Lecture Series


The SSI lecture series occurs twice a month on Wednesdays between 7 and 8 PM, and include diverse topics related to sound research, scholarship, and artistic explorations with sound

In the 2022-2023 year, we are returning to in-person events! Join us at the Sound Studies Institute, Room 3-47 in the Old Arts & Convocation Hall building. Click here for directions.

For those who cannot attend in-person, we are continuing to livestream our events online. Please visit the livestream page for more information!

We may add special events throughout the year. Please check back often! ==

Want to check out a previous lecture?
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Lecture Series 2022-23


Wednesday September 14, 2022 7:00 PM MST

From the Voices of Children

with Dr. Ardelle Ries, Augustana Campus,

with Stephanie Schuurman-Olson, Natalie Minczuk-Prando, Melissa Hiebert, and Anna Wiebe.

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

A world without singing? Before March 2020, this idea was unimaginable. Considered to be one of the greatest global public health crises in over a generation, responses to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic placed musical activities on amateur and professional levels at risk. Have pandemic responses also impacted the desire for the next generation to freely engage in singing? Over the next two years, the From the Voices of Children (FVC) research team will assess the attitudes that children hold toward singing in a pandemic weary world. Come hear about our research and the prospects for the voices of the future!

An Associate Professor at the University of Alberta (UofA) Augustana Faculty, Ardelle Ries was raised in rural Central Alberta, inspired by the prairie landscape and surrounded by poetry, music, and visual art. With a passion for singing, musical inclusion, and multigenerational music education, Ardelle teaches courses in accessibility arts, musicianship, music education, pediatric vocal pedagogy, and music & wellness.

Stephanie Schuurman-Olson is a doctoral student (Education), PreK-6 music teacher, and undergraduate music instructor in rural Central Alberta. Her research interests include improvisational singing with children, ecoliterate music pedagogies, and soundscape research-creation with young children.

Natalie Minczuk-Prando grew up in the world of music, where she discovered her passion for singing and music education. She is a Master student in choral conducting at University of Alberta, instructor of aural skills, choral assistant at Vocal Alchemy, and has been a voice, cello and piano teacher for the past 10 years.

Melissa Hiebert is a fourth-year music major attending Augustana. Piano is her primary instrument, but she also takes voice lessons, sings in The Augustana Choir, tutors theory and aural skills, and occasionally tries her hand at conducting.

Anna Wiebe is a fourth year Environmental Studies major at Augustana campus. While not her area of study, Anna has a passion for both music and child development, which she explores through singing in choirs, playing the cello and several years working as an early childhood educator.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 7:00 PM MST

Untamed Melodies: Songwriting, Conservation, and the Music of Alberta Birds

with Mallory Chipman, MacEwan University

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

Join musician and researcher, Mallory Chipman (MMus, she/they), as she shares her recent observations and compositions formed at the intersection of zoomusicology and songwriting. In 2021, Chipman spent weeks and hundreds of kilometers traveling throughout Alberta, capturing field recordings of at-risk or endangered bird songs. With these recordings, she composed a new body of musical work, entitled Untamed Melodies.

Mallory Chipman is an award-winning singer, songwriter, arranger, and producer from Treaty Six Territory in Canada. Mallory Chipman’s performance career is balanced by her work as a songwriter, arranger, producer, and music educator. She is on faculty at MacEwan University where she teaches voice and songwriting.


Thursday, September 29, 2022, 5:30 – 6:30 PM MST

Special event co-presented with the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology

Listening to the Fur Trade: A New History of its Music, Dances, and Ceremonies

with Dr. Daniel Laxter

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

Listening to the Fur Trade uses the written record, oral history, and material culture to reveal histories of sound and music in an era before sound recording. The trading post was a noisy nexus, populated by a polyglot crowd of highly mobile people from different national, linguistic, religious, cultural, and class backgrounds. They found ways to interact every time they met, and facilitating material interests and survival went beyond the simple exchange of goods. Listening to the Fur Trade uncovers the songs and ceremonies of First Nations people, the paddling songs of the voyageurs, and the fiddle music and step-dancing at the trading posts that provided its pulse.

Dr. Daniel R. Laxer graduated with his B.A. in History and Music from the University of Alberta and went on to study histories of music and sound in the fur trade for his M.A. at York University and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He has published in numerous academic journals such as Ontario History, The Journal of Canadian Studies, and Material Culture Review. His newly published book is part of the Early Canada / Avant le Canada series of McGill-Queen’s University Press. He currently works as a historical researcher for the Negotiations and Reconciliation Division of Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 7:00 PM MST

Ouroboros: tuning relations and invented systems of play

with Imaginary Instruments: Mitch Renaud and Katelyn Clark

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

This presentation will explore how our duo, Imaginary Instruments, fosters the enmeshment of agency and materiality. We co-compose works existing between composition and improvisation that navigate sound using disparate instruments (14th-century portative organ and modular synth). The agency of each player, each instrument, and each sound glides in and out of focus, foregrounding the materiality of relations between them.

A series of questions frame our curiosity around imagined and experienced sound — how can our mode of listening as players translate into live performance? How do embodied gestures relate to the spaces we inhabit and how do these gestures change within these spaces? How can cultivated modes of attention enliven and trigger performative elements? In what ways can we distribute agency, and what is agency for listener or performer in a live context? In addition to considering these questions, we will discuss and demonstrate our process for creating tuning systems that emphasize psychoacoustic phenomena such as beating between closely tuned Frequencies.

Formed in Victoria BC in 2019, Imaginary Instruments is the duo of composer/sound artist Mitch Renaud and historical keyboard specialist Katelyn Clark. They share a fascination with the materiality of sound and of tuning interactions between instruments. In their work, feedback systems of a modular synth combine with early instruments (portative organ/harpsichord) to draw out unexpected sound. They co-compose pieces for live and recorded settings, drawing from historical systems of temperament, deep listening practices, and the sonic imaginary. Their current project, tuning relations, is a series of semi-fixed works built on an evolving 16-note temperament, generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Their forthcoming album ouroboros will be released early 2023.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 7:00 PM MST

SoundsOnline.ca: A collaborative web portal for sound studies online

with Dr. Stephanie Archer, Department of Linguistics

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

The goal of this project is to create a web portal for collaborative research on the perception and production of sound. The intent of this web portal is meant to house several studies under one website. Participating laboratories within the Sound Studies Institute can use this as an efficient way to gather data while recruiting new participants for online studies. Our aim is to provide a simple platform to engage participants across cultures and socio-economic status, thereby finding interest in the science of sound, and bring new participants to our campus.

This talk will include why we started up this web portal, the composition of the website, some examples of studies, and the future of SoundOnline.ca.


Stephanie Archer (Ph.D.) is an assistant professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. She is a developmental psycholinguist and the director of the Little Magpies Lab for Infant Language Learning. The lab focuses on the perception and production of infant and toddler language development. She has experience with audio-visual methodologies across ages (infants, children, and adults). She also leads the Child and Infant Research Participation (ChIRP) group in which researchers, who are interested in child development, work together to learn more about how we grow as humans.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 7:00 PM MST

Wazaat? How speech changes as we age

with Dr. Ben Tucker, Department of Linguistics

In-person at the Sound Studies Institute
with refreshments
Old Arts Building and Convocation Hall
Room 3-47
Click here for directions
Click here for the livestream

A 2003 Pickles comic strip depicts a spontaneous conversation between two elderly friends: Earl asks Clyde, “Jeet yet?” (or “Did you eat yet?”) Clyde answers, “No, joo?” (instead of “No, did you?”) Earl says, “Nope. Let’s gweet,” to which Clyde responds, “Kay.” A linguist might observe that these elderly men reduced, blended or deleted sounds. Yet these characters, and interlocutors more broadly, do not seem to have a problem understanding the intended meaning in their spontaneous conversation. This scenario raises the question: Does our ability to produce and understand spontaneous reduced speech change as speakers age, and if “yes”, how? 

Canada’s population is aging. Statistics Canada estimates that by 2030, one in four Canadians will be over 65. Spontaneous conversation is the way communication most often occurs. It is essential that we have an understanding of how aging affects the way in which words and sentences are produced and recognized in spontaneous, reduced speech. In this talk we will explore the research around this topic and describe “what we know” about how speech changes as we age and “what we don’t yet know”.

Dr. Benjamin V. Tucker is a Professor of Phonetics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on cognitive aspects of the production and perception of spontaneous speech (e.g., “Wazat?” for “What is that?”) over the lifespan. He also works on the documentation of endangered and under-documented languages.


Moses Asch, Folkways Records, S7855-34, September 1977

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Moses Asch Day

In honour of the 117 birthday of Moses Asch on December 2nd.

Special event TBD!