This video was part of the University of Limerick MA in Sociology – Critical Perspectives on Youth, Community and Social Regeneration Spring 2016 seminar series. It features Dr Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick) with the talk ‘Limerick Soundscapes and Critical Citizenship’. More videos from the seminar series can be viewed here.

LimerickSoundscapes is a sound-mapping project that seeks to critically engage citizens of a multi-cultural, socially and economically divided, post-industrial City of Limerick, in the Republic of Ireland. Facilitated by an interdisciplinary team located in the local university, citizens from all walks of life are encouraged to traverse the city, using hand-held recorders to capture a vast array of sounds which are subsequently uploaded onto an interactive website. Initially, the seminar will locate the project within the historical, geographical, and economic context of a city currently ‘undergoing’ a state- sponsored programme of urban regeneration. The project is also understood in terms of top-down and bottom-up cultural initiatives, particularly in relation to Limerick’s designation as National City of Culture, 2014.

As well as looking at how LimerickSoundscapes was conceived and realised through a pilot programme in 2013, through the activities and experiences of volunteer recordists, Aileen illustrates how soundscapes generation in Limerick is as much focussed on engagement and on building social relations as it is on producing a finished product that seeks to sonically and culturally represent the city. While clearly tied to Limerick City, Aileen argues that LimerickSoundscapes models a new approach not just to urban soundscape generation, but also to urban social regeneration that could be duplicated elsewhere. Such projects may have the capacity to promote real diversity and a critical and participatory citizenship, through shared, creative goals and a dialogic of doing.

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