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Soundwalk in the Pullman Historic District

Saturday, October 3 (10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.)

Pullman National Monument


11057 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628

Free and open to the public

Photo: Kendall Karmanian/Crain's
Photo: Kendall Karmanian/Crain’s

You are invited to a soundwalk and performance at Pullman National Monument and State Historic Site for the Tenth Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival, in celebration of Chicago Artists Month. This program is co-presented by Pullman National Monument and State Historic Site, Outdoor Afro, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, and Borderbend Arts Collective.

“A soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are.” — Hildegard Westerkamp (Soundwalking)

This soundwalk begins in front of the historic Pullman factory clock tower with introductory talks by Linda Beierle Bullen, Curator at Pullman State Historic Site, and Susan Bennett, Park Ranger at Pullman National Monument. The soundwalk continues outside the historic Pullman administration building, along a route whose soundscape will include sounds of nature and the built environment. Following the soundwalk will be a performance by Chicago Phonography with readings of passages from Pullman porters’ oral histories.

Since 2009, the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology has organized and promoted numerous public soundwalks in urban and natural environments. Westerkamp and others provide eloquent descriptions of what soundwalks mean for people through years of practical and shared experience. We hope to apply and share this knowledge to raise awareness of our soundscapes, especially to learn how the reciprocal role of listening and sound making effects our quality of life.

As an ecological practice, soundwalking can be an entertainment or a method for inquiry; a call to action and a meditation, all at once or moment to moment. This aural understanding can enrich design of the built-environment as well as encourage greater care and respect for natural soundscapes.

Visit the MSAE Facebook Event for updates

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Call for Papers: Lend Me Your Ears!—Sound & Reception

For Volume 26 Leonardo Music Journal is “soliciting articles (papers of up to 3,000 words) and shorter statements (750–900 words) that address how we listen, how our reception of music and sound has changed, and the role technology has played in that process.”


• 15 October 2015: Rough proposals (1–2 paragraphs)
• 2 January 2016: Submission of finished articles

Address proposals and inquiries to
Nicolas Collins, Editor in Chief, at:

More information (download PDF) or visit Leonardo Music Journal.

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Deadline October 10, 2015: BunB 2016 “Data Science + Eco-Action”


The 5th edition of the Balance-Unbalance (BunB 2016) conference will be held from May 9 to 11 of 2016 in Manizales, Colombia.

BunB 2016 is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities. The theme for BunB 2016 is “Data Science + Eco Action”.

BunB 2016 is seeking for papers, transdisciplinary workshops, artistic activities and exhibitions, posters and panels considering to propose, analyze and discuss specific projects and actions that could help us to face the serious environmental crisis. BunB 2016 is also open to host a diversity of virtual components allowing global accessibility and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of a major international conference.

Deadline for submissions: October 10, 2015 (midnight, Colombia’s time)
Notification of acceptance: November 30, 2015

Submission categories:

  • Papers (4-8 pages)
  • Posters (2-3 pages)
  • Panels (2-3 pages)
  • Artistic works (2-3 pages)
  • Transdisciplinary workshops (2-3 pages)
  • Virtual projects (2-3 pages)

In addition, a selection from accepted papers will be invited to publish in the Leonardo Journal under a special section devoted to Balance-Unbalance.

For complete information please visit


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Report: World Listening Day 2015 Soundwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore


Soundwalk starting at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Miller Trail.

Report, photos, and audio by Christopher Preissing

On Saturday, July 18 (World Listening Day 2015), Dan Godston led a soundwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Miller Trail. In spite of predictions for extremely hot and humid temperatures, nine hearty listeners braved the heat on what turned out to be a beautiful warm and breezy day.

Starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, Dan introduced R. Murray Schafer and his seminal book, Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, and in keeping with this year’s H2O theme, Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea, and Jerry Dennis’ The Living Great Lakes. National Park Service Ranger Steve Rodriguez hosted the event on behalf of the IDNL, and provided materials with which the soundwalkers created text and visual images based on passages from the books. We have been collaborating with IDNL on programs at the Douglas Center annually since 2010!

To introduce the soundwalk Dan described two types of engagement: the first consisting of active listening, the second including active engagement with the environment. On top of a small dune through which the trail passes, we stopped to make sound by hand with leaves, wood, and the sand at our feet. Following that acoustic interaction with the environment, we walked over the wood bridge that spans the marsh.

Audio recording of the soundwalk:

The “H2O” theme for World Listening Day 2015 drew attention to water as a metaphor and reality; essential for life and now becoming the greatest commodity of the 21st century. At the end of the bridge, Dan had left two containers for pond water and branches with which to make sound and feel the water. In both instances soundwalkers participated joyfully, and reported these interactions as an important component of the experience. “When we were making sounds it felt very childlike, which brought to mind a lot of what kids’ play is just making sound for the joy of making sound.”


We stopped to listen and make sound by hand with leaves, wood, and the sand at our feet.


Eight of our nine hearty listeners back at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. Dan Godston is seated on the left.

Sound walkers described listening without the other senses as “a good way to keep your focus;” that “there’s competition between the senses” as well as “for what you want to listen to;” and that “it was sensory overload.” Some additional comments include: “Cottonwood trees can be very loud.” “It’s very squeaky when you walk.” “I never paid attention but different trees make different sounds. I wondered how the birds and the insects take cues from that and how it affects what they do.” There was also a brief discussion around how our ears and brains actively filter various sounds in the environment, whereas microphones hear everything.

More photos are in our Album at


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Positive Sound Design in Urban Soundscapes – Chicago Tribune

This week, Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin and I had a good chat about the positive role of sound in the design and experience of urban spaces. While noise problems at O’Hare Airport and Wrigley Field gain attention, we focused ways that sound reduces stress and enhance. Instead of the negative role, I mentioned specific examples of places in Chicago where I, and other MSAE members, have led soundwalks within Millennium Park.

Blair Kamin wrote, “Sound can alleviate, as well as accentuate, stress. It can delight us as well as drive us crazy. Sound should be a part of the recipe for cooking up great cities. Yet concocting that recipe is as much art as science.”

Read Kamin’s article “Soundscape of the city is about more than decibels.”

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park

The Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park has hedges that block street noise and allow for sounds of nature to be heard inside it. (Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune)

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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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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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