Interference Journal Retired

What does Essex sound like?

By Sarah-Joy Maddeaux, Stuart Bowditch

What does Essex sound like? How have its soundscapes changed? What do its soundscapes reveal about Essex society and culture? In 2015, the Essex Sound and Video Archive at the Essex Record Office gained a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to run the project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place. One output was an online audio map of past and present sounds of Essex, aiming to showcase the county’s diversity through its soundscapes, and to encourage comparisons of historic and present-day recordings. This article will describe the processes behind the development of the audio map, then give a flavour of the types of soundscapes we captured. Finally, the paper will question what the map reveals about the soundscapes of this oft-maligned British county, and what function the map can serve in developing a sense of place for the county’s inhabitants.

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