Science and Heritage Programme

I-HE(AR)^2 [I Hear Too] - Improving Heritage Experience through Acoustic Reality and Audio Research

Department of Electronics, University of York

Principal Investigator - Dr Damian Murphy (University of York)
Co Investigator - Jude Brereton (University of York)


I Hear 2

How can audio and acoustics research be employed in the interpretation, understanding and representation of heritage materials and artifacts? How might such audio materials be better preserved for future generations of researchers and heritage visitors?  I-HE(AR)^2-Live, a programme of sound works, installations, demos and audio interactives to be held in and around York Minster in October 2009 will showcase these aspects of science/heritage research and set a benchmark for future work.  I-HE(AR)^2-Live is the culmination of the I-HE(AR)^2 research cluster's series of workshops, highlighting the potential for audio/acoustic research and technology as a core component of the heritage experience.  It will be of interest to researchers, practitioners, heritage stakeholders, and potential industry partners from across the UK and internationally, with significant additional public interest due to the nature of and interest in the chosen venue ensuring the dissemination of the work of this cluster across the widest possible audience.

Sound is often considered the poor relation of visual stimuli, yet plays a significant role in conveying information for rapid assimilation by a listener, and is a key component in the multi-modal perception of virtual/augmented reality applications.  The remit of I-HE(AR)^2 encompasses the understanding and preservation of heritage through the consideration of sound objects (recordings, sound archives, music, instruments), the built environment (architectural acoustics, archaeological acoustics, auralization), sites and landscapes (sound in context).  All of these elements are subject to change over time and so their audio/acoustic preservation is just as important for understanding of the past by future generations as any of their other material aspects or properties.

I Hear 2 audience member

There are key research issues in this area that will be discussed as part of I-HE(AR)^2's activities, including the use of sound recordings and archives in heritage preservation, their restoration, organisation and access together with what to record now for future preservation; virtual acoustic reality and immersive sound as a means to preserve and render sounds and environments in new forms; the role of sound, sound-art and archival recordings as a means to access, enhance understanding, or experience the diversity of heritage; the importance of formalising acoustics research in heritage together with its proper contextualisation; the use of soundscape for conveying information to a listener or wider audience.  To further support and disseminate the work of the cluster, downloadable podcasts will be made available as outputs from our workshops, thereby helping to provide our own preserved archive of activities.

Through this programme of work, I-HE(AR)^2 will facilitate a step-change in how audio is used for preserving, experiencing and researching heritage, and by the end of the project will have brought together communities to form a newly focused stream of multi-disciplinary research.


I Hear 2 poster
Sound and the Heritage Experience

National Railway Museum, York
Monday April 20th 2009

Link to workshop summary

Sound as a Heritage Object

British Library Sound Archive, London
Monday May 18th 2009

Link to workshop summary

Virtual/Augmented Acoustic Auralization

Arup/DDS SoundLab, Glasgow
Wednesday November 25th 2009

Link to the workshop summary

I Hear Too - Live

York Minster, York
Wednesday 7th Oct 2009

Link to event details

Hearing the Past

Listen to Damian Murphy discussing his research on the BBC Radio 4 Programme Hearing the Past


Send an email to Dr Damian Murphy
I Hear Too project blogspot
About Dr Damian Murphy
About Jude Brereton

I Hear Too's Flickr photostream

I Hear 2 project team

The I Hear Too Live Project Team: Ben Pugh (Tribeca), Production Manager, Jude Brereton (I Hear Too CoI), Damian Murphy (I Hear Too PI). Image (c) KIPPA MATTHEWS 2009 

Audience members at a performance of Chapter House Semantic Cloud by Louise K Wilson,during the I Hear Too Research Cluster Live event at York Minster. Image (c) Kippa Matthews 2009

Audience members at a performance of Chapter House Semantic Cloud by Louise K Wilson,during the I Hear Too Research Cluster Live event at York Minster. Image (c) Kippa Matthews 2009