Soundwalking or soundsitting is a method that enables anyone, anywhere where there is sound, to engage with their environment in new ways. 

Going for a walk in the name of research.

Poets, hunters, street-crossing pedestrians, musicians and many others have long appreciated the benefits of keeping their ears open to the complexities of the world. A soundwalk or a soundsitting is simply put an experience where you prioritize listening; it means giving your attention to all the sounds of your environment and also reflecting on which sounds might be missing or new sounds that have arrived with the changing of seasons, new developments, increase or decrease in human or non-human population. It is a method for creating and gathering knowledge that anyone can participate in. What you hear converts to experience-based local knowledge about the place you’re in, and provides valuable contributions to climate research.  

Our variant of soundwalking is guided by our participants and the sounds they are drawn to during the walk: which sounds they find comforting or disturbing, and what these sounds mean for them. Maybe the birds are returning later, but their coming means the long awaited return of spring. Maybe the streets are quiet because there are less tourists, or we’ve put summertires on our cars. Maybe you can hear the Aurora Borealis on a clear, crisp winternight?

There are no right or wrong answers to “what ought to be heard”, the important thing is that we offer our attention to whatever sounds may be there, and reflect on what these auditory cues can tell us about who or what other creatures are with us. What do these sounds mean for the future? Which sounds take us back to the times of our grandparents? All these reflections are part of what makes a place a place. Our hope is that soundwalking or soundsitting is an accessible way to engage with one’s environment with curiosity and care.

Listening means connecting to the world from a different, more receptive standpoint. Active listening takes patience and focus, it demands that we pause and dwell in the ‘silence’. We invite you to listen with us, make your own reflections on what sounds are in your local environments, and become inspired to engage with it with care. 

Why sound?

“More than just an aural hearing, listening is a practice of sensing, attunement, and noticing.  Attunement means to bring into tune, to find resonances or moments of intersection. It is a laborious, humbling, and self-reflexive process.”

(Kanngieser & Todd, 2020: 385-93.)


“Listening in that way can be a painful, exhausting or a rather depressing experience, as our ears are exposed often to too many, too loud or too meaningless sounds…we desensitize our aural faculties by shutting out sounds and thereby not allowing our ears to exercise their natural function.

Unless we listen with attention, there is a danger that some of the more delicate and quiet sounds may pass unnoticed by numbed ears and among the many mechanized voices of modern soundscapes and may eventually disappear entirely. 

(Westerkamp, 1974)

Democratic and accessible


Kanngieser, AM and Z, Todd. “3. FROM ENVIRONMENTAL CASE STUDY TO ENVIRONMENTAL KIN STUDY.” History and Theory :Studies in the Philosophy of History 59, no. 3 (2020): 385-93.

Westerkamp, H. (1974, 2001). Sound Heritage, Vol.3, no. 4, Victoria B.C. 
Also found here.