Kolkata Soundscapes


The project Soundscapes of Kolkata originally commenced as Hearing the City: Exploring Kolkata through the Narratives of Sound, an ‘Oral Narrative Project’ instituted under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Innovative Research Scheme, 2011 at Jadavpur University, Kolkata.  

The project involves an innovative approach in studying the cultural and historical forces that contribute towards the development of a city on the basis of sound. Unlike visual histories which attempt to map the character of a city by emphasizing the act of ‘seeing’, Soundscapes of Kolkata is a unique project aimed at hearing the city. Based on physically recording, documenting, archiving and analysing both mechanical and acoustic sound data, the project involves interacting both visually and verbally with citizens of varied backgrounds and from several walks of life, living and travelling in Kolkata.

From such interactions, city sounds, notwithstanding their ‘invisibility’ in people’s conscious thinking, can entice innumerable narratives of city lives. Sounds provoke memory, are instrumental towards the formation of individual identity, and may even affect the way in which one negotiates his or her belongingness or non-belongingness in the city space. There are various emotions that operate around and through sounds – those of nostalgia, grief, loathing, anger and euphoria to name just a few.

The present webpage is an attempt to capture these emotions, histories and narratives, in a digital networking medium. It is an attempt not only to archive the sounds that define a city along with individual narratives in multimedia formats, but also to create a space where we may share our experiences and works with others in mutually reciprocal ways.

We welcome and accommodate contributions from all who wish to listen to this city attentively and arrest its sounds and stories in deliverable media.

Ours is a collaborative and cumulative project which is supported by the UGC under University with Potential for Excellence Scheme (UPE Phase I & II), 2012-2016.