Sound and Digital Humanities is a week-long course offered during Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) that explores opportunities/approaches for sound in Digital Humanities scholarship, pedagogy, and creative practice. Outcomes include experimentation and making prototypes for sound-based DH projects. I offer a second DHSI course, Digital Storytelling. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.
Sound and Digital Humanities is a week-long course offered during the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), at University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Campus maps here.
This course uses a flexible, experimental, iterative approach to introduce and explore sound for Digital Humanities (DH) scholarship, pedagogy, and presentation. Discussions, workshops, and collaborative learning help participants conceptualize, plan, and develop sound-based DH projects. Participants can apply course learning and resources to ongoing DH projects, or experiment with new knowledge and/or skills.
3-7 June 2019
Previously offered: 2018-2014
Sound is to people what the sun is to light. — Ornette Coleman
Digital Humanities (DH) seeks to engage academic scholarship with creative practice to promote critical thinking, communication, digital literacy, and civic engagement. While DH has embraced visualization—images, animation, video, and text as image—as a basis for scholarship presentation and pedagogy, sound is, arguably, overlooked. This is unfortunate, as sound can invoke associations unlike any other sense or medium. Sound provides a way of knowing and being in the world. Considering sound provides new opportunities and/or approaches for DH research, scholarship, teaching, learning, and creative practice. I explored this idea in Sound and Digital Humanities: Reflecting on a DHSI Course, an essay published following the first offering of this course in 2014. (Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, 2016. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/1/000239/000239.html). LEARN more.
DH scholars, however, may lack appreciation and/or ability for using sound(s) to enhance or ground their research and/or pedagogy. This course considers sound objects / applications like soundscapes, soundwalks, sound maps, transects; remixes; aural and oral histories / biographies / documentaries / storytelling; curated exhibitions / installations / performances / broadcasts; and embedded and/or stand alone sound ecologies like podcasts / radio / archives / curated collections.
As an example of this conceptual framework . . . a research interest of mine is the re-thinking of radio dramas as live, multimedia performances in order to prompt listeners to consider the ability of sounds to convey appreciation, emotion, experience, information, and meaning(s). I call this project Re-Imagined Radio. My essay, Radio Nouspace: Sound, Radio, Digital Humanities, discusses making sound tangible with curatorial information and demonstrates interesting and rewarding opportunities for DH research and creative practice. (Digital Studies/Le champ numérique, 28 Feb. 2018. https://www.digitalstudies.org/articles/10.16995/dscn.275/). LEARN more.
Rather than analysis or critique, course activities include discussions, workshops, and collaborative learning. This is not to suggest that sound and DH is clear of theoretical nuance and/or cultural tension, but rather to focus on iterative conceptualizing and creating in support of scholarship and pedagogy. Making informs knowing. Outcomes include understanding of sound recording and editing, copyright (and left), sound utilization in DH projects, and more.
DHSI participants are DH scholars—faculty and graduate students—aligned with international research centers, libraries, and academic departments. In addition to this course, they also participate in other intensive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary DHSI classes and seminars ranging in subject matter from text encoding basics to strategies for large project management.
I first facilitated this course in June 2016. Later that same year, I published an essay, Sound and Digital Humanities: Reflecting on a DHSI 2014 Course, in which I reflected on the course, its planning, implementation, and outcomes and offered some thoughts regarding the role sound might play in the research, communication, and consumption of Digital Humanities (Barber, John. Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, 2016. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/1/000239/000239.html). Additionally, I maintain an evolving framework for my research and creative practice with sound as part of my Radio Nouspace project. These points remain current, and part of my conceptual framework for this course.Close
Available in open and portable electronic format. Read it online, print at your convenience, or use the print-on-demand service at the University of Victoria Bookstore and pick up when you arrive on campus.
Inquiries > Theoretical Framework
My evolving framework for using sound in teaching, scholarship, and creative practice. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project, this framework is well applied to this course.
Resources > Audio Drama
Unlike radio drama, with its focus on scripted dialogue, audio drama focuses on sounds other than the human voice as its narrative basis. A brief history, examples, and listening opportunities. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Oral/Aural History
I suggest two approaches for studying history through sound(s): oral history and aural history. Oral history focuses on recorded interviews with participants of past events and ways of life. Aural history speaks to gathering and preserving historical information about ambient sounds, either through writing, or recording. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Podcasts
A podcast is an audio file made available online for listening or download. Podcasts can be enhanced with music, video, and text. Podcasts are quite popular, and easy to produce. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Radio Art
A collision/collusion between the ancient traditions of orality and radio as an instant information access mass communication system. A new art form, using sound to create art. By broadcasting that art, radio art provides a bridge between art and popular culture. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Sound
I maintain a separate webpage with access to MANY sound tools, resources, and more. Have some to add? Please let me know.
Resources > Sound Art
An art form providing new opportunities for sounds to create and sustain new narrative strategies. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Sound Installations
A sound installation is an intermedia and time-based art form. Intermedia = art practices that occur between different art genres. For example—drawing + poetry = visual poetry and painting + theater = performance art. This is an expansion on the concept of art installation in that sound introduces the concept of time necessary for listening to the work(s) featured in the installation. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Sound Poetry
An artistic form bridging literary and musical composition where phonetic (sounds / acoustic properties) aspects of human speech are foregrounded rather than semantic (meaning) and /or syntactic (process of constructing sentences) values. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Resources > Soundscapes, Walks, Maps
Soundscapes, soundwalks, and sound maps: three ways to experience sonic environments. One of several inquiries into radio's ecology as part of my Radio Nouspace project.
Transects sample particular or characteristic sounds along a path through a space or place. When combined, they provide a mix or collage of the soundscape.
I maintain many resources in support of my teaching and creative practices. Feel free to browse.
My name is John Barber. I convene with the faculty of Creative Media & Digital Culture at Washington State University Vancouver, USA. LEARN more about my teaching, research, scholarship, and creative practice.
I have facilitated this course at DHSI since 2014. I have facilitated, since 2016, another DHSI course, Digital Storytelling. LEARN more.
In 2012 and 2013 I collaboratively taught a DHSI course on Mobile App Design and Development. Course goals were to
1). Conceptualize the space and special features of mobile devices.
2). Develop the architecture, design, and multimedia content production for a mobile project.
3). Understand the coding and programming requirements for mobile devices.
Comments from 2018 class
John is an amazing instructor, who made this course so much fun for someone who had zero experience with digital humanities beforehand.
I appreciated John's openness to individual work while providing very useful terminology and concepts for the beginner. Can't believe I made something in less than 4 days with no prior knowledge or experience. John is awesome and a great teacher.
I really enjoyed the flexible approach. Lots of hands-on examples.
RESPONSE: I appreciate these comments, especially those about empowerment. Sound provides many interesting opportunities for digital humanities, perhaps too many to cover in a week, and certainly in depth. But, I am thankful that participants find the flexible, experimental, iterative approach rewarding.
These example projects are provided by the course participants who created them. They demonstrate the range of conceptual and experimental sound-based projects undertaken during this course.
DHSI 2018, 4-8 June
Example projects by the eight individuals from Canada and the United States in this year's course.
Day Trip To Victoria
by Alejandro Echeverria
Sounding Out the Spaces of Berlin's Working-Class Life
Florence Feiereisen and Erin Sassin
We are building a website to experience a massive and infamous Berlin tenement building in sight and sound, ca. 1932. Listen to Ackerstrasse, the soundscape outside the building front entrance.
DHSI 2017, 12-16 June
Example projects by the twelve individuals from Canada and the United States in this year's course.
Request to NASA to Include a Poet in Their Next Space Shuttle
In 2011, Camps published this poem in The Bitter Oleander (translated into English by Anthony Seidman and Traci Roberts). Camps sent the poem to NASA, as a joke, to see what would happen. NASA took his poem seriously, and sent him an application package to join NASA as an astronaut. Later, Camps met an actual astronaut, and asked him to carry a copy of the poem into space. The astronaut did so, and tweeted about the poem from the International Space Station. Learn more and read Camps' poem in this blog posting. Enjoy this digital publication of Camps' poem. For this course, Camps augmented his poem with sound, and recorded a classmate reading his poem.
Breathe and Gardening
Two poems, written and augmented with sound recordings by Chatlosh.
Read Kelsey's blog post, An Anthropologist's Visit to DHSI to Learn about Sound, about her experiences with this course.
Tacoma Music History
A project to identify and document all the places and names associated with Tacoma's music history. An interesting use of Story Maps. Tacoma Music History website.
A sample from a larger project, called "Noisemakers," to create a musical-rhythmic sound map for her campus (website here). Each building on the map will be assigned a different sound, each composed by Ferrando. By "playing" the buildings in combination with each other, different compositions can be realized. The sounds here were created using samples from recorded conversations, a bicycle, a bird, footsteps, and tapping a parking meter with a plastic water bottle.
DHSI 2016, 13-17 June
Example projects by the eleven participants from Canada and the United States in this year's course.
Kristin Carlson Becker
An audio interpretation of the creative process of putting her 16-month-old daughter to bed.
The sounds of swallows—not birds but moving food or drink from mouth to stomach—and more.
Linda V. Troost
An audio poem read and produced by Troost.
Poem: "Water and Weeds" by Yvonne Blomer, written for Canada Day 2015, used by permission
Music: "Trillium" by Podington Bear, freemusicarchive.org, CC3
Birds: Pacific wren and song sparrow recorded near the University of Victoria campus, CC0
Water: recorded near the U of Victoria campus, CC0
Fireworks: from soundbible.com, public domain
Copyright of recording: CC3
A sound collage/narrative combining the above individual projects, and more. Produced and edited by Laurelle Miciak.
DHSI 2015, 8-12 June
Sixteen individuals from Canada and the United States participated in this year's course. They produced this collaborative aural artifact from samples of their individual projects or sound files created during the course. You may hear disjointed noise, or a resonate narrative of human endeavor that, like DH, is deep and rich, broad and diverse. They recommend headphones for the best listening experience.
DHSI 2014, 2-6 June
Thirteen individuals from Canada and the United States participated in this year's course. They produced this collaborative aural artifact from samples of their individual projects or sound files created during the course. They recommend headphones for the best listening experience.