This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium program.

Summary of 2023 WFAE Conference at Atlantic Center for the Arts

Eric Leonardson

Saturday 25 November 15:30–16:00

From 19 through 26 March 2023 I convened and participated in Listening Pasts - Listening Futures a hybrid virtual and in-person conference at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. This was the first international conference held by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) in the U.S.A. This event coincided with the 30th anniversary of the WFAE, founded in 1993 during Tuning of the World: The First International Conference on Acoustic Ecology at the Banff Centre for the Arts. This report discusses the importance of the conference organizing team who supported my past 15 years of volunteer efforts in several partner organizations of the WFAE, the World Listening Project, American Society for Acoustic Ecology, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology. This effort was bolstered by numerous internationally published papers, presentations, concert performances, workshops, and soundwalks. Many of these continue being offered for the general public outside of academic settings, but also include teaching courses on acoustic ecology, eco-design and eco-sensing, field recording and phonography, sound synthesis, instrument construction, and basic audio in the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Building on the WFAE’s important accomplishments to date, we have improved systems for membership, freely accessible archives and educational resources through the WFAE online library. A new online open access platform, called Acoustic Ecology Review, will launch soon for publication of both the 2023 conference proceedings and future editions of Soundscape: The Journal for Acoustic Ecology.

Recordings of presentations and concerts are posting now on the WFAE’s new YouTube channel.

Discussions are underway about the next conference. This bodes well for the future of the soundscape studies and the WFAE at this pivotal moment of environmental awakening.

The World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, founded in 1993, is an international association of affiliated organizations and individuals who share a common concern for the state of the world’s soundscapes. Our members represent a multi-disciplinary spectrum of individuals engaged in the study of the social, cultural, and ecological aspects of the sonic environment across the world.

The WFAE works in collaboration with its world-wide network of affiliated organizations to produce and promote research, education, events, conferences and publications revolving around the interdisciplinary field of acoustic ecology.


Eric Leonardson, a Chicago-based audio artist, often presents on acoustic ecology to new audiences beyond art world contexts, engaging and connecting communities in the interrelationships of sound, listening, and environment. He is an Associate Professor, Adjunct in the Department of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Leonardson serves as president of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology), established in 2009, and is a co-founder of the World Listening Project (WLP), established in 2008. Leonardson performs internationally with the Springboard, a self-built instrument made in 1994.


Eric Leonardson, photo: J.S. Eric Leonardson, photo: J.S.