Accepted Paper:

Mobilising sound: Audio tours and the anthropology of urban mobility  

Author:

Sanderien Verstappen (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Audio tours are a way of communicating-in-space that integrates mobile technology within experiences of urban mobility. In this presentation, I share how smartphone-based audio tours can be used to communicate about research in a public space.

Paper long abstract:

Audio tours are a way of communicating-in-space that integrates mobile technology within experiences of mobility. They have been used for tourist and activist purposes but can also be mobilised to communicate in and about anthropological research. In this presentation I share fragments of an audio tour I currently co-create with anthropology students at the University of Vienna.

Social researchers with spatial questions have shown keen interest in mobile devises that generate locational information. While the tracking of movements as behavioural data has been critiqued for its top-down approach, PGIS and counter-mapping approaches offer alternative ways of researching and representing space. Audio tours combine locational technology with audio narratives. They can be created and accessed on a smartphone to conduct research and communicate about findings in a public space.

In Vienna, I collaborate with students in appropriating the smartphone to this end. During a project on the topic of urban mobility in Vienna, students and interlocutors co-create audio narratives that reflect diverse ways of moving in the city. The audio narratives are combined into an audio tour that we walk together with the students, interlocutors, and neighbourhood activists.

Panel P07
Critical play: Smartphones as a mode of creative engagement with crisis