We are currently collaborating with a number of universities, NGOs, foundations, and think tanks to understand how sound can be used to explore issues of sustainability, resilience and wellbeing. We create sound and listening experiences as a way to help sustainability, resilience and wellbeing champions gain greater impact through their public engagement and communication programmes. We know that sound can provide both new and innovative ways of engaging with pressing issues and, importantly, can help transform peoples’ behaviour in ways that may lead to more sustainable and resilient futures. We listen to the sounds that are generated by the issues we are aiming to understand. We then use sound to present data and create a narrative about these issues. Since all our research is applied, we seek to create meaningful impact by using our research in ways that aim to facilitate behavioural change.
– with support from Leopold Bachmann Foundation and in collaboration with Inspiration4Action, AlVelAl and Commonland.
We are involved in projects in the Altiplano de Granada, Los Vélez and Alto Almanzora region of southern Spain. These projects are aimed at restoring degraded landscapes using the principle of 4 Returns – Return of Inspiration, Return of Social Capital, Return of Natural Capital and the Return of Financial Capital. Our specific contribution to the overall project is to explore how soundscape restoration can be used as an innovative way to ensure landscape restoration initiatives are effective and sustainable. Through the use of sound, and the identification of indicator soundmarks for healthy social, economic and natural environments, we are able to help create systemic restoration approaches. Through listening to the land, and the people who farm it and inhabit it, we are collecting sonic data from the region that we are using to inspire people to create more vibrant soundscapes – soundscapes that are sustainable and that encourage the return of both human, and more-than-human life, to a region that was in a state of social, economic and environmental decline.
Here is short podcast by Ecosia which explains a little more about the Alvelal project. All sounds and music featured are by Sound Matters.
“The soundscape restoration project connects local musicians, millennial cultural heritage and a unique environment to make people aware about the challenges we have in southeast Spain to become resilient to climate change, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and depopulation. With the 4 returns approach, this project contributes to the return of inspiration, giving local people self esteem and pride based on their long musical tradition. Soundscape restoration has got an holistic view of sustainable development restoring landscape by agriculture and culture. It’s an honour and a big pleasure to be a little part of this innovative Project.”
Dietmar Roth. Coordinator of the Commission for Culture, Education and Tourism of AlVelAl and Deputy Mayor of Vélez Blanco.
“Using sound and music as powerful tools to inspire the restoration of degraded landscapes, Sound Matters puts forward a pioneering approach to help reverse the most acute global challenge we face nowadays: the degradation of nature. Mike’s and Harry’s ability to connect with local people, their knowledge and sensitivity towards nature, in addition to their technical mastery, makes working with Sound Matters a truly joyful, revitalising and meaningful experience.”
Astrid Vargas. Founder, Inspiration 4 Action.