Keynote Lectures

Our conference’s keynotes lectures and workshops aim at crucial present-day subjects, addressing some of Acoustic Ecology’s and Soundscape Studies’ core topics. Being based on listening critically to the contemporary environment, the keynotes will investigate and discuss problematic developments within the realm of the auditory world, and suggest possible pathways to solutions.


Prof. Dr. Milena Droumeva

Gendered Ecologies

Voice in Game Soundscapes

In the past decades the world of video games has experienced several great disruptions including the sweeping emergence of a broad range of games a growing public conversation about the gender politics of games as systems of representation. Such conversations directly challenge the normativity of game cultures and industries as exclusive spaces for men and boys; consequently women with a public voice have been targeted and in many cases silenced through online campaigns of harassment. One questions to ask is, how are the ecologies of voice reflective of and constituted by the actual mediated female voice in media, such as ‘feminized’ sound effects and ambient soundscapes? How does the larger ecology of education and professional enculturation perpetuate often-sexist vocal stereotypes? Applying an ‘ecological’ lens borrowed from soundscape studies this work aims to map the social ecologies of the female voice and their mediated expressions in game soundscapes, as elements that connect, depend, deceive, reflect, and mask each other in the process of constructing gendered media texts.

Milena Droumeva is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Glenfraser professor in Sound Studies at Simon Fraser University specializing in mobile technologies, sound studies and multimodal ethnography, with a long-standing interest in game cultures. She has worked extensively in educational research on game-based learning, as well as in interaction design for responsive environments. Milena is  also a soundwalking enthusiast, published widely in the areas of acoustic ecology, media and game studies, design and technology.


Prof. Dr. Maria Klatte

Effects of Noise on Cognitive Performance in Children

Where do we stand?

During the last few decades, the effects of noise on children´s cognition have been analyzed in numerous studies. Experimental studies addressing the impact of acute exposure showed negative effects of noise and reverberation on speech perception and listening comprehension. These effects are more pronounced in young children when compared to older children and adults. Noise-induced disruption was also found for non-auditory tasks, esp. with tasks involving phonological processing. Concerning chronic exposure, aircraft noise and indoor noise in classrooms were consistently associated with poorer performance of the children in reading and reading-related tasks. However, in these studies, exposure levels were extremely high, and potential confounders such as socio-economic status, home literacy, and main language spoken at home were not always controlled. In the NORAH (Noise-related Annoyance, Cognition, and Health)-study, the negative association between aircraft noise exposure and children´s reading was replicated, even though exposure levels did not exceed 60 dB and were thus considerably lower when compared to prior studies. Furthermore, aircraft noise levels at school were associated with lower ratings of children’s mental and physical well-being and well-being at school. These results yield further evidence for harmful effects of chronic noise exposure on children´s development. Potential mechanisms underlying the noise effects and implications for prevention and future research are discussed.

Maria Klatte studied psychology in Oldenburg and Bielefeld. In 1997, she did her PhD at the University of Oldenburg, in the context of the Graduate College of Psychoacoustics. In 2006, she went to Munich, where she led a research project on cognitive development in Kindergarten children.  Since 2011, she is extraordinary professor at the University of Kaiserslautern, Department of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology. Her research interests include effects of acute and chronic noise exposure on cognition in children and adults, reading acquisition, and developmental dyslexia.


Walter Tilgner

Recording European Biotopes

Environmental sounds, ecology and the culture of listening

Walter Tilgner’s natural soundscapes are a natural sounding documentation of e.g. a forest or a reed landscape at a certain day and season. Through repeatedly recording at the same location year after year it is possible to make the changes audible e.g. that are caused by the change in the number of species, by increased traffic, intensified agriculture (toxic discharge), forestry, invasive species and the consequences of climate change. Moreover, these natural soundscapes are very helpful in music-therapy and physiotherapy, nursing, geriatric care and the treatment of tinnitus.

Walter Tilgner, sound recordist and nature photographer, was born 1934 in Olomouc on the March. In the 1950s Tilgner studied Zoology and Botany in Frankfurt/Main and worked until his retirement at the Natural History Museum Konstanz on Lake Constance. He is an honorary member of the “Forum Klanglandschaft“.



The Global Composition Conference 2018, University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Oktober 04-07, 2018

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