Musarc: Field Studies

Recording sounds on the Thames

Field Studies is an ongoing summer-school programme led by acclaimed sound artists and composers. It explores the possibilities of engaging with places through listening, and working with recorded sound as a creative and practical tool in the context of architecture, the city and art practice.

Field Studies is organised by Musarc, a sound and architecture research platform at The Cass, London Metropolitan University, and led by Joseph Kohlmaier. Field Studies took place in 2010, 2011 and 2013. A new, reworked version of the course is in preparation or Easter 2014.

Outline and context

In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of galleries that exhibit sound-based art; books that engage with the phenomenon of sound and the listener; radio programmes and blogs; symposia, teaching programmes and festivals around the question of sound. New, ‘audial’ histories of modernity are being conceived and written. Yet ‘sound’ still very much occupies a place outside the mainstream; it still holds the promise of looking at culture in a different way, and new opportunities to engage with the environment specifically in the context of architecture and the city.

The word sound conjures up an immensely colourful, and sometimes contradictory spectrum of associations. We may think of birdsong and churchbells ringing out in the countryside; the birth of polyphonic music in medieval cathedrals; Tyndall’s lectures on sound in the mid 19c; the ghostly voices on Edison’s wax cylinders; the industrial noises celebrated by the futurists and abated by American city councils; Pierre Schaeffer’s musique concrète; Murray Schafer’s invention, and Tim Ingold’s critique of the soundscape; the acoustic telegraph, the personal stereo, the mobile phone.

When we speak about sound we may in turn refer to a phenomenon of human perception, the act of hearing, an aspect of the environment, or music. Sound is the subject of legislation and manifestos, and of philosophical debate: do we hear sounds or objects? Is sound like light or like colour? Is it an event or a property?


Recording sounds by the river

Field Studies: Lecture at The Cass

Sonographic maps made by students in Justin Bennet’s masterclass

Class conversations

Field Studies related content


Musarc is a research programme organised around a choir, lead by Joseph Kohlmaier.

Joseph Kohlmaier


MA Architectural History, Theory and Interpretation MA by Project: Course in Poetics

A sonic view for Architecture Choir

News, Exhibition

Musarc perform at Bold Tendencies in Peckham.

Gama radiate music


Exhibitions and performances by Cass MA by Project student Victor Gama were curated by Yinka Shonibare as part of the Deloitte Ignite Festival.

Performance as Composition

17th October, 6-9pm

Workshop using a computer-mediated performance strategy by sound performers (musicians and non-musicians)

Recent news from The Cass

The Cass helps to provide a blueprint for the future

The Cass architecture students showcase their work at Blueprint for the Future event

Cass graduate wins prestigious international Young Talent Architecture Award

Matthew Gregorowski named as one for four winners of Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA)

28 Brick Lane - Street art competition opens for student submissions

Entry deadline: Midnight on Monday 2 July 2018

Cass Projects and Tower Hamlets Council are delighted to announce the launch of a artwork competition.

Dulwich Pavilion Finalists

Designs by Cass Alumni Casswell Banks and Yinka Ilori make final of Dulwich Pavilion competition organized by the London Festival of Architecture.

Cass at the London Festival of Architecture 2018

The Cass to exhibit at Europe’s largest annual architecture festival.

City Bench Success

Cass architecture alumnus is one of ten winners in design competition from London Festival of Architecture

Aardman animator masters his art

Top animator Richard Haynes to exhibit postgraduate project exploring nostalgia at The Cass Summer Show

Cass celebrates as Art at London Met is ranked 4th in University league tables

Art courses at The Cass ranked fourth in The Guardian’s University League tables 2019.

London Met graduate releases debut novel

Cass alumna Laura Nunziante releases novel Salute!

Brady Clubs at The Loom

25 May- 5 July

A selection of photographs and memorabilia from the Brady Clubs Archive exhibited at Aldgate gallery

Peer-reviewing postgraduate research

Postgraduate students from across the University had the opportunity to present their research findings to students from other areas, promoting cross-collaboration and peer-review.

Public Practice

Cass Architecture Lecturer is selected for groundbreaking scheme pacing new generation of planners in local government

New Senior Appointments at the Cass: Peter St John and Dr Matthew Barac

The Cass is delighted to announce two high level appointments at the school: Peter St John as Professor of Architecture, and Dr Matthew Barac as Reader in Architecture.

Clerkenwell Design Week

Cass furniture students exhibiting their work at two events during celebrated annual design festival.

Cass Foundation course shows to open on 22 May

Senior lecturer Chi Roberts shares some exciting news about this year's Cass Foundation course shows.