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Sounding Out the Tourist City is a three-year research project that seeks to explore the impact of tourism on everyday urban public ambiances, with a particular focus on the sonic ambiance. The meteoric rise of Lisbon as a major tourist destination will provide the backdrop for the different cases studies that make up the project.

The project brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers affiliated to the NOVA University, University of Lisbon, University Institute of Lisbon, Universidad de Valladolid and Queens University Belfast.

Sounding Out the Tourist City is funded by the Portuguese Research Council (FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) through a SR&TD Project Grant (PTDC/ART-PER/32417/2017).

the project

Which sounds define the city of Lisbon? How tourism affects the sonic environment in the urban context? How sound participates in creating and/or contesting urban ambiances for tourist consumption? What is the role of sound in the cultural and sensory restructuring of touristified urban spaces?

Sounds of Tourism takes the touristification of historic Lisbon neighborhoods both as a research object and as an analytical lens for investigating the role of sound in the cultural and sensory restructuring of touristified urban spaces in the post-industrial city. The recent promotion of Lisbon as a major tourist destination and the impact of tourism and associated phenomena on the social fabric of its historic center has turned the Portuguese capital city into a timely case study for this project.

Our approach to the topic draws from an interdisciplinary interpretive framework built around the notions of sound environment, urban ambiance and sustainability. The core of this research consists on a sensory ethnography of the urban fabric, including field research, the recording of soundscapes and interviewing local residents, visitors, policy makers and other stakeholders involved in the development of Lisbon as a tourist city.

To understand the relationship between tourism and the urban acoustic space the project will consider two levels of analysis: 1) Urban policy and city planning, and 2) the everyday urban experience of city dwellers and visitors. It is precisely in the interplay between the urban space as it is conceived by city planners and urban designers and the sensory engagement of city dwellers with the built environment that urban ambiances emerge.

the people

The project team includes researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds (ethnomusicology, anthropology, geography, history, sociology and sound studies) with a rich research experience connected to the project´s theme as well as solid theoretical and methodological backgrounds. The research team is coordinated by Dr. Iñigo Sánchez Fuarros.

Each team member will engage in particular case studies related to their research experience and interests. The city of Lisbon and the over-turistification of its historic centre will provide the backdrop for the analysis.

The research team is formed by Iñigo Sánchez Fuarros (PI, FCSH/NOVA), Salwa El Shawan Castelo-Branco (Co-PI, FCSH/NOVA), Daniel Malet Calvo (CIES-IUL), Livia Jiménez (UNED), Gonçalo Antunes de Oliveira (FCSH/NOVA), Daniel Paiva (CEG-UL), Rui Cidra (FCHS/NOVA), Jorge Sequera (Universidad de Valladolid), Pedro Rebelo (Queen’s University Belfast), Matilde Meireles (Queen’s University Belfast), Jordi Nofre (FCHS/NOVA), Jasemine Khaleli (Univeristy of Viena), Mariana Pinho (NOVA FCSH) and Isaac Raimundo (NOVA FCSH).

case studies

To understand the relationship between tourism and the urban acoustic space the project will consider two levels of analysis:

1) Urban policy and city planning:

territorial and sensory branding

noise regulations

music policies and strategies (i.e. Lisbon as a “music city”)

2) The everyday urban experience of city dwellers and visitors.

sensory engagement with the built environment

It is precisely in the interplay between the urban space as it is conceived by city planners and urban designers and the sensory engagement of city dwellers with the built environment that urban ambiances emerge. We will try to find answers to such questions through a series of ethnographic case studies that will explore Lisbon’s most contested tourist hotspots and sounded practices.