WFAE President’s Report by Eric Leonardson
Welcome to the first WFAE Newsletter of 2014. With the explosion of interest in sound, and the related arts and sciences, this year promises to be a busy year for acoustic ecology and our membership. I hope all current WFAE affiliate members will renew their annual membership soon. And, if you are not yet a member, now is a good time to join as membership comes with many benefits, including the annual publication Soundscape: The Journal for Acoustic Ecology. Each affiliate has its own membership application process and fees. Contact information is listed on the WFAE Membership page.
Two important events will take place in 2014. The WFAE has endorsed the Sound In the Land festival and conference, which will be held June 5-9 at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada). And the WFAE is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the “Invisible Places | Sounding Cities", an international symposium on sound, urbanism and place, July 18-20 in Viseu, Portugal.
Sound in the Land, organizer Carol Weaver writes, “Although [this conference] stems from a Mennonite context (with Conrad Grebel being a Mennonite-based university college on the campus of University of Waterloo) the scope, themes, and focus of this conference will span far beyond a Mennonite focus. We are looking for proposals from all interested presenters (no need to be Mennonite!) We will have conference presentations, workshops, poster presentations, soundscapes, soundwalks, installations as well as concerts of live music, singing, and new commissions.”
The WFAE and local organizers of Invisible Places | Sounding Cities will be announcing a call for proposals at the beginning of January. Announcements will be made on the WFAE acoustic ecology discussion list and the WFAE Facebook Page. The symposium will happen with support from many organizations in Portugal, taking place within the annual Jardins Efémeros (Ephemeral Gardens) arts festival. Alongside keynotes, workshops, and performances concerning sound, urbanism, and place, a meeting between artists and Portuguese researchers will be held with representatives of the WFAE in order to create the Portuguese Society for Acoustic Ecology.
Volume 13 of our annual Soundscape: The Journal for Acoustic Ecology is near completion and expected to be published in the spring. The guest editors are Makis Solomos and Kostas Paparrigopoulos, organizers of the “Music and Ecologies of Sound Symposium” in Paris. Volume 14 will be guest edited by Jay Needham from the American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE).
This past November the Symposium on Acoustic Ecology at the University of Kent happened, successfully co-organized by The School of Music and Fine Art with our regional WFAE Affiliate, the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (UKISC). The symposium investigated soundscapes as complex sounding systems that change in space and time, and shape our understanding of the surrounding world. Guest speakers included Barry Truax (Canadian Association for Sound Ecology), Katharine Norman, and Richard Ranft. 130 people from 18 different countries participated. ASAE Vice President, Stephan Moore reported that, “The quality of both the papers and the concerts was exceptionally high.” In fact it was so successful that they plan to establish the Symposium on Acoustic Ecology as a biennial event. Please read the full report from UKISC report from Dr Aki Pasoulas.
In related news La Semaine du Son (The Week of Sound) begins its 11th year in January. Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor, is the sponsor of this edition. La Semaine du Son 2014 will focus on "human behavior related to the sound environment." Events will be held in Paris, Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain.
To serve as a valuable educational resource for acoustic ecology the WFAE has a growing directory of hundreds of online videos that are listed, categorized, and linked. This WFAE video directory page provides convenience access to anyone interested in a range of concerns within the field such as soundscape, soundwalk, education, etc. These videos are also archived on the Soundscape Exploration blog where you can find the most current listing.
Once again, it is important for those interested in acoustic ecology, whether you are from the sciences, engineering, or the arts, to find a home in the WFAE. Membership in the WFAE is also available for those who do not live near an affiliate. Information about renewing, or joining, is available on the WFAE Membership page where links to each affiliate can be found.
2014 will be a year of change as new affiliates join the WFAE and other affiliates change their focus and programs. These changes will be reported later in the year as information becomes available. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this edition of the WFAE News Quarterly.
Header Photo: Canadian Composer Adam Clarke captured the beauty of the SW Black Forest area of Germany atop the 644-meter-high Freiburg Schönberg im Breisgau. Clarke's music can be heard on SoundCloud.