Sound, Language & The Making of Urban Space

The conference centered on the city, the metropolis, and sound and language as key elements in the production of urban spaces and communities. At the conference scholars from a wide range of fields including history, musicology, art, and cinematography explored how sonic and linguistic approaches to urban communities, lifestyles and practices could enrich one another. The programme, participant bios, abstracts and conference proceedings can be explored via the links below.

CPF Sound City 2023

Download abstracts as pdf file

Over the last three decades, sound and aural history studies has explored aspect of urban history at the intersection of music, the body, technology, medicine, disability, the environment, and everyday life. From the late Raymond Murray Schafer’s pioneering studies of the urban soundscape via Bruce Smith’s concept of “acoustic communities”, Karin Bijsterveld’s and Peter Payer’s explorations into the conceptualization and abatement of urban noise to Emily Thompson’s study of architectural acoustics scholars has also continuously expanded the methodologies and terminologies of sound studies. Lately, new approaches focusing on social engineering, the sonic personae, auditory cultures, and sonic effects in the production of urban space have appeared and further increased our knowledge and curiosity about the interrelationship between sound and the city.

Although rarely treated in the context of historical sound studies, the diversity of languages forms a central part of urban soundscapes. Conversations, shouts and singing, in the marketplaces, busses, schoolyards etc. work as semiotic elements in human constructions of and navigation in urban spaces. The study of dialects also seems to have circled back to the city, investigating and rediscovering how urban communities are both shaped by and shaping linguistic development on the national level and beyond.

This conference aims to break new ground by merging studies of linguistic, aural and sonic elements of the metropolis.

Participation is free for speakers.

Participation for non-speakers is free, but booking is necessary.

To sign up: Write an email to conference secretary Alberte Reinhardt Nielsen at

For other inquiries regarding the conference contact the conference organizers at 

The conference is funded by the Velux Foundations and organized in a collaboration between the Museum of Copenhagen, The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (UCPH), Moesgaard Museum and the National Museum of Denmark.



Sophia Rosenfeld is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania with a special interest in European intellectual and cultural history with a special emphasis on the Enlightenment, the trans-Atlantic Age of Revolutions, and the legacy of the eighteenth century for modern democracy.  Among her most important publications are A Revolution in Language: The Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001); Common Sense: A Political History (Harvard, 2011), and Democracy and Truth: A Short History (Penn Press, 2019). Currently she is co-editing the 6-volume series, A Cultural History of Ideas, out this fall (2022). Among her other interests are the history of the emotions and the senses; the history of free speech, dissent, and censorship; the history of aesthetics, including dance; the history of political language; contemporary political theory and feminist theory; the history of epistemology; the history of information and misinformation; and experimental historical methods. Rosenfeld has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, the Mellon Foundation, both the Remarque Institute and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, and the American Council of Learned Societies, as well as visiting professorships at the University of Virginia School of Law and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

David Garrioch is professor emeritus at Monash University and has published extensively on Early Modern Urban History with a particular interest in Eighteenth Century Paris, including the award-winning The Making of Revolutionary Paris from 2003 and the seminal work Neighbourhood and Community in Paris 1740-1790 from 1986. His most recent book is The Huguenots of Paris and the coming of Religious Freedom (Cambridge UP, 2014). Currently he is working on several projects, including a fire history of European cities from the 16th to the 19th century, a history of religious confraternities in eighteenth-century Paris, a collaborative book on women's letter-writing in Early Modern Europe, and a study of artisan mobility in eighteenth-century Paris. Visiting Fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 2003 and early 2008. Visiting Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyons, 2005. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, served on the Executive of the Australian Historical Association, the Editorial Boards of H-France, French Historical Studies, Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine and Parergon

Karin Bijsterveld is professor of Science, Technology & Modern Culture at Maastricht University. She has published extensively on the history of sound. Among her key publications are Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture and Public Problems of Noise in the Twentieth Century (2008), Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices (co-edited with José van Dijck, 2009), The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (co-edited with Trevor Pinch, 2012) and Sound and Safe: A History of Listening behind the Wheel (with Eefje Cleophas, Stefan Krebs and Gijs Mom, 2014). She has edited Soundscapes of the Urban Past: Staged Sound as Mediated Cultural Heritage (2013) and a special issue on Auditory History for The Public Historian (2015). In 2019, she published a synthesizing, open access publication about the history of listening in the sciences: Sonic Skills: Listening for Knowledge in Science, Medicine and Engineering (1920s-present).[1] Bijsterveld is founding member of the European Sound Studies Association, and member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her most recent publications are an article on speaker identification at the Stasi (Isis, 2021), and the open access volume Interdisciplinarity in the Scholarly Life Cycle (with Aagje Swinnen, Palgrave 2023).[2]

Other speakers:

Rana Munteha Aldemir is MA student at Central European University, Department of Comparative History. She received a bachelor’s degree in history and a double major in psychology from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her upcoming thesis The Emotional Experience of the Tombstones in Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Istanbul springs from her interest in the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire and emotional history, particularly the history of negative emotions such as grief and mourning as well as soundscapes of Ottoman cities.

Vivi Lena Andersen is Head of Exhibitions & Public Outreach at the Museum of Copenhagen and PhD in Archaeology and the history of shoes. Curator and project manager of the new Museum of Copenhagen, author of Kampen om Byen 1200-1550 and principal investigator of the network project Poverty and Plenty in the North. Later historical archaeologies of material excess and scarcity in Scandinavia and the North Atlantic 2022-2023.

Jeppe Hauge Bæk is MA in history from Aalborg University, specialising in cultural heritage. As a part of his degree, he spent the fall semester of 2022 at Museum Mors in charge of integrating sound as a new layer of experience and information at Støberimuseet (The Foundry Museum), part of Museum Mors. The museum tells the story of Morsø Jernstøberi from 1853 to the present.

Salih Demirtaş is a research associate at the Orient-Institute Istanbul, Istanbul Technical University project since September 2019. He is a PhD candidate in Musicology and Music Theory program at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), and studies on auditory history of Istanbul (1623-1774) grounded on acoustemological and multisensorial approaches. He received his MA degree in Ethnomusicology from the Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) at ITU in 2019 with the thesis “Critical Edition of Hampartsum Manuscript YZPER2 in the Private Archive of Ali Rifat Çağatay”. He is an editor in the Turkish Music Academic Circle (TUMAC) and researcher at ITU Ottoman-Turkish Music Research Group (OTMAG)

Federico Dinis is a lecturer and practitioner-researcher at the interface between contemporary artistic practices of performativity and new media technologies. His work extends to performance, installation, soundscapes, video and site-specific. PhD in Art Studies-Arts/Drama and Performance Studies (University of Coimbra). Researcher at CEIS20-Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (University of Coimbra) and Affiliated Scholar at SELMA-Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory (University of Turku). Author of the book “Notebook of memory representations” (2022).

Annabel Frearson is an artist based at Cubitt studios in London, and Associate Professor in Art at University of Reading School of Art. She has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and has exhibited, published, and performed works in the UK and abroad, including 'Wollstonochlincraft 1791-1971', 'Sic', 'BaudriR', ‘Bad Brain Call’ and 'Last Tango Inception'. In these projects, Frearson rearranges existing cultural objects into new relationships through a promiscuous approach to material and form.

Jonas Fritsch, PhD, Associate Professor in Interaction Design at the IT University of Copenhagen, Department of Digital Design. Head of the Affective Interaction & Relations (AIR) Lab and partner in the SonicTraces project in Elsinore. His work revolves around interaction design, experience philosophy and affect theory based on design experiments with interactive sound and physical interfaces.

Dr Kelli Fuery is Associate Professor of Film and Media at Chapman University, California. She is the author of five books, including most recently Ambiguous Cinema: From Simone de Beauvoir to Feminist Film Phenomenology. She previously held positions at Birkbeck College, University of London and Monash University (Melbourne). She is currently working on a book on the relationship between film and phenomenology.

Dr Patrick Fuery is Professor and Director for the Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries, Chapman University, California. He previously held professorial positions in film, philosophy, and cultural theory at the University of London and Sussex University. He is the author of nine books, most recently Intimacy and the Anxieties of Cinematic Flesh: Between Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis (Bloomsbury 2023). He is currently working on a book on the phenomenology of dreams.

Silke Holmqvist is PhD from Aarhus University in 2022 with the dissertation The figure of the guest worker – Emotions, places and images of immigration in Denmark c. 1960-1989. Her current research concerns the intersections of emotions, spaces and music.

Ofer Idels is a scholar of modern Jewish history and an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. His research focuses on issues of language, body, space, emotions and the senses. His research has been supported by the, the Leo Baeck Institute London, Tel-Aviv University’s School of History, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence. He presented at various international conferences and published in journals such as Monatshefte, Journal of Sport History and Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

Christine Jeanneret is a musicologist, specializing in early modern music, historical sound studies, gender studies, cultural exchanges, and music performance. She is Associate Professor at the Centre for Privacy Studies at the University of Copenhagen and currently PI of SOUND, an innovative research project aiming at listening, hearing, and reconstructing the soundscapes of the Danish court. Awarded Queen Margrethe II’s Rome Prize in 2017 for outstanding research. She regularly works with early music performers and museums to make her research available to a wide audience in the unique forms of performance and exhibitions.

Stina Hasse Jørgensen, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Digital Design Department at the IT University of Copenhagen and partner in the SonicTraces project in Elsinore. Stina works with sonic interaction design, digital experience and aesthetics and is currently researching smart speakers and novel vocal imaginaries.

Matthew Kerry is Zeitlyn Fellow and Associate Professor of Modern European History at Jesus College, University of Oxford. He holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield and has enjoyed research fellowships in Granada, Bochum and Toronto. His previous research on 1930s Spain resulted in Unite, Proletarian Brothers! Radicalism and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic, 1931-6 (University of London Press, 2020) as well as articles in journals that include the English Historical Review and European History Quarterly. He is now working on the relationship between sound and mass politics in early twentieth-century Spain.

Ulrik Langen is a Professor of 18th-century Cultural History at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen. He has published several books and articles on Eighteenth-Century Urban History. He is currently PI of the research project “Copenhagen Complains”:

Palle Schantz Lauridsen is an Associate Professor at the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen. His current research centers on early Danish television from industrial, political, cultural, and everyday perspectives. He gained his Danish higher doctoral degree (dr.phil) in 2020 for a dissertation on Sherlock Holmes in Danish Media Cultures. As part of the project called Urbanity & Aesthetics at the UCPH (1995-1998), he edited the anthologies Filmbyer (“Cinematic Cities”) and Byens konkyliesang (on cities and soundscapes).

Ragnhild May is an artist scholar with a MFA in Music/Sound from Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and a Post-MFA in Sound Art from Royal Institute of Arts Stockholm. She is currently completing her PhD-fellowship at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. With this background in visual arts and music, she combines a sculptural practice with performance and sound art.

Morten Michelsen is a Professor of Musicology at Aarhus University. Specializing in popular music, he has led several research projects on music culture and music history and has published widely within these fields.

Bertel Nygaard is an Associate Professor of Modern History at Aarhus University. He has studied multiple questions of social structure, change, practices, and experiences in the modern world, most recently with an emphasis on popular music.

Jakob Ingemann Parby is Senior Researcher at the Museum of Copenhagen. His research interest includes urban migration and identity, sound studies, memory studies and urban planning. He has also worked extensively with curatorial practices in migration and city museums.  As principal investigator in Lyden af Hovedstaden/Sounds of the Capital his upcoming book The Sonic Revolution of 19th Century Copenhagen (in Danish) will be published at GADs Forlag in 2024.

Pia Quist is professor in sociolinguistics and dialectology at University of Copenhagen. Her research interests include language in the city, multilingualism, social and geographic mobility. She is the principal investigator in the project Speaking Up – language as a factor for social mobility in Denmark, and local work package leader in the project Sounds of Copenhagen.

Kristoffer Raasted is a practice-based artistic researcher with an MFA and a supplementary MA in Art Theory from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he is currently enrolled as a PhD-student. May and Raasted have collaborated on various artistic works, including the LPs Vandtrapper (2021), Institutional Critique for Kindergarten (2023) and Harmoniske Øvelser (2017).

Maria Gabriella Tigani Sava is a PhD (University of Malta and Padua), specialising in cultural history, history of the emotions and Mediterranean studies. She published her first monograph Risorgimento: l'io romantico in azione. Emozioni, cultura europea e identità nazionale nel byronismo italiano (Rubbettino, 2017), highlighting the influence of Lord Byron on the cultural formation of Italian patriots and their political and civic commitment, also identifying the ideal school of Byronism in the Greek-Albanian college of San Demetrio Corone (Calabria Citeriore).

Member of the International Association of Byron Societies (IABS), the Royal Historical Society (RHS), the Association for Modern Italian Study (ASMI) and the Society for the History of Emotions (SHE).

Jayeeta (Jo) Sharma is an associate professor at the University of Toronto and part of the Culinaria Research Centre. She is co-editor of Culinaria Series, Global Food History, editor of the Empires in Perspective Series from Routledge and project leader of Toward Food Sovereignty. Her book Empires Garden led her to work with the similarities and shifts in street cries past and present.

Line Brun Stallknecht, curator at the Elsinore City Museum and responsible for the SonicTraces project. A part of the museum’s Vision 2026 is the dissemination of site-specific stories of cultural heritage in the historic city center of Elsinor. For instance, we investigate how significant sounds and smells can convey stories about specific places in the city using affective and interactive methods. The insights from SonicTraces guides our next dissemination tryouts in public space.  

Linda Sturtz is a Professor of History and the Former Chair of the History Department at Macalester College in Minnesota, USA.  She has published Within Her Power: Propertied Women in Colonial Virginia and articles on early modern Jamaica. Sturtz collaborated with members of the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica (ACIJ)/Jamaica Memory Bank in Kingston to curate a public exhibition entitled: None So Fine: The Jamaica Set Girls in History at the ACIJ from December 2022 to August 31, 2023. 

Mikkel Thelle is a Senior Researcher at the National Museum of Denmark and Guest Professor at Malmø University. He is principal investigator in the research projects Entangled Fluidities and Mapping the Welfare City and has published extensively on many aspects of urban history in the 19th and 20th century.  

Anette Vandsø is an Associate Professor in Aesthetics and Culture and Head of Center for Sound Studies at Aarhus Universitet. She did her phD on John Cage’s 4’33’’ and has since worked with Sound Studies and Environmental Humanities.  

Vitus Vestergaard is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.
A trained Sound Designer as well as a former organist, Vitus is interested in most aspects related to sound and music. Alongside his academic work, he has been involved in the exhibition and dissemination of media history and has co-developed eleven exhibitions in museums and open-air spaces. His research and tuition centers on media production, media theory and other media-related topics.

About Sounds of the Capital

Sounds of the Capital is a collaborative research project involving researchers from Museum of Copenhagen, Moesgaard Museum, The National Museum and the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen.  The project has been made possible by a generous grant from The Velux Foundations.






August 24th (Thursday)

9.00-9.30 Room 4a.1.68: Welcome and introductory remarks

Pia Quist (Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen) and Jakob Ingemann Parby (Museum of Copenhagen)

9.30-11.00 Room 4a.1.68: The Cinematic City and beyond

Choric Sounds: The Intervention of Women’s Soundscapes in the City and Cinema,
Kelly Fuery, (Film and Media, Chapman University)

Reel Cities – Urban Cinematic Soundscapes
Palle Schantz Lauridsen (Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen)

City Foods & Sounds of Streets Vending
Jayeeta (Jo) Sharma (Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto)

Chair: Jakob Ingemann Parby

9.30-11.00 Room 4a.1.60: Musicking the City: Popular Music and the Spatio-rhythms of Aarhus, 1960s-1980s

Boom! - Urban Sounds and Bodies in the Dance Venue
Silke Holmqvist (Danish National Archives)

Punk Rock Roulade in Husets Musikteater – a Hub of Counter-culture 1981
Bertel Nygaard (Modern History, University of Aarhus)

The Music Festival as a temporary Space
Morten Michelsen (Modern History, University of Aarhus)

Chair: Mikkel Thelle

11.00-11.30: coffee break

11.30-13.00 Room 4.1.68: On Being Heard 2.0 – The Historical Ear Revisited

Keynote by Sophia Rosenfeld (Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and Chair, Department of History,
University of Pennsylvania)

13.00-14.30: Lunch

14.30-16.00 Room 4a.1.68: Medialised Sounds

Soundboks and the City: The Impact of Mobile High-Performance Speakers on Urban Soundscape
Vitus Vestergaard (Department of Media, Design, Education and Cognition, University of Southern Denmark)

Connecting the Past and the Present through Sound
Line Brun Stallknecht (Museum of Helsinore), Jonas Fritsch and Stine Hasse Jørgensen (both IT University of Copenhagen)

Experienced Past Soundscapes of Industrial Noise: Cultural heritage?
Jeppe Hauge Bæk (University of Aalborg)

Chair: Vivi Lena Andersen

14.30-16.00 Room 4a.1.60: Sonic identities

"Louder and More Discordant than Ever”: Afro-Jamaican Women and the Temporalities of Soundscapes
Linda Sturtz (Dep. of History, Macalester College)

Sound and the Hebrew Experience of Language in Interwar Tel-Aviv
Ofer Idels (Post.doc., Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)

Sound Reenactment Practices: the “City-Factory” of Covilhã
Frederico Dinis (CEIS20-Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Coimbra)

Chair: Pia Quist

16.00: Coffee break

16.30-17.30 Room 4a.1.68: Stolen Silence: Listening to the History of Quiet Spaces in Urban and Rural Environments

Keynote by Karin Bijsterveld (professor in Science, Technology & Modern Culture at Maastricht University) (online)

18.30-21.00: Conference Reception at Museum of Copenhagen, Stormgade 18 

August 25th (Friday)

9.00-10.30 Room 4a.1.68: Shouting the City

Subversive Shouting, State Listening and Mass Politics in Restoration Spain
Matthew Kerry (Modern European History, Jesus College, University of Oxford):

Vox Populi: the Soundscape of a Revolution (Palermo 1848)
Gabriella Tigani Sava (University of Malta)

Noise, Yelling and Dialects: Sonic Territories in two Copenhagen Market Places
Pia Quist (Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen)
Mikkel Thelle (National Museum of Denmark)

Chair: Jayeeta Sharma (Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto)

9.00-10.30 Room 4a.1.60: Sonic materialities

The Sound Tapestry of Water Fountains – Intimacy in Public Space in Renaissance Rome
Ragnhild May og Kristoffer Raasted (PhD-fellows at the The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, University of Copenhagen)

Underneath it All: Uncanny Sounds, the Materiality of the City through the Ear of the Other
Patrick Fuery (Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries, Chapman University)

Stepping through Time in Nørregade – a Sonic Experiment
Vivi Lena Andersen (Museum of Copenhagen)

Chair: Ulrik Langen (The Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)

10.30-11.00: Coffee Break

11.00-12.30 Room 4.1.68: What is Urban about Early Modern Urban Sound?

Keynote by David Garrioch (professor emeritus, Monash University)

12.30-14.00: Lunch

14.00-15.30 Room 4a.1.68: Sonic works and theories

John Cage’s 4’33’’ reread as Sonic Citizenship
Anette Vandsø (Center of Sound Studies, Aarhus University)

Infomanticism: Rethinking the Romantic Subject through situated Sound Works
Annabel Frearson (Cubitt studios/ University of Reading School of Art)

Azan as an Urban Soundscape Experience in the Ottoman Empire of the Seventeenth Century
Rana Aldemir (Central European University, Department of Comparative History)

Chair: Kelli Fuery

14.00-15.30 Room 4a.1.60: Early modern soundscapes

“These ugly Shouters” – Street Ballads and Soundscape Experiences in 18th Century Copenhagen
Ulrik Langen (The Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)

Hearing Sonic Memories of Evliyâ Çelebi: Ottoman Guilds of 17th Century Istanbul
Salih Dermitaş (Orient-Institute Istanbul, Istanbul Technical University)

Sound, Noise, and Language in the Early Modern Urban Space - Exploring the Soundscapes of Rosenborg Castle
Christine Jeanneret (Musicology, Centre for Privacy Studies, University of Copenhagen)

Chair: Kasper H. Andersen

15.30-16.00: Coffee Break

16.00-17.00 Room 4.1.68: The Sonic Revolution of 19th Century Copenhagen

Jakob Ingemann Parby (senior researcher and PI Sound of the Capital, Museum of Copenhagen)

17.00-18.00: Roundtable – How does Sound and Language produce the Urban Space?

Sophia Rosenfeld, David Garrioch, Pia Quist, Mikkel Thelle og Jakob Ingemann Parby
Moderator: Christine Jeanneret

19.00-22.00: Conference dinner

The Museum of Copenhagen, The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics (UCPH), Moesgaard Museum and the National Museum of Denmark.

The conference is held as part of the research project Sound of Copenhagen, funded by The Velux Foundations.



The conference is organized by Sounds of the Capital, a collaborative research and dissemination project investigating the sonic history of Copenhagen.

  • Jakob Ingemann Parby, senior curator, Museum of Copenhagen (PI)
  • Pia Quist, professor, Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen
  • Bjarne Simmelkjær Hansen, Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen
  • Kasper H. Andersen, Team leader of History, Moesgaard Museum
  • Mikkel Thelle, senior researcher, The National Museum of Denmark
  • Vivi Lena Andersen, head of public outreach, Museum of Copenhagen
  • Regitze Lindø Vestergaard, curator, Museum of Copenhagen

The project has been made possible by a generous grant from the Velux Foundations.