE endorsement, the Mayor of Viseu – Câmara Municipal de Viseu, the annual Jardins Efémeros (Ephemeral Gardens) arts festival, and Escola Superior de Educação de Viseu, among others. Keynote speakers were Jean-Paul Thibaud, Brandon Labelle, and Salome Voegelin who explored an integrated, holistic approach to understanding and resolving current and future concerns in urban planning, architecture, and sound as a public art form. Francisco López was the featured artist. Exquisite sound installations and audio art works were integrated into the public spaces of Viseu, made available as the Sounding Cities complement to the symposium.

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Report: January 25th Soundwalk and Performance at Brushwood Center

Brushwood Center Soundwalk

Cabin on the Des Plaines River in Ryerson Woods, one site for sounds and scenes of the river

With moderate snowfall and cold, nearly 60 people participated in a soundwalk led by Dan Godston, John Barrett, and Eric Leonardson, followed by a concert by Chicago Phonography. Performers included Todd Carter, Chad Clark, Ed Herrmann, Monica Ryan, with members of Chicago Wildsounds, Roni Jachowski, Matt Connor and Lisa Kenny. The site of the soundwalk was the Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area in the Ryerson Forest Preserve in Riverwoods, Illinois. A rewarding discussion followed both the soundwalk and performance inside the Brushwood Center for environmental education, art, and science in Ryerson Woods.

Soundwalk in Ryerson Woods

Eric Leonardson asked participants to write about their experiences. “Reflecting on and publishing about MSAE activities helps advance acoustic ecology. It’s interesting to learn how different people sense things and apply this to their experience, and in their work. For example, some of the artists-in-residence at Ragdale participated in the soundwalk. One said she focused her listening by closing her eyes as she walked and stood by the river. That heightened her awareness of the sounds all around, and the many footsteps crunching in the new snow. She imagined this must be what a cow hears when standing within its herd. Last night she told me she used her description in the novel she’s writing.”

Author and Ragdale artist-in-residence, Danielle Sosin wrote: “While on a winter sound walk in Ryerson woods, I used my eyes as little as possible, squinting, letting in just enough vision to see the heels of the person in front of me. It was cold, windy, with crunching ice underfoot, rattling leaves, and creaking branches. The experience made me realize how much I rely on vision over sound. With limited sight, my hearing became both more acute and clearly directional. It felt wild, and more animal to rely on my ears. When we stopped near a small river, I stood, eyes closed, as my ears picked up the positions of people milling around me, quietly passing, stopping, shifting weight, and I thought, ‘This is what it feels like to be part of herd.’”

Chicago Phonography performs in Brushwood Center

Chad Clark, MSAE and Chicago Phonography member, also mentions the sound of the leaves, “My attention was drawn to the subtle crackling of the slow flowing creek working its way through a cover of ice and frozen leaves.”

Chicago composer and MSAE member, Ed Herrmann, reported that “the morning of January 25 was cold, and fresh snow was falling on the several inches already covering the ground. Even so, more than 30 people joined Chicago Phonography on a sound walk at Ryerson Woods. It was quiet. Footsteps crunching in snow and some planes flying over were the primary sounds above the distant drone of traffic, but an occasional bird or squirrel also made its presence briefly known. A few people reported seeing or hearing a deer. My personal favorite sound was a large tree branch creaking as it swayed in the wind. As we approached the Des Plaines River we heard water rushing over rocks and ducks splashing and quacking. We took a different trail back and found a large group of small birds chattering near one of the park buildings. More people had arrived during the walk and the audience for the performance was around 50 people. Chicago Phonography was joined by members of Chicago Wildsounds from De Paul University for a performance in which each participant independently played recordings of environmental sounds ranging from birds, animals, weather, and water to urban, industrial and domestic. Following the performance many members of the audience stayed to ask questions and share observations. A good time and good listening for all.”

Chicago Wildsounds member, Lisa Kenny, had an expansive and restorative experience. “I expected a smaller and more intimate group, but I was greeted with a much bigger crowd; the intimacy, however, was still present. It really reminded me of not only how important and informative the work and effort MSAE and CWS put forth, but also how cherished the element of sound is, no matter who is listening.”

MSAE member Roni Jachowski, also of Chicago Wildsounds, reported that “experiencing a place through its unique sound is a reality that connects us to nature and each other. During our soundwalk with MSAE and the World Listening Project at Brushwood Forest Preserve, I was actively connected to my community and my environment through the simple acts of walking quietly and listening purposefully.”

Members of Chicago Phonography and Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, left to right, Chad Clark, Dan Godston, Ed Herrmann, Eric Leonardson, Monica Ryan, and Todd Carter.

“Thanks to everyone who came to our soundwalk on Sunday. We had an unexpectedly large crowd! We also want to thank Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, Chicago Phonography and Borderbend Arts Collective for helping organize and perform.”—Brushwood Center

On January 19, Barbara Brotman’s weekly column in the Chicago Tribune was titled, “Sound experts make art of the noise all around us.” Featuring an interview and online video of Eric Leonardson discussing soundscapes and phonography, her article vastly increased our media outreach and helped attract a larger than average public.

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Chicago Wildsounds Presents “Rooted in Sound: A Night of Soundscapes” – Thursday, March 5

Rooted in Sound - fb

Chicago Wildsounds presents “Rooted in Sound: A Night of Soundscapes”

5:30pm Thursday, March 5

DePaul Art Museum

935 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614

Chicago Wildsounds writes:

We will be combining a lecture by Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, one of today’s leading acoustic ecologists, and sound performances by Zach Moore and Owen Davis.Dr. Bryan Pijanowski is the Director and Professor of the Human-Environment Modeling and Analysis Laboratory (HEMA) in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. His lab combines ecology, engineering, social science and the arts to its research which is the inspiration behind Chicago Wildsounds. Dr. Pijanowski has traveled to some of the world’s wildest places to record, study and conserve their sounds. In this lecture, Dr. Pijanowski will describe his work in the field of acoustic ecology, human-environment modeling and the unique places it has taken him.

Zach Moore and Owen Davis are both composition students in the School of Music at DePaul University. Moore and Davis have incorporated CWS field recordings into original works to be premiered at the event. In addition to their compositions, there will be a sound improv session to bring the night to a close.

This will also be a great opportunity to check out the collaborative sound installation between CWS and artists Dolores Wilbur and Victoria Deloria, along with the other environmental related art exhibited in “Rooted in Soil”.

This is a lecture and performance you will not want to miss!



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