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MIGRATION SOUNDS

A unique global project to discover, explore and reimagine the sounds of human migration and settlement.

The project is now closed for submissions, and will launch in September 2024.

More than 100 amazing recordings of the lived experience of migration from all over the world have been collected, recomposed and reimagined into a brand new collection of compositions that use sound to reframe the migration conversation.

Join the Cities and Memory email list to be the first to hear about the project when it launches.

So what are the sounds of migration? Often they are the sounds of everyday life as experienced in a new place – not just the sounds of the headline-grabbing aspects of migration.

Since the dawn of human society, people have moved from place to place and built new lives in locations far from where they were born or raised.

People move for innumerable reasons and each experience is utterly unique – moving from the UK to the USA can be as dislocating as moving from Cameroon to France or from China to Ethiopia. Moving to work, or to study, or for love can each be expected to lead to very different outcomes and experiences – as can moving for safety or protection.

Similarly, being away from loved ones, or the places and things that anchor you in a place can be intimidating: the apparent strangeness of a new city or town can make you profoundly aware of sounds that more settled residents might completely screen out.

So what are the sounds that capture your own experience of living in a new country? What are the sounds that tell you when you have found a new place that is “home”?

Accents, sirens, birdsong, train doors closing, cicadas, the sounds of calls to prayer, market traders, people in bars or the night-time barking of stray dogs can all capture a sense of place – but what are the sounds that speak of your own experience of moving between countries and places?

We hope you’ll find this project as exciting as we do – it’s going to be an amazing way to use sound and creativity to talk about something hugely important in 2024.

Why migration?

Migration is one of the most polarising and contentious subjects in policy, media and public debates worldwide. Politicians and media endlessly debate migration policies, border enforcement, economic imperatives and threats, social impacts and many other abstract concepts that shape our thinking about what the very idea of “migration” entails.

But it is critical to understand that migration is not one singular concept or experience. Every person who migrates, and every person who encounters people on the move, or lives in a place that is affected or changed by migration experiences this phenomenon differently.

So how can sound help us to understand these deeply human and personal experiences?

Why sound and migration?

There has never been an open public effort to collect the sounds of migration and discover what those sounds mean to the listener, giving us an opportunity to explore experiences and understandings of migration from an entirely new angle.

Sound provides us with a way to briefly immerse ourselves in one of the sensations of place that is hidden from us when we read a story or look at a picture, and sound can transport us to a place and a time more vividly than almost any other sense. We can all hear before we are born, and sound is an incredible part of our daily lived experience.

The Migration Sounds project offers a unique way to explore and understand human migration and settlement through field recordings, sound and artistic responses to those sounds.

If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact us.

A partnership between Cities and Memory and the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS)  at the University of Oxford.

MIGRATION SOUNDS LAUNCHES IN

Migration Sounds is the first large-scale public exploration of the sounds of migration.

The project is now closed for submissions, and will launch in September 2024.

More than 100 amazing recordings of the lived experience of migration from all over the world have been collected, recomposed and reimagined into a brand new collection of compositions that use sound to reframe the migration conversation.

Join the Cities and Memory email list to be the first to hear about the project when it launches.


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