Critical Perpsectives on Petrosonics

A Royal Musical Association and British Forum for Ethnomusicology Affiliated Study Day

Thursday 11th May 2023

King’s College London and Online

Call for Proposals

The emergence of a broad field of energy humanities in recent years has generated interest in the relationship between energy and society, and in cultural and artistic dimensions of energy exploration and extraction. This includes research on resulting global entanglements and colonial/neo-colonial relationships. There has to date, however, been relatively little work that focuses on the musical and broader sonic implications of energy regimes and infrastructures, and few studies to suggest how sound might contribute to energy humanities more broadly. This study day aims to open up a space to discuss energy sonics, with a particular focus on oil and other fossil fuels. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Sounds of fossil fuel exploration and extraction

  • Sonics of ‘oil towns’

  • Creative practice that engages with sounds produced by fossil fuels, their extraction, refinement and processing etc.

  • Sounds of energy company promotional films

  • Sounds of colonial/neo-colonial relationships engendered through fossil fuels

  • Sounds of decarbonization and environmental justice

  • Sounds of social unrest and conflict related to fossil fuels (strikes, revolution, etc.)

  • Energetic and political infrastructures of voice and voicing produced by and through fossil fuels (e.g. via Big Oil), and strategies of listening to and against these voices

  • Material implications of petro-derived products used in the production and consumption of music (carbon microphones, plastics, etc.)

Proposals (of no more than 250 words) are invited for 20-minute presentations, followed by 10 minutes of questions and discussion. We also welcome proposals for presentation of sonic practice work.

Please send proposals and any enquiries to

Deadline for submission: Friday 20th January 2023. We aim to get back to proposers by mid-February.

We will be offering a number of student/unsupported scholar/EDI bursaries towards travel costs for Study Day attendance. Details to follow in due course.


Annette Davison, University of Edinburgh

Laudan Nooshin, City, University of London

Gavin Williams, King’s College London

Call for papers deadline: 
20 Jan 2023
Conference dates: 
11 May 2023
King’s College London/Online