Collecting and Curating Sound

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


In recent years, there has been a rising interest within Theatre and Performance Studies in sound and aural culture, in tune with a wider turn to the sonic in a range of fields. In Lynne Kendrick and David Roesner's terms 'theatre noise... expresses the innate theatricality of sound design and performance, articulates the reach of auditory spaces, the art of vocality, the complexity of acts of audience, the political in produced noises' (2011). As a question of documentation, Jonathan Sterne has convincingly argued that the development of audio reproduction technology is bound up with the development of modernity as such, and historicizing notions such as 'original', 'copy', and 'fidelity' in relation to recording or broadcasting sound helps to create a framework for broader understandings of the 'sociality and contingency' of human relations (2003). Nevertheless, the documentation of sound in performance has received far less attention than questions of appearance and presence which have historically dominated these debates. For the Documenting Performance Interim Event, working group co-conveners Johanna Linsley and Georgina Guy invite researchers to take part in a study day on the question of how and where sound is collected, curated, and researched, and what this tells us about wider notions of how we do the work of making, writing and thinking about theatre. The Collecting and Curating Sound study day will be structured around a series of concrete examples. We invite applications for both contributors and participants. Contributors will give a short provocation relating to a specific case study or project and the challenges of documenting, collecting or curating sound. Participants will take part in discussion in response to these examples, as well as specific instances of sound practice on display within Tate Modern or held in its collections. Invited speakers include: Steve Cleary, Lead Curator, Literary and Creative Recordings, British Library Angharad Cooper, Creative Project Leader for the British Music Collection, Sound & Music Cecilia Wee, Independent curator and researcher, and Tutor in Sound Design, Royal College of Art Rebecca Collins, artist and researcher, University of Leeds
Period2 Jun 2017
Event titleCollecting and Curating Sound : TaPRA Interim Event Documenting Performance Working Group
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map


  • Curating
  • Sound
  • Archive
  • Collection
  • Theatre
  • Performance