Champion sounds

18 November 2016

The ‘Beta pilot’ community champions

If there is something to say of the first encounter with the Community Champions, is the wealth and variety of interests, abilities and knowledge. It has been amazing to discover how much potential we have in the community of participants as we begin tinkering our way to positive change!

The first Making Sense Workshop in Barcelona took place last Wednesday, November 16th, with a great introduction session of the Community Champions to the Beta pilot of the project.

Knowing the team

After receiving a welcome pack of goodies, the Community Champions and team members had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the rest of the group. It was fantastic to know the strength and variety of this community of activists! From students to teachers, we had engineers, designers, artists and laser scientists talking about (and making some) noise!

Creating awareness

During the launch of the Making Sense pilot in Barcelona, on November 5, we had located the main environmental problems on a map of the city. Noise, by far, turned out to be the most prominent issue.
There was a short presentation on the context of the issue and we found out:

There are good reasons for why we must act to improve the acoustic levels of our environment. For example: stress, anxiety, diabetes, are just some of the effects of noise pollution, which obviously translates into poor quality of life.

We also learned that in Barcelona there are imposed limits on noise levels and that the vast majority of complaints to the police are noise related!


With the help of Alexia Mellor, a collaborating artist and researcher, we had the opportunity to chat and reflect on the noise we perceive and produce every day, which are the sounds that bother us the most and which enrich our day to day life. Participants mapped, on a timeline, the noises they had heard throughout the day before developing a parallel timeline with noises they had made themselves.

This reflection was later annotated by layering a sense of positive or negative labelling to each sound and noise. This was powerful to help reflect on the multilayered texture of the issue. We came to a common consensus that noise, can have many cultural implications, not all sound is noise and that even sometimes noise is necessary.

This was important to help us establish an common ground for how we all understand noise, so that we can go off and set goals, interpret data, and do interesting things.


Towards a common goal


Saskia Coulson, a researcher at the University of Dundee, came from Scotland to help us define what concrete objectives we want to achieve with this first pilot. After a discussion in groups, we came to a decision shared by all attendees. We want to:

  • Discover the relationship between noise and stress
  • Investigate how to act to reduce traffic in our city.

The enthusiasm and debate generated during the session was such that the Making Sense’s Sensor in the room came to measure 56 decibels of sound level, at the limit of what is recommended! 😉


The Making Sense team would like to thank all the Community Champions who attended the first workshop and who will help us understand how we can measure, how we can make sense of the data we measure and what actions we can take to improve our environment.

Stay tuned!

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