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TueJul 18

World Listening Day – July 18, 2023

Shhh… do you hear that? It’s the sound of World Listening Day on July 18. World Listening Day is hosted every year by the World Listening Project, a nonprofit organization that is “devoted to understanding the world and its natural environment, societies, and cultures through the practice of listening and field recording.” They explore acoustic ecology, a discipline that studies the relationship between humans and the natural world as mediated through sound. So quiet down, open up your ears, and get ready to study soundscapes on World Listening Day.

When is World Listening Day 2023?

Practice less talking and more listening on World Listening Day on July 18.

History of World Listening Day

World Listening Day falls on July 18 to honor the birthday of Raymond Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer and environmentalist who is seen as the founder of acoustic ecology. Born on July 18, 1933, he developed his World Soundscape Project, which laid the fundamental ideas and practices of acoustic ecology in the 1970s. World Listening Day was established in 2010, and each year the holiday has a specific theme tied to it. Past themes include ‘H20,’ ‘Sounds Lost & Found,’ and ‘Listen to You!’ 2017’s theme was ‘Listening to the Ground,’ which honored the life and legacy of American composer Pauline Oliveros, who once said “Sometimes we walk on the ground, sometimes on sidewalks or asphalt, or other surfaces. Can we find ground to walk on and can we listen for the sound or sounds of ground? Are we losing ground? Can we find new ground by listening for it?”

Since the holiday’s inception, thousands of people from around the world have participated in its celebration. The theme for World Listening Day 2021 is ‘The Unquiet Earth,’ created by Lisbon-based filmmaker, curator, and organizer Raquel Castro.

Listening is indeed an art that requires undivided attention and patience from a person and benefits another who is in need of it. Listening is also beneficial for the listener, improving their listening skills and sharpening their awareness of their surroundings. As important as our sense of hearing is, we often don’t use it effectively, blocking out most sounds and voices, and not really listening to the message.

World Listening Day timeline

July 18, 1933
Musical Prodigy

Canadian composer and music educator R. Murray Schafer is born.

Acoustic Ecology

Schafer’s World Soundscape Project paves the way for acoustic ecology.

Honorary Day

World Listening Day is created in honor of R. Murray Schafer and his contributions.

Theme of the Year

The theme for World Listening Day in 2020 is Collective Field created by Wild Sanctuary vice president, Katherine Krause.

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