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Researchers and musicians come together to explore noise and silence

The University of Nottingham will host a workshop with two public events reflecting on science, technology and music to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Science Museum’s landmark 1935 Noise Abatement exhibition.

With input from researchers, musicians and museum staff, the Music, Noise and Silence workshops address sound in the era of industrial modernity. The next stage of the programme takes place at the University on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March, and is entitled ‘Noise and Silence’.B990168|10317890
Revealing acoustic phenomena
On Thursday 26 March, the public are invited to explore an installation by sound art collective Audialsense, which reveals acoustic phenomena dependent on the architecture of the covered tunnel between the Portland Building and Trent Building, University Park. This will be followed on Friday 27 March by an afternoon of talks and discussion at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, where leading scholars of sound will share their ideas about the meaning and history of noise and silence.
Dr James Mansell, University of Nottingham, said: “At the Science Museum’s 1935 Noise and Abatement exhibition, the Anti-Noise league’s purpose was to convince the public and lawmakers that noise was a danger to individual and social well-being. Eighty years on, this project aims not so much to confront the problem of noise, but rather to understand the historical and cultural connections between noise and other sonic categories, particularly silence and music, in industrialised societies.
Music and noise
The University’s Nottingham Sensory Studies Network is partnered with the Science Museum, London, and the Royal College of Music, for the project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The workshop series was launched on Wednesday 25 February at the Royal College of Music, which explored the proposition that modern ‘quiet’ musics are a response to industrial modernity. The final workshop will take place at the Science Museum in April, and will delve into the boundary of music and noise.
Dr Mansell said: “The goal is to collect ideas and narratives for a future Science Museum exhibition on sound. Our first events at the RCM were a success, including a trip to an anechoic chamber (a perfectly silent room) and performances of works by composers interested in silence as a creative medium. We are looking forward to unveiling the specially-created sound installation in Nottingham on Thursday 26 March, followed by more idea-sharing with leading scholars the following day. We hope to see you there!”
All are welcome to join the next stage of the programme.
The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.
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