Voice: Sonic geographies of childhood

2016-12-15T13:29:31Z (GMT) by Sarah Mills
This paper uses the sonic geographies of childhood as an entry point into long-standing and important debates in the sub-discipline on ‘voice’. The paper uniquely explores children’s voices from the past through considering a different type of research material – archival audio recordings. It argues that literally listening to past children’s voices (and noises, sounds and silences) can offer fresh insights into the concept of voice that tends to be associated with contemporary contexts. Drawing on archival encounters with ‘second hand’ field recordings of children across different schools and playgrounds in London in the 1960s, this paper engages and extends wider theoretical debates about childhood, voice and memory. The paper calls for more attention to the unique characteristics of sound and wider soundscapes of childhood. The paper critically reflects on the possibilities and tensions associated with such work.