Sounding Coastal Change: experiments with sonic democracy on the North Norfolk Coast (UK)

Drs George Revill, Johanna Wadsley and Kim Hammond will present on their work ‘Sounding Coastal Change: experiments with sonic democracy on the North Norfolk Coast’, about social and environmental change in the region.

The North Norfolk coast is a region of low lying sandy cliffs, dunes, mudflats, creeks, fresh and salt water marshes. These vulnerable habitats and ecologies are subject to erosion and inundation from increasingly severe weather events and tidal surges that also transform human lives and livelihoods. The region is also being transformed by other kinds of impacts notably, increasing visitor pressure and the rise of ‘second home’ residents. This project uses the idea of sound, music and different kinds of listening to explore the ways in which the coast is changing and how people’s lives are changing with it. The project applies the idea of sound to explore coastal change. It develops a series of workshops, live performances of original music, radio broadcasts, sonic exhibitions and film and sound installations, each working with historical and newly developed material to inform the development of a sonic coastal plan for the Blakeney area. The paper builds on work around the politics of sound (Revill 2016) and geographies of voice (Revill 2017). As contention, it takes seriously Latour’s argument for ‘a parliament of things’ (1991, 2004). It explores how and to what extent sound is able to juxtapose human, nonhuman and environmental ‘voices’ in a shared space and interrogate its form of meaningful communication between social and natural worlds. The paper takes Harries (2013) conception of the ‘open work’ and writing on art participation, conversation and democracy by Helguera (2011) and Kester (2013) as starting point for critical exploration of creative sonic political democracy.