• Part 1: Resistance1:13
  • Part 2: Borders6:23
  • Part 3: Orientations13:58
  • Part 4: Refuge18:27

How does attention to sound and the sonic open up new ways of thinking about conviviality? This audio essay explores not only sounds of human connection, but also the complex background noise of state violence from which conviviality emerges against the odds. Weaving together voices and reflections with sounds gathered in public spaces, this essay is an invitation towards convivial listening (Shepherd, 2010), a practice that asserts that the voices to which we tune in and the directions in which we orient ourselves are significant—and often unexamined—choices. Tuning in to sonic contamination emerges here as a possible mode of resistance to the proliferation of borders and mechanisms of exclusion and containment that increasingly contour multicultural European cities.

The essay draws on the words, voices and ideas of Salomé Voegelin,[1] Masande Nshanga,[2] Brandon La Belle,[3] Luke de Noronha,[4] Arundhati Roy,[5] Li Wei,[6] Ivan Illich,[7] Tim Ingold,[8] Caitlin Shepherd[9] David Gramling[10] and Teta Diana.[11] Sonic textures of connection, multiculture, conflict and resistance also feature, gathered around Sweden and further afield, including soundscapes of local buses and gentrified spaces, protests, night life, the Swedish civil defence siren, and a ‘Fika Fusion’ concert at Malmö University[12].

Note: A phenomenon relevant to the theme of sonic conviviality is the growing usage of “undesirable” sounds as deterrents in urban public spaces and at national borders. There is no scope to discuss this here, but a forthcoming essay with Mediapolis Journal will take up this theme.


  1. Voegelin, Salomé. See Salomé’s contribution to this issue, and find out more about her work at https://www.salomevoegelin.net/ (accessed 2023-04-21).
  2. Ntshanga, Masande. See Masande’s contributions to this issue, and find out more about his work at https://www.pontas-agency.com/authors/masande-ntshanga-2/ (accessed 2023-04-21).
  3. LaBelle, Brandon. Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance. London: Goldsmiths Press. 2018.
  4. Noronha, L. de. “The conviviality of the overpoliced, detained and expelled: Refusing race and salvaging the human at the borders of Britain”. The Sociological Review. Vol. 70. No. 1. 2022. pp. 159–77. https://doi.org/10.1177/00380261211048888
  5. Roy, Arundhati. See her “Come September” speech from 2002 in full at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET7I9jvP4Ic (accessed 2023-04-21).
  6. Wei, Li. “Translanguaging as a Practical Theory of Language”. Applied Linguistics. Vol. 39. Issue 1. February 2018. pp. 9–30. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amx039.
  7. Illich, Ivan. See the interview “Un Certain Regard” from 1972 in full at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_ByKXCr9TA (accessed 2023-04-21).
  8. Ingold, Tim. See his talk “The Art of Paying Attention” from 2017 in full at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mytf4ZSqQs (accessed 2023-04-21).
  9. Shepherd, Caitlin. “Convivial Listening Protocol”. 2010. See https://caitlinshepherd.com/Convivial-Listening-Protocol (accessed 2023-04-21).
  10. Gramling, D. 2016. The Invention of Monolingualism. London: Bloomsbury Academic. https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/invention-of-monolingualism-9781501318047/ (accessed 2023-04-21)
  11. Birangwa, Teta Diana. See Teta’s contribution to this issue, and find out more about her work at https://www.tetadiana.com/welcome (accessed 2023-04-21).
  12. Fika Fusion was organised by Dr. Joshka Wessels, with guest musicians including Carolina Calderón, Buster Blaesild, Bader Debs and Yahia Najem. The event took place as part of Malmö University’s Kultursamverkan initiative. Find out more at https://mau.se/samverkan/samverkan-och-externa-relationer/plattformar-natverk-och-projekt/kultursamverkan/ (accessed 2023-04-21)