SWS Advisory Board

Sound Walk September operates under the watchful eye of an advisory board of a broad range of respected experts and specialists. The board meets up to six times per year to advise on and guide the work of the organising committee.

Josh Kopeček

Josh Kopeček

Josh is CEO and founder of Echoes, which specialises in geolocative audio. ECHOES is a free and open-access platform and allows creators to make and publish incredible GPS-triggered walking experiences. ECHOES also designs bespoke apps which focus on sound and location. This has included The Royal Parks and The Royal Academy’s collaborative ‘Music for Trees’ app. Being an award-winning music composer and software developer Josh loves technology and music.

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Francesca Panetta

Francesca Panetta

Francesca Panetta is an immersive artist and journalist. She uses emerging technologies to innovate new forms of storytelling that have social impact. She currently works as Creative Director in the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality. Previous to MIT, she worked at the Guardian for over a decade where she pioneered new forms of journalism including interactive features, location-based augmented reality, and virtual reality leading the Guardian’s inhouse VR studio. In 2011, she pioneered a series of locative audio guides using the GPS on smartphones. She's interested in the way sound changes your perception of the real world. Her works have won critical acclaim - receiving awards around the world, and touring the White House, Tribeca, Cannes, Sundance, and more. She was a 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

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Julie Poitras Santos

Julie Poitras Santos

Julie Poitras Santos' site-specific art practice includes video, installation, and public projects that include a walking component. The relationship between site, story and mobility fuels a wide range of research and production, including the relationship between natural histories, myth and individual story; walking as a form of listening to site; and material agency in an age of climate change. Poitras Santos’ solo and collaborative work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, NY; Bates College Museum of Art; Center for Maine Contemporary Art; Karlskrona Konsthall in Karlskrona, Sweden, Institute for Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art; the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain; Reykjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, among others. In 2016, with the help of a Kindling Fund Grant through the Warhol Regional Regranting Program, Poitras Santos initiated Platform Projects/Walks, a platform for curating walking artworks within local communities. Recent projects include co-curating with Catherine Besteman Making Migration Visible: Traces, Tracks & Pathways (2018) for the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Accompanied by a state-wide initiative involving over seventy partners, and a symposium, the exhibition was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently holds the position of Director of Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, and lives in Portland, Maine.

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Hamish Sewell

Hamish Sewell

Hamish Sewell is the founder and primary audio producer with the geo locative platform Soundtrails. He has an extensive background in documentary radio and oral history and his works have won him international recognition and awards. For the last six years, Hamish has built Soundtrails into one of the more successful locative apps of its kind: now operating commercially across 15 sites in Australia, from Myall Creek (the massacre site) and Nimbin (counter culture capital) in northern New South Wales, to Nambour in southern Queensland. All Soundtrails afford a highly immersive cultural tourism experience, and are each a study into crafted audio, community building and the locative experience. Hamish is about to step into a PhD with Macquarie University, focusing on Memory Making and Locative Apps.

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Duncan Speakman

Duncan Speakman

Duncan Speakman (UK 1976) trained as a sound engineer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and is now based at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. Often working with mobile audio and locative media, he creates narrative experiences that engage audiences emotionally and physically in uncontrolled spaces. From intimate in-ear stories to large scale performances, his award winning projects range from sound installations on Guangzhou tram networks and loudspeaker symphonies in Christchurch, to performative audio walks in Saitama and radio pieces for the BBC. His current artistic research explores how mixed reality experiences might address our current ecological crisis, while continuing to wrap the questions in melancholy and romance.

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Maja Thomas

Maja Thomas

Maja Thomas is the Chief Innovation Officer of Hachette Livre, one of the largest book publishers in the world, and the Director of the Hachette Innovation Program, focusing on the intersection of publishing and digital innovation. Maja works internationally across divisions and sectors, facilitating collaboration with start-ups and established global players, to get books into the hands, phones, and ears of readers. The team she leads aims to accelerate digital transformation by creating experiments with augmented reality, tap to read interfaces, social messaging platforms, bots, and voice assistants. Her team also uses the design thinking process to help publishers be more reader and consumer centric, and pilots novel uses for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data in publishing. Earlier in her career she operated as an intrapreneurial executive, managing teams that created award-winning audiobooks, ebooks, and applications. During a period of dizzying transformation, Maja helped publishers navigate new territory, leading business development and strategy, and negotiating innovative partnerships with global players such as Google, Amazon, and Apple. She has won six Grammys as a producer and director in the Spoken Word category for Adults and Children, as well as Comedy. Her passion for storytelling, and the future of storytelling, animates everything she does.

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