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‘How do we listen to the unheard?’, asks University professor in latest book

University of Gloucestershire’s Professor Abigail Gardner has published her latest book about the increasing importance of listening in the new age of podcasts, music streaming and political discourse across social media.

Listening, Belonging, and Memory is published by Bloomsbury New York and considers her recent research with Gloucestershire war veterans, migrants into and across Europe, and Twitter memorial accounts through the lens of listening. It argues that we cannot understand listening without also asking who is listening, where and why.

Professor Gardner, Professor of Cultural Studies within the University’s School of Creative Industries, puts connected listening at the centre of current debates around whose voices might be listened to, such as politicians, media celebrities, who by, and why.

Arguing that listening must be understood in relation to the self, nation, age, witnessing, and memory, Professor Gardner uses examples from digital storytelling, projects, public service broadcasting, news media and UK government policies on protest to map the impact and power of listening.

Reviewers have described Listening, Belonging, and Memory, which comes out on 10 July, as addressing the ‘social justice rationale for proper and careful listening’ and as being ‘poetic in tone and sensibility and yet carrying strong political and ethical threads’.

Professor Gardner is also the author of Ageing and Contemporary Female Musicians, and PJ Harvey and Music Video Performance, and co-author of Aging and Popular Music in Europe, and Rock On: Women, Ageing and Popular Music, with Ros Jennings.