ISSTA 2018 – Who’s Listening? Sound and Public Space

Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association annual conference

Ulster University, Magee campus

Derry, Northern Ireland

November 9th and 10th 2018



Dr Salomé Voegelin (Listening Across Disciplines group, author of Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art, Reader in Sound Art at the University of the Arts, London)

Prof. Anna Barney (Listening Across disciplines group, Professor of Biomedical Acoustic Engineering at Southampton University)


Contemporary urban society is a contested space. Commerce generates a flurry of signage and advertising jingles. Industry excavates and accumulates, building uniform structures of concrete and steel, and throughout all is the traffic of daily ritual, the friction of tires on tarmacadam. Commercial interests and planners often distill this heterogeneous field down to simplified brands, cultural signifiers designed to encourage investors. What room is left in this complex of power and policy for community? Where is public space and what role can it play in contemporary life? How can sound, in particular, interrogate the urban matrix?

In 2018, ISSTA returns to Derry to explore these issues, relationships and tensions. With the spatial definition provided by its historic walled city and cross–border hinterland, the resonances of its civil rights movement (of which 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary), its historic conflicts and diverse musical and sonic cultures, from traditional music sessions to marches, we hope that Derry will provide a thought–provoking setting which will support fruitful discussion, debate and listening!

We would particularly welcome contributions relating to sound and urban studies, auditory architecture and design, sonic archaeology and sonic heritage, psychogeography, place-making, activism, soundscape studies, and sound’s relationships with anthropology and human geography, alongside more general topics relating to music technologies, sound art, electronic and experimental music performance and composition.


Deadline for submission is extended to Friday June 1st.


Who’s listening? We are.


Location and Visitor Information

Derry (also know as Londonderry) is Northern Ireland’s second city (the fourth–largest city in Ireland as a whole) and is situated in the northwest of the island and on the border with County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. It is served by bus and rail connections to Belfast and Dublin (Translink and Irish Rail) and bus connections to Letterkenny, Sligo and Galway (Bus Éireann).

The nearest regional airport is City of Derry Airport (serving a limited number of UK routes) with Belfast International, Belfast City Airport, and Dublin Airport providing international connections.

See Visit Derry for further details regarding transport (including airport connections), accommodation and other local information.

Chairs and Organising Committee, ISSTA 2018


Conference Chair: Dr Brian Bridges, Ulster University and President of ISSTA

Co-chairs: Dr Adam Melvin, Dr Rob Casey and John Harding, Ulster University

Chairs of Music track: Dr Adam Melvin (Ulster) and Dr Jenn Kirby (UWTSD and ISSTA)

Chairs of Paper track: Dr Rob Casey (Ulster), Dr Stephen Roddy (TCD and ISSTA), Dr Adrian Smith (DIT and Sounding Out the Space)


ISSTA Board:

Dr Brian Bridges, President

Dr Jenn Kirby, Vice–President

Robin Parmar, Treasurer

Dr Stephen Roddy, Web and PR

Dr Alan Dormer, Secretary



Submission deadline is extended to Friday June 1st; (midnight Irish and UK time).

Submission is via the Easychair system.

The call is open to all practitioners and researchers regardless of nationality. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Registration for ISSTA 2018 is required for participation.

We originally aimed to provide review notification by July 3rd. We have had to push that date back by 2 weeks and are aiming to have papers reviewed by July 17th. We apologise for this inconvenience.



PAPERS which engage with the conference themes, or relating to ISSTA subject matter, including:

  • Acoustic Ecology
  • Computational Musicology
  • Computer Music
  • Digital Audio, Digital Signal Processing, Sound Diffusion and Sound Synthesis
  • DJ Practices
  • Electroacoustic Music
  • History of Sound, Science and Technology
  • Interfaces for Music or Sound
  • Laptop Music and Live Electronics
  • Music/Audio software
  • Sound Art and Media Art with a Sonic Focus
  • Soundscape Art/Studies
  • Sound, Science and Technology Education/Pedagogy


Submission is by abstract (up to 500 words).


Paper proposals are reviewed double–blind. ISSTA’s working language is English.

Presented papers at ISSTA are expected to be 20 minutes in duration.



  • Soundscape practices
  • Circuit Bending
  • Electronic Music and Computer Music
  • DJ/Scratch Music
  • Electroacoustic Composition – fixed-medium or real-time
  • Laptop Performance
  • Sound installations (headphone-based or video–with–headphones)


Dance&sound performance: As part of ISSTA 2018 in Derry, will also be accepting proposals to work with Echo Echo Dance Theatre in workshopping a dance performance piece in response to a multi-speaker installation or piece of music which will be ’site-informed’. This piece will be presented as a joint ISSTA/Echo Echo initiative as part of Echo Echo’s Festival of Dance and Movement; NI’s leading contemporary dance festival.
The selected piece will respond to the space of the atrium in the new teaching block at Magee campus (at links below).
Proposals should consider Echo Echo’s working methods and aesthetic philosophy of dance as ‘poetic movement’, related to everyday experience: “We understand that dance has a similar relation to our everyday movement as the poetic use of language does to our normal, everyday speech.” In this manner, we invite proposals which incorporate significant elements of soundscape materials and consideration of space and sonic territories.
Pieces which are not selected for this performance will still be considered for presentation in other parts of the programme.
Any queries about this strand of the programme can be addressed to Brian Bridges
Consultation with Echo Echo will be facilitated for the successful applicant. 

Instructions on submitting artworks/music via Easychair:

  • Enter contact details
  • Enter title and abstract: in this case, the abstract should be a brief description (two or three lines) of the work’s form (fixed media/live, technology required, piece’s basic concept, rationale, or materials)
  • Keywords (required by the Easychair system): simply list three words which will give an indication of your piece’s form or content, i.e. performance/fixed-media, electronic/soundscape, theme.
  • Uploads/media (‘paper’): As Easychair assumes more traditional conference paper submissions, it only accepts PDF files. We therefore ask that you upload a single PDF document containing links to all relevant supporting materials and media for your piece. The PDF should contain the title of the work (but you don’t need to include your name on this), a brief description (a paragraph or two) and technical requirements (including any specialist equipment or materials which you are bringing).


Registration Information: Registration Now Open.

Early-bird ticket options available until Monday 22nd October.

Prices for full ticket options after Monday 22nd October:

Full fee (professional): €50.

Independent artist/student/unwaged/irregular income: €25.

ISSTA is a subscriber–funded organisation and is not in receipt of state funding and we regret that we are not in a position to pay artists’ fees or make contributions to travel expenses; please see ‘funding’ below for further details regarding funding supports.


Eventbrite Ticketing Page Here



Ulster University, Magee campus is a short walk or taxi ride from the historic city centre. All events will take place on campus. See here for campus map and a Google map view of location.

NB: please note that all events will take place at Magee campus and not at any other Ulster University campus (e.g. Coleraine, Jordanstown or Belfast campuses).


Other notes

If you are selected to present and the above fees may cause difficulty for you in the context of other expenses, please contact the conference chair to discuss whether a waiver may be applied (

If performers are required, artists themselves must facilitate their travel and other associated costs, though we can write letters of recommendation to funding and support bodies.

We are working with partners to source funding to support presentation of creative works at ISSTA; we will provide updates via the call page, and hope to be able to provide a small number of bursaries for artists based in Ireland. Details will be updated here shortly.