Kolkata Soundscapes

Seminars and Workshops

Soundscapes and the City (20 February, 2015)



The second national workshop of Kolkata Soundscapes, titled, ‘Soundscapes and City’ was hosted at the Vivekananda Hall, Jadavpur University on 20 February, 2016. Attended by several members of the student fraternity and an audience comprising of teachers, scholars and general public members, the workshop involved discussing several critical aspects of cultural documentation and sound archiving. The main speakers were Prof. Amlan Das Gupta, Smt. Shubhasree Bhattacharya and Prof. Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay. 


Soundscapes and City (National Workshop)


A national workshop on Soundscapes and their relation to the city was organised in February 2015, and was attended my several members of the academic community and the general public. Intended to be an introduction to the act of recording sounds and archiving the various sonic cultures in the city, the program was graced by three eminent personalities who have separately delved into the domain of sound recording and archiving. 


The opening talk on the history of recorded sound in Calcutta was given by Prof. Amlan Das Gupta, Director of the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University. Professor Das Gupta spoke on the importance of accessing early archival recordings to understand the nature of which existed in the early twentieth century. He also spoke of the importance of early recording technology in shaping how we understand the relationship between the artist and his final com-modified product, that of his voice. 


Shubasree Bhattacharya, of the University of Delhi, spoke of her engagement with the Oral Histories Project at Jadavpur, and the challenges of recording traditions that exist purely in the domain of oral traditions. He discussion hinged on issues of ownership of sounds, copyright, and unique cultural practices that continue to define the present domain of Bengali life. 



Professor Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, of the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, spoke on the topic of ‘Ei Shohor: Dhvani Taranga’ emphasizing how sounds are intricately connected to, and form an integral part of defining the identity of the modern city. 


The workshop came to a close with a music recital. Pramantha Mohun Tagore, a postgraduate student played the Sarode, and was accompanied on the Tabla by Shri Pralay Banerjee. 




Website Launch


The project webpage, was formally launched on 7th February, 2014. The eminent film maker Kumar Shahani graced the occasion with a keynote address, and spoke of the importance of sound and sound cultures in today’s society. 


The event was attended by several members of the academic community, and the general public. A special call for public contributions towards enhancing the sound archives of the project was initiated, and the features of the project were explained by those who participated in recording the sonic environment of the city and its surroundings. 


Members of the audience posed several questions about the idea of visualising a city by hearing it, and the challenges posed in analysing a city on the basis of its inherent sounds.