Centre for Sound and Image


A practice-focused approach

At the SOUND/IMAGE Research Centre our research seeks alternative ways of perceiving the world based on a direct, practical engagement with materials. This hands-on approach can yield insights and perspectives far beyond those arising from purely theoretical methods. Whereas those working in film or drama, may use music or moving images as materials to be laid on a narrative structure, we examine the materials themselves via a number of interlinked themes:

Heritage and Place 

Working with international commercial partners and UNESCO heritage sites, we are demonstrating the contribution of new scanning tools and sonic approaches to the representation of space and place, and how these foster new engagements with place. These alternative perspectives can disrupt traditional assumptions, providing insights that decolonise institutions and help to engage new audiences.

Relevant activities include:

  • The highly interdisciplinary work of the CAPTIVATE team, who apply LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanning to better understand underground spaces.
  • A Sonic Palimpsest, an AHRC-funded project revisiting Chatham’s historic dockyards.
  • A collaboration with the Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe and others.

Spatial Aesthetics and Immersive Environments

Here we offer a sonic frame to counteract traditionally visual framings of immersive media, and engage critical insights informing the wider application of spatial audio across the creative industries and into healthcare simulation. This work is supported by our cutting edge audiovisual facilities, including the Shared Hub for Immersive Future Technologies (SHIFT), a £1 million investment from the AHRC enabling collaborative co-production in creative and cultural research.

Relevant activities include:

  • Bringing together our Loudspeaker Orchestra and SHIFT spaces with our new partners at the world leading French research institute IRCAM.
  • Engagements with local community groups and partners, such as The Royal Observatory, and the production of course materials and resources for diverse stakeholders.

Communities & Cultural Access

This research aims to break down white male hegemonies in the contemporary arts and soundscape fields, opening up insights to the world via listening. Among our outputs are policy documents for arts organisations, venues and music unions, and a network of activities supporting diverse practitioners.

Relevant activities include:

  • The AHRC-funded project Exploring Cultural Diversity in Experimental Sound, led by Dr Amit D. Patel, asks: Where are all the Black and South Asian experimental sound artists? Its outputs include a record and book of interviews.
  • Research on curation and community access with Drake Music, Liquid Vibrations and Sound & Music.

Other strands of research we are pursuing and seek to expand include Sonic Phenomenologies and Expanded Cinemas.

Past Projects


An expanded experience of the cinematic, locating historical and contemporary artists’ work alongside the work of Jim Hobbs and Andrew Hill

A Sonic Palimpsest: Revisiting Chatham Historic Dockyards

Exploring the use of sound in heritage contexts

Immersive Hyperreal Soundscapes

Investigating the potential and affordances of new multichannel audio technologies