Nottingham Sensory Studies Network

This AHRC-funded research network will bring together university researchers, musicians and museum staff to explore the structure and outline of a major public engagement project looking at music in relation to science and technology in the context of sonic modernity. Taking the 80th anniversary of the Science Museum’s 1935 noise abatement exhibition as a starting point, we will run a series of discussion and performance events to explore how the cultural and historical categories of music, noise and silence could be used to structure public engagement in recent work with sound studies, music and history of science and technology.


Music, Noise and Silence 

This was the logo of the Anti-Noise League which organised a Noise Abatement exhibition at the Science Museum in 1935. The research network marks the 80th anniversary of this exhibition. 


Project Overview

The aim of the project is to map ideas and approaches for a future Science Museum exhibition on music and sound.
In a departure from the Museum’s usual approach to the development of exhibition content and narrative, through this research network the Museum will work with a heterogeneous group of HEI researchers and others, using methods derived from action research to scope a new kind of exhibition that coherently synergises recent work relevant to its subject matter. It makes sense to proceed in this way because preliminary research into science, technology and music has vividly confirmed that this is a very rich field indeed, with the potential for many different foci for an exhibition on this broad theme. Drawing on the diversity of relevant recent academic work and musical performances and installations is clearly a powerful way to ensure a fresh approach to museum display and programming. In this way it is intended to produce both a deeply satisfactory visiting experience for the proposed exhibition based on the very best research and, at the same time, to create real impact and knowledge exchange for the disciplines involved.


Public Engagement

Sound Installation by Audialsense

A sound art collective campus artist-led tour of a campus-based installation, which revealed and enhanced acoustic phenomena.

Audialsense members are Ian Knowles, Jason Flanagan and Paul Bavister.  Audiansense’s work recreates, enhances and reveals acoustic phenomena, turning sound into physical site-specific installations dependant on the architectural qualities of a given space.

Soundcloud of Portland Tunnel, University Park Campus



Noise and Silence: An afternoon of talks and discussion

Leading scholars of sound shared their ideas about the meaning and history of noise and silence.
Speakers included David Hendy (author of ‘Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening’), Shelley Trower (author of ‘Senses of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound’) and Tom Rice (author of ‘Hearing and the Hospital: Sound, Listening, Knowledge and Experience’).



‘Organising Sound’: how a research network might help structure an exhibition, Science Museum Group Journal

Music, Noise and Silence: Defining Relationships between Science & Music in Modernity Aleks Kolkowski, James Mansell and John Kannenberg.



Nottingham Sensory Studies Network

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5757