You might know audio-walks from a museum or a tourist bureau. Soundscapes of Childhood are different. Rather than reproducing established facts, they explore and ask new questions. Making soundwalks invites students to participate in a process that furthers critical thinking and creative design. And the soundwalks invite anyone to walk, listen and use their imagination. Combining cultural geography, aesthetic education and documentary sound art, Anja H. Bieri’s pedagogy led the students to discover layers of history, story and culture in the landscape of the Arboretum. Gradually, walking, listening, recording, and writing, the students interlaced literary and historic ecology with their own biographies, weaving a dense fabric of environmental sounds and their own voices.
The creative process of making soundwalks engages students in various disciplines and design stages. Aesthetic education helped them carefully choose and understand sounds to record and then compose their work in specific software. Students learned documentary essentials ranging from formulating a research question to the techniques and ethics of recording to storytelling and dramaturgy. Group field-trips and individual walks, lectures, individual work and studio feedback sessions led to the creation of these six poetic Soundscapes of Childhood.