Research Fellow in Sonification Design and Aesthetics

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear (GB)
Dec 01, 2020
End of advertisement period
Jan 03, 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

RADICAL (‘A Radical New Interdisciplinary Space for Sonification’) is a Research Project Grant funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The grant is held and managed by Dr Paul Vickers in the Department of Computer & Information sciences at Northumbria University with co-investigators at nearby Newcastle University. 

Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to communicate data and data relations (like a Geiger counter for data) but, unlike information visualisation, is still not widely used. The sonification research community's understanding of the roles played by embodied perception, spatial considerations, and aesthetics in our listening to, and perception of,sonification is very limited. These aspects of sonification cannot be addressed except through an interdisciplinary approach, and this project draws together proven experts in computer science, sonification, listening and perception,ethnography, music composition, and aesthetics to foster a fundamentally newunderstanding from which to derive concrete guidelines for better sonificationdesign.

Making use of spatialised audio, including (though not limited to) Northumbria’s IKOicosahedral loudspeaker (which is the only one in the UK) the aim of this project is to conduct a comprehensive study of sonification making and listening to form a fundamental understanding of the relationships between sonifications, their designers, and their listeners and to stimulate a revitalised agenda for sonification research and practice. The interdisciplinary nature of the project team will enable us to develop a new theory of sonification listening and to derive an aesthetics of sonification which, up till now, has no accepted definition. These outcomes will be important in formulating a new framework for successful sonification design.

We are seeking one Research Fellow at Northumbria to work on the RADICAL project with a primary focus on the design and implementation of data sonifications. You will likely have a technical background in computer science or human-computer interaction and a demonstrable interest in sonification, sonic interaction design, or digital audio.

The project has recently appointed to the project a research associate at Newcastle University with a focus on ethnographic evaluation of technologically-mediated musical and sonicarts practice. Therefore, a degree of familiarity with, or ability to adapt to the basics of the Newcastle focus will be significant in developing interdisciplinary collaboration with the Newcastle team.

This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate on a new area of interdisciplinary research.

Since the research conducted across RADICAL is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary you will have demonstrable interest to work in an interdisciplinary team. The Research Fellow is expected to work closely with their counterpart at Newcastle and should be(or be willing to become) conversant with methods of ethnographic research,experimental musics/sonic arts, and Research through Design.

Excellent communication skills are essential. Experience and familiarity with research funding would be beneficial.

See the project web page at for more information about the RADICAL project.The project officially begins in mid-January so we are looking to have someone in post as soon as possible after that.

For an informal discussion about the Northumbria post, please contact Paul Vickers at

To apply for this vacancy please click 'Apply Now', and submit a Covering Letter and your CV, including a full list of publications where relevant and any documents specifically requested in the Role Description and Person Specification, such as a sample of written work or journal article.

Previous unsuccessful candidates should not apply.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff.We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holdsan Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improvingemployment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Please note this vacancy will close on 03/01/2021