Sound Art and Public Engagement in the Built Environment: Reflections from an Architecture Center

Conor McCafferty

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article explores the deployment of sound in architectural-curatorial and community engagement contexts through the work of PLACE, a multidisciplinary not-for-profit architecture center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The author, who worked with PLACE and contributed to the projects discussed here, contextualizes architecture centers and their relationship with sound before examining the specific case of sound and sound art in Northern Ireland and case studies of projects delivered by PLACE. Specifically, the article evaluates two sound installation artworks and three community engagement projects for young audiences. As a means of curating urbanism and architecture, sound-art-as-public-art affords useful strategies to examine, describe or critique the environment as alternatives to traditional architecture exhibition formats. Sound’s temporality and materiality allow sound art works to exist as temporary sculptural interventions in the urban sphere, with attendant implications for public art procurement and urban acoustics. Rich territories of engagement are opened when using sound in a community participatory context.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Sonic Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 07 Dec 2015


    • sound art
    • sound art and architecture
    • sound art; architecture; site-specific; sound installation;
    • public engagement
    • architecture centres


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