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Sounds around us: Sounding the Peatlands & Belfast During Covid-19 
Lara Weaver (Queen's University Belfast)
Georgios Varoutsos (Queen's University Belfast)
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Sonic Lab in Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Cloreen Park, Belfast BT9 5HN
Tuesday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This Lab invites audiences to explore two sites in Northern Ireland: peatlands and Belfast during Covid-19. Incorporating sonic practice and ethnographic methodologies, this workshop considers presence, sensory knowledge-making, and sound as a means of heightened environmental awareness.

Long Abstract:

This Lab invites audiences into two sound installations exploring unheard sounds of Northern Ireland.


I: Drawing from field recordings of Northern Irish peatlands, Lara will present an interactive sound work that brings the micro-aural worlds of these ecosystems to the forefront of human experience. Immersive spatial audio incorporates the listener's movement to trigger changes in the soundscape: just as walking over peatlands compresses them, or extraction of carbon from these environments has devastating effects on the global scale. By making human intervention overt, this presents an opportunity for play and interaction, whilst also more sombrely recognising the imprint of human-driven changes on the peatlands such as burning, drainage, and peat cutting.

II: During a global pandemic, countries and cities have become literal ghost towns. Once flustered with human-generated sounds, it has now enhanced perspectives on the urban and natural sound environments. Georgios will present recordings taken from multiple points during the lockdown. This enables a chronological experience of the differences imposed by Covid-19 restrictions and how these spaces have changed from the start of the global pandemic. This project reflects through an auditory and sonic art perspective how the city sounds like with the lack of human presence in public spaces of Belfast.


This Lab incorporates sonic practice, ethnographic, phenomenological, and documentative methodologies to explore presence, sensory knowledge-making, and sound as a means of heightened environmental awareness. The workshop consists of extended listening sessions, an introduction to recording techniques, and methods of accessing recordings.