The sound engineer’s creativity : mediative practices and the recorded artifact

Seay, Toby (2023) The sound engineer’s creativity : mediative practices and the recorded artifact. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


A portfolio of eight publications and one archival project are submitted for this PhD by Portfolio. This portfolio covers aspects of record production studies, record production education, sound studies, and audiovisual preservation and the interconnection between sound engineering practice, archival curation, and research. This thesis ties together this portfolio to frame the sound engineer as an integral part in the creative network of record production. More specifically, the sound engineer is a creative leader in this network who, through mediative practices, authors sonic aesthetics, which are exemplified through archival materials. This thesis examines literature within the aforementioned fields and positions this thesis at their nexus. The literature review section displays the gaps and connections that this thesis exploits to provide new interdisciplinary knowledge. The methodology for this thesis is reflexive Actor Network Theory (rANT), where I examine the interactive connections between the sound engineer and the recorded artifact. The methodology section also explores the various frameworks used within the portfolio and shows how rANT works to unify this submission. This thesis explores the knowledge transfer of sound engineers, the recorded artifact as evidence of engineering practice, the mediative practices that are creatively employed by sound engineers, and the creative leadership position of sound engineers as sonic aesthetic authors. These sections will answer the primary research question; how does the sound engineer employ creative leadership in the recording studio?

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