About Us

The Sound Studies Initiative (SSI) at the University of Alberta provides scholars and students interested in sound studies research opportunities to engage collaboratively across disciplines, to discover new areas of convergent enquiry, and to benefit from collective administrative support for their research and teaching. SSI provides a philosophical and physical locus for collaboration and innovative work, assisting UAlberta scholars in their groundbreaking research and teaching in sound-related studies.

Our approach to sound studies is as a broad, transdisciplinary and creative pursuit rooted in the exploration of hearing, vocalization, communication, cognition, sensory studies, acoustics, psychoacoustics, media, natural environments, and information and computing sciences. Linking faculty and graduate students from disciplines in computing science, education, engineering, fine and performing arts, humanities, native studies, rehabilitation medicine, science, and social sciences, research undertaken under the SSI umbrella intersects with broad and urgent social, scientific, and artistic inquiry in our contemporary world.

Our Place

The Sound Studies Initiative is located in the University of Alberta’s Old Arts Building near the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River in the heart of Treaty Six territory. Treaty Six is the framework that establishes the terms for sharing this place now, the agreement that locates both traditional and new cultural practices here. We are grateful also to be in the traditional territory of the Papaschase Cree First Nation, where Métis and other First Nations have sojourned and found welcome.

The cultural roots of these communities are deep, growing over thousands of years as successive newcomers to this area shared their cultural traditions. This location has particular resonance for sound studies researchers as they seek to create new forms of sonic expression and explore innovative approaches to historical and contemporary sonic environments.