Podcast, Arts & Culture, Urban Issues, Community

Episode 32: Listening to the World Around Us — with Milena Droumeva and Brett Ashleigh

November 26, 2019
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When it comes to understanding the world around us, we can look and observe change with our eyes. But what about using our ears to listen to the ways in which our environments change?

This is the type of work that Milena Droumeva and Brett Ashleigh do. Milena is an assistant professor of sound studies and Brett is a PhD student. Both of them work and research at SFU’s School of Communication, which is quite world famous in the areas of sound studies and soundscape research thanks to the work of R. Murray Schafer, Barry Truax and others. In this episode, Am Johal sits down with Milena and Brett to talk about how listening can offer a unique insight into the ongoing change around us that we might miss if we don’t take the time to do it. 

About Our Guests

Milena Droumeva

Milena Droumeva is an Assistant Professor and the Glenfraser Endowed Professor in Sound Studies at Simon Fraser University specializing in mobile media, sound studies, gender, and sensory ethnography.

Milena has worked extensively in educational research on game-based learning and computational literacy, formerly as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Research on Digital Learning at York University. Milena has a background in acoustic ecology and works across the fields of urban soundscape research, sonification for public engagement, as well as gender and sound in video games. Current research projects include sound ethnographies of the city (livable soundscapes), mobile curation, critical soundmapping, and sensory ethnography. Check out Milena's Story Map, "Soundscapes of Productivity" about coffee shop soundscapes as the office ambience of the creative economy freelance workers. 

Milena is a former board member of the International Community on Auditory Displays, an alumni of the Institute for Research on Digital Learning at York University, and former Research Think-Tank and Academic Advisor in learning innovation for the social enterprise InWithForward. More recently, Milena serves on the board for the Hush City Mobile Project founded by Dr. Antonella Radicchi, as well as WISWOS, founded by Dr. Linda O Keeffe.

Brett Ashleigh

Brett Ashleigh is a PhD student at SFU’s Department of Communication. Her research focuses on sex and gender inequity, and proposes feminist interventions through sound design, auto ethnography, and narrative methods.



Johal, Am. “Listening to the World Around Us — with Milena Droumeva and Brett Ashleigh.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, November 26, 2019.


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