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

Phase 1 – recordings

We are currently looking for recordings representing the experiences of people on the move, migrating and settling – these can be submitted until 31 March 2024.

Submit your recordings here

If you have any questions about submitting a recording for the project, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer. Recordings can also be submitted anonymously and do not need to identify any individuals contained within them.

Phase 2 – compositions

In April 2024, we will be opening the project to applications for musicians and sound artists to reimagine this incredible bank of sound recordings into a suite of brand new compositions.

If you would like to apply to join the Migration Sounds project as a composer/artist/musician, you can join the artist waitlist at the link below and we will send you the callout details in early April 2024.

Join the artist waitlist

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.

We’re looking for the sounds that represent migration and settlement to you – and more importantly, the stories behind those sounds.

The project welcomes sounds that encompass the whole spectrum of human migration. These might be the sounds of leaving a place, of journeying from one place to another, of settling or of returning. For instance:

– How does a new city or country sound through the ears of a newly-arrived resident?

– What are the sounds that tell the story of a journey towards a new home or a new life?

– What are the sounds that tell the story of a place that you moved to and have adapted to?

– What are the sounds of home that stand out and bring back memories and emotions when you return back to the place you came from?

If you’ve moved to a new country, for example, sounds that reflect your experience of both your new home and the place you’ve come from – with the stories behind them – would be an important part of our global sonic survey.

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.

Take part in the project

You can submit a recording on the themes of migration, settlement, place and exile from wherever you are until 31 March 2024.

You can also join the artist waitlist for the composition part of the project at this link.

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

In the first phase of this sonic exploration, which runs until the end of March 2024, we’re looking for recordings of the sounds of migration and settlement from all over the world.

Artists will then reimagine and recompose these sounds to develop a rich suite of compositions reflecting on their own experiences of listening to these sounds, as well as their own perspectives, emotions and memories.

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