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Beyond landscape's visible realm: Recorded sound, nature, and wellbeing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clare HickmanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article draws on an AHRC/EPSRC funded project called ‘A Sense of Place: Exploring nature and wellbeing through the non-visual senses’. The project used sound and smell technologies, as well as material textures and touch, to ask: what does ‘wellbeing’ mean for people in relation to the non-visual aspects of nature, and how might technology play a role in promoting it (if at all)? This article takes recorded sound as a case study. It argues that recorded soundscapes should be understood on their own terms rather than as ‘less than’ or a simulation of natural environments. They have specific value in creating space for imagination, particularly when delivered with care and as part of the co-creation of sensory experience. Overall, the article argues that the value of emerging immersive technologies is not to simulate nature better. An ‘immersive experience’ is richest when it allows for – and reveals – the nuances and complexities of individual responses to natural environments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bates V, Hickman C, Manchester H, Prior J, Singer S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health and Place

Year: 2020

Volume: 61

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 27/12/2019

Acceptance date: 12/12/2019

Date deposited: 07/01/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1353-8292

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102271


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