The Citizen Soundscape is an immersive work of sound art created from contributions submitted by the general public, composed by sound artist Alex Chen. Its name is inspired by citizen science, a practice where the public collects and analyzes data about the natural world in collaboration with professional scientists.

The Citizen Soundscape is a celebration of listening, and you can find it below. Throughout the summer of 2022, the general public opened their ears, recorded interesting sounds they heard around them in the outdoors, and submitted them to this project. The Citizen Soundscape premiered at the Swan Lake Nature House on September 17, 2022. Visitors were encouraged to meander around the beautiful space while listening for the natural and anthropogenic sounds that flowed through the soundscape.

Now it’s your turn to take in what citizens from across BC, Canada, and as far abroad as the Czech Republic found captivating about their outdoor sonic world! As you listen, you may find moments where sounds are in consonance and others where they are in conflict. It is my hope that this may draw your
attention to our stewardship of the outdoors, both sonic and otherwise.

This project is part of BC Culture Days’ Earth Endeavours Ambassador Series. The series, featuring eight BC artists, seeks to connect people with their natural environments, art making, and to a healthier, brighter future world.

Happy listening!

Listen here

For the best experience, listen with stereo headphones or speakers. As you listen, be open to how the sounds affect you – perhaps they will surprise, concern, and delight. Click here to access written reflections on their sound submissions – you can use these written reflections to get a deeper feel for the parts of the soundscape.

Total length is 27:17. 

Composed by Alex Chen


Check out the BC Culture Days documentary 


Many thanks to Hildegard Westerkamp for her mentorship, support, and friendship over the course of this project.

Thank you to Swan Lake Nature House for providing a beautiful space to host the Citizen Soundscape and to Tom Lee Music, Pacific Opera Victoria, and Victoria Conservatory of Music for their generous support through the use of their speakers and audio equipment.

In the Soundscape, there is an excerpt of poetry written and read by Kate Braid (poet; Victoria, BC), recorded at Pacific Opera Victoria’s Voices in Nature event. Used with permission.

And thank you to everyone who contributed both far and near—the Citizen Soundscape would not have been possible without your contributions!

List of contributors:

Suzanne Ahearne (Victoria, BC)
Kyron Basu (Shawnigan Lake, BC)
Eva Bild & Randy Enkin (Victoria, BC)
Maureen Boileau (Victoria, BC)
Harrison Campbell (Victoria, BC)
Sarah Chandler (Lillooet, BC)
Carol Chiu (Vancouver, BC)
Hana Franková (South Bohemia, Czech Republic)
Margaret Lonsdale (North Saanich, BC)
Rebecca M. (Victoria, BC)
Kirsty MacDonald (Nanaimo, BC)
Scott Motley (Nanaimo, BC)
Jonathan Nash (Langford, BC)
Daniela O’Fee (Kamloops, BC)
Darren Patterson (Kootenay Mountains, BC)
Theresa Sciberras (Etobicoke, ON)
Leanne Vida (St. Catharines, ON)
Priscilla (Tsartlip First Nation)
Robin (Hawai’i, USA)
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