Secondary Schools’ Soundscape Competition 2021 Winning Entry
2020 was the International Year of Sound (IYS). Because of the pandemic, the organisers extended the IYS to 2021. The aims of the IYS are to highlight the importance of sound in all aspects of life on earth so that there is a greater understanding of sound-related issues at the national and international level.
The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) is the UK’s professional body for those working in the fields of sound, acoustics, noise and vibration. We decided to support the IYS by aiming to introduce young people to our wonderful profession, to go alongside the IOA’s extensive STEM activities.
We devised our Schools’ Competition to encourage students to listen more carefully to the sound environment. We asked small teams of secondary school students to produce a map of their local area, indicating the different sounds that can be heard at different places. This competition provided a fantastic introduction to soundscapes, which are the sounds we hear around us. Soundscapes can be formed from natural sounds (such as a rushing stream or wildlife), sounds made by us (such as talking, playing music or driving cars) or a combination of both.
Entries were received from around the country, and, after careful consideration by the judges, Luke Bartram, William Clarke and Dominic Winton from the St Oscar Romero Catholic School, Goring by Sea, Worthing, Sussex were awarded the prize for best submission.
Their interactive entry was innovative, yet simple to follow, with great descriptions of the sounds the students encountered. They created a well-thought-out route starting at their school and then moving through their locality and included many different sources of sound. The students seemed to be clearly inspired by the competition, demonstrating the emotion involved with soundscapes and not just the sound levels heard.
The winning entry received a prize of £500 plus a trophy, which was awarded to them by the President of the Institute of Acoustics at the annual Noise Abatement Society’s John Connell awards held at the Palace of Westminster on 20th October 2021.