Sound Studies Winter and Summer School


Location and Date

The Sound Studies Winter and Summer School is scheduled to take place on January 13-17, 2014 at the University of Amsterdam (NICA) and on August 18-22, 2014, at NYU Berlin and the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science.


The two schools will focus on the notion of “sound signatures” as a way to reconsider sound as a phenomenon that is highly bound to specific media, material cultures, and related discursive systems. It invites graduate students from different disciplines to investigate the connection of sound to particular contexts and fields of action: social, scientific and artistic practices, embodied skills, objects, technologies and media, architectural and environmental designs.

In the early years of sound studies, the terms “acousmatic music” and “schizophonia” (Schaeffer 1966, Schafer 1977) were coined to describe a split between original contexts of sound and their loss of spatial-temporal referents during reproduction. By contrast, recent studies have made significant efforts to ground “soundscapes,” “acoustemologies” and “techoustemologies” in specific historical periods and localities (Thompson 2004, Feld 1996, Porcello 2005). Taking these studies as a starting point, the two schools seek to further investigate how sounds – both past and present – have influenced certain environments and discourses, and how these processes have left their marks on the cultural heritage of sound.

The winter school will be held at the University of Amsterdam in January 2014. It will focus in particular on sound-based strategies for the configuration of spaces, objects and embodied practices. The summer school will be held in August 2014 at NYU’s center in Berlin, with a focus on the sonic dimensions of knowledge production.


The programs for both schools will include morning workshops (for up to 20 graduate students) on the above themes, taught by the organizers (Birdsall, Jackson, Mills and Tkaczyk) and invited scholars. Additional sessions will feature keynote lectures. For the winter school, the keynotes will be Jonathan Sterne (McGill University, Montreal), Lisa Gitelman (New York University), and Julia Kursell (University of Amsterdam); for the summer school, Emily Thompson (Princeton University) and Karin Bijsterveld (University of Maastricht). Concerts and performances will be scheduled in the evenings. Each week will include the presentation of student project proposals (one morning session) and an artistic workshop.