Narrating human experience: An interdisciplinary approach to sound (Public lecture, 19th August)


Late Summer Lectures kicks off its exciting 2015 programme on 19th August, with Elise Gayraud (Department of Music) sharing her experience of developing a short film about County Durham’s mining heritage. “Sounding and Re-Sounding” used the testimonies of former miners to explored the role and risks posed by water underground.

Based on an experimental short film investigating human-nature interaction and the experience of sound, this lecture explores the understanding and perceptions of creative ethnographic narratives.

Having taken part in an Ethnographic Film making workshop, I will introduce this lecture by presenting the result of my work and that of my team, from which I have the approval for disseminating our research. Filmed at Killhope in June 2014, the film “Sounding and Re-Sounding: An ethnographic encounter of natural and industrial echoes” (3’41”) considers the use of water in the mining industry and the natural risks it raises.

The narrative follows the sound of water through an industrial site, exploring the relationship between people and their landscape in rural England. In examining the resounding water running through nature and man-made machinery, and using the testimonies of former miners and museum curators, it takes on an ethnographic look at the interaction between man and nature. 

Through the sensory experience of sound, and the individual perceptions of natural risks, this research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the narration of human experience notably touching topics of narrative and literary aesthetics, ethnography, cultural anthropology and psychology. Accordingly, this lecture analyses and challenges current methods of researching, interpreting and disseminating interdisciplinary studies within academia and to the community. 

Crucially distinct from documentary, explanatory reportage and collection of experiential personal narrations, the aesthetical choices in the realisation of an audiovisual ethnographic encounter have a significant impact on the audience’s perceptions of the subject and its challenges. I will give an interdisciplinary research-based lecture extrapolating this original piece of research to grasp an understanding of interdisciplinary knowledge dissemination through creative work and new media. 

Late Summer Lectures runs every Wednesday at 17.00 at Alington House, from 19th August to 7th October. See the full programme here.

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