History

Simon Fraser University’s School of Communication has a long-standing history of sound-based instruction and pedagogy, dating back to R.M. Schafer’s (1994) work with the World Soundscape Project in the 1970s, and Barry Truax’s (2001) subsequent work in the area of acoustic communication, through the 1980s and 1990s. Engagement with sound has included both listening activities such as soundwalks, sound maps, various ‘ear cleaning’ exercises and written reflections (sound journals); as well as audio production assignments that connect to modes of communication and media problematics, including recording interviews, creating public service announcements, podcasts, audio-based narratives and soundscape compositions. The Sonic Research Studio was established in the late 1960s at Simon Fraser University by Canadian composer and foundational sound studies researcher R.M. Schafer, to pursue soundscape research through the World Soundscape Project. In the 1970s the studio and the WSP were home to several notable and longstanding researchers in acoustic ecology, including Barry Truax, a professor (now Emeritus) and electroacoustic composer based at Simon Fraser University; Hildegard Westerkamp, a freelance acoustic ecology thinker, activist, and soundscape composer; and David Murphy, a senior lecturer in video and sound in the School of Communication. With Barry Truax's recent retirement in 2015, and the creation of the Glenfraser Endowed Professorship in Sound Studies, this teaching space is now shared between Dr. Milena Droumeva, David Murphy, and Barry Truax. The studio contains a wealth of archival materials in soundscape studies and acoustic ecology, as well as cutting edge research in listening pedagogies, soundscape composition, sonification for social change, and various cultural studies of sound.