Spring 2024

Group of people singing in a circle in a city.

photo / provided

Urban Justice Lab: Sound, Music, Public Space (ARCH 6319, ART 6419, ENGL 6919, MUSIC 6819, PMA 6819, SHUM 6819)

Tuesdays 11:15–1:45p.m.

Course Instructors:  Keith Obadike, Professor in Art; and Mendi Obadike, Professor in Performing and Media Arts.

This Urban Justice Lab introduces Phase III of Cornell's Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities.

Course Description:

What do we learn when we turn an ear to the commons? Who determines what sounds are desirable or undesirable in a community and what are the stakes of that negotiation when it comes to public space? This graduate seminar will study the ways that individuals and communities use sound and music to self-identify, claim space, and shape their public spaces. We will engage the work of artists who have called our attention to the social aspects of listening. 

We will listen to public art projects, films, concerts, field recordings, installations, informal sonic practices, and political interventions as we read about the contested control of public space. We will also conduct site visits and have dialogues with visiting artists who engage listening in the negotiation of public space. Students will be expected to respond to material in class with their own creative works. 

Call for applications:

The Spring 2024 Urban Justice Lab, "Sound, Music, Public Space," is an innovative seminar for graduate students in the humanities and design disciplines. Urban Justice Labs are offered under the auspices of Cornell University's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities grant and are organized by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and the Society for the Humanities.

Selected students receive a $1,500 stipend to support a final project. Since final projects will be collaborative, students with diverse backgrounds and skillsets (i.e. music, creative writing, coding, ethnography, film and video, critical theory, digital mapping, architecture, fine art, landscape architecture, city planning, etc.) are encouraged to apply. Applicants should be in their first three years of graduate training or enrolled in a graduate professional program. Advanced undergraduate students may apply, but preference will be given to graduate students.

Application Process: Interested students should submit applications via the Experience Cornell website at https://experience.cornell.edu/opportunities/mellon-collaborative-studies by October 27, 2023. Application materials include a C.V. and a 500 – 700-word statement of interest describing your background interest in the seminar topic. No letters of recommendation are required.

Questions: Please contact Lauren Brown, leb69@cornell.edu, in AAP Student Services.