A thesis defence in Vancouver

Subject: A thesis defence in Vancouver
From: David Paquette (dpaqueta@sfu.ca)
Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 14:02:43 EDT

Although this is a little last minute, here are the info about my
thesis defence, for those who are in Vancouver and would be
interested in the -soundscape studies oriented- topic! [/end of self




Defence info:

Mr. David Paquette will be defending his Masters Thesis:

Describing the contemporary sound environment: An analysis of three approaches, their synthesis and a case study of Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC

Date: 30 June 2004 (Wednesday) Time: 11:00am Place: RCB6152 - Thomas Mallinson Room - School of Communication, Burnaby

Chair: Prof. Zoe Druick Senior Supervisor: Prof. Barry Truax Supervisor: Prof. Alison Beale

Internal Examiner: Prof. Len Evenden, Department of Geography, SFU

----- Thesis Abstract:

Sound, because of its invisible nature, has for long escaped the grip of Western rationales, incapable of casting light on the mysterious relationships listeners develop with their acoustic environment. After a long history of specialized attempts to measure and objectify sounds according to scientific parameters, a new approach has developed which aims to understand not the mechanics of sound and perception, but rather the role of the listener as an interpreter, and the social and ecological implications of the soundscape. But the various models proposed in soundscape studies and acoustic ecology remain often fragmented and isolated from each other.

This work presents three specific approaches to the sound environment, three ways to describe and analyse sounds in an everyday setting: The World Soundscape Project model, Barry Truax's Acoustic Communication model, and the perceptual and phenomenological work of French researchers Jean-François Augoyard and Pascal Amphoux. These three approaches are then combined in a methodological and analytical framework to study contemporary urban environments in a multidisciplinary way.

The methodology is applied to a case study-the soundscape of Commercial Drive in Vancouver BC, Canada-in order to explore and emphasize the various similarities and complementarities of the models. The goals of the study are twofold: (a) to explore the aforementioned soundscape using a specific set of methods and concepts, and (b) to develop a critical understanding of the way these approaches can interact.

The results of the case study emphasize the presence of a strong acoustic community maintained through active outdoor soundmaking practices, the omnipresence of non-mediated, vocal interactions and a blurring of traditional indoor/private and outdoor/public boundaries. The study has also helped in demonstrating how Amphoux's qualitative criteria can be used in the context of an acoustic communicational inquiry of the sound environment. -----

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