Ragged places and smooth surfaces: Audio walks as practices of making and doing the city | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2050-9790
  • E-ISSN: 2050-9804



This article engages with how our auditory engagement with a particular soundscape helps frame and construct the places we move in and influences the ways we relate to our surroundings, to others and to ourselves. Its empirical focus is a series of urban audio walks that were made and carried out within a public engagement project designed to actively involve the participants and walkers in a relationship with(in) the place, community, history and culture. The article explores how this project worked with and challenged the form of the traditional, tourist-orientated audio walk, which tend to represent the city as a smooth, historicized space ready to be consumed. The walks produced in this project were more improvisational; they were vehicles for expressing the ragged, common sense topographies or place in the world of the participants. This tension draws to the surface questions of critical citizenship, as we trace how the participants ‘mapped their world’ within the pre-existing and often overwhelming cartographies of their world and how this, in turn, allowed us to think more about the ways in which they position themselves and are positioned within dominant discourses as a particular type of citizen and urban dweller.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): audio walks; practice; ragged places; smooth surfaces; urban; Wales
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