Listening to Museums course
Listening to Museums is a course on offer through the Education Department of The Museum of Portable Sound, for which I serve as Course Leader. The first offering occurred in winter 2017, from January-March.
Students are provided pre-class session readings for each of the three monthly sessions, leaving the in-person meetings free for field work. The three class sessions take place at different museums in London, with in-class soundwalks, activities, and discussions tailored to reinforce the concepts contained in the class readings. The material provided for readings mingles selections from sound studies, museum theory, artist statements, and philosophy to explore what it means to experience a museum sonically, and to encourage new ways of interacting with visual objects and spaces from a sonic perspective.
Written worksheets help the students organise their thoughts during the in-class activities and provide a structure through which they are encouraged to 'collect' the sounds they hear in each museum, with a final project to combine these remembered sounds into a 'playlist' similar to a mixtape – inviting students to think of the sounds they hear as resonating off each other, contributing to meaning-making within the museum experience.
Session 1: Sound, Space, Experience
Session 2: Resonance, Wonder, Phonomnesis
Session 3: Sharawadji, Authenticity, Curiosity
Science Museum and V&A
Future plans for the course involve visiting different museums as well as adding an advanced session to delve deeper into the sonic experience of museums for those who have taken the initial course.
Photos by Cristina Sousa Martínez