New edition: ‘Acoustic Cities: London & Beirut’


In a city in which noise can often be all-encompassing, how can we find ways to listen to things that are hidden, stories that are unheard, and forms of life at risk of disappearing?

We are excited to launch a new Optophono edition which sounds out the spatial traces of memories, cultures, and bodies ingrained into the physical fabric of cities.

Acoustic Cities: London & Beirut is a collection of works by Joan Baz, John Bingham-Hall, Gerard Gormley, Nathalie Harb, Omaya Malaeb, Nadim Mishlawi, Merijn Royaards, Youmna Saba, Mhamad Safa, and Christabel Stirling.

Each of the works encodes a methodology for listening and making audible things that have otherwise been hidden or silent - whether through activating spaces acoustically, listening technologically beyond the surface of the daily lifeworld, asking for testimonies otherwise unspoken.

The works offer listeners ways of hearing the richness of their acoustic environments, and language to challenge its problems. In doing so they help to frame sound as a shared concern and a shared resource to design and to benefit from.


Please join us for launch events in Beirut and London:

• Thursday 25 April, 6 PM-9 PM, Sursock Museum, Beirut. Free entry. Following an immersive programme of works from the edition, Joan Baz, Merijn Royaards, Mhamad Safa, and Christabel Stirling will discuss their pieces.

• Wednesday 15 May, 5.30-7.30 PM, Bloomsbury Theatre, London. Free entry. BOOK HERE.

Refreshments will be served at these events. All are welcome.


Acoustic Cities: London & Beirut is a collaboration between Institute for Global Prosperity UCL, Recomposing the City, the RELIEF Centre, Theatrum Mundi, and Optophono.

It follows on from Recomposing the City and Theatrum Mundi’s 2017 exploratory workshop ‘Uban sound and the Politics of Memory’. It forms part of the RELIEF Centre’s Cultural Committee programme, which began work on sound in 2018 with ‘Beirut Soundscape’.