SWS Awards judging criteria

This text describes the context and criteria for judging submissions for the Sound Walk September Awards.

Background

In the context of having to judge many of the works remotely, it is challenging to value submitted works in the context of their geographical space. We recognise this and aim to make the process of judging individual works somewhat easier.

We strongly support the independent agency of the individual jurors to decide on which criteria they value, what works over others, and recognize that providing a certain framework makes this assessment easier as well as faster.

Eligibility

Every new work created after September 30 in the previous year, and is submitted to WLC’s library of works, is eligible, as well as any event, submitted to WLC, occurring in September.

We are less interested in, but do not outright dismiss communal walking tours.

Limitations

It is unlikely that the jurors can experience a site-specific work in-situ. Therefore, it can be difficult to assess a piece that is designed for a particular place, without physically being present.

To somewhat ameliorate this, creators can add third-party links describing their work, and can invite others to write about their experiences ‘consuming’ their work, all within our website.

Criteria

In principle, submissions should fit the definition of a sound walk found here. We are open to multiple interpretations of what a sound walk can be. 

In a broader context, at the very heart of locative media, is the power of the relationship between the subject matter and place. This is no different for sound walks, as a subset of locative media.

It needs to be acknowledged that submitted pieces do not operate on a level playing field. This can mean that a submission that is perhaps technically inferior, perhaps due to the context under which it was produced, or for other reasons, could be considered more eligible for an award, for certain other reasons.

An exceptional piece meets the following criteria:

  • The work challenges, or deepens, our understanding of sound, place, mobility, or form. This could mean that:
    • It uses sound in a unique way.
    • It has high fidelity, that is, the audio is of ‘good’ quality.
  • The work addresses critical current issues, urgent contemporary discussion, or new research. This could mean that:
    • It addresses moral issues.
    • It stretches the consumer’s imagination.
    • It is well described.
  • Visuals, if used, amplify the aims of the audio content.
  • Site, or location, is intrinsic to the work.
  • The work reveals new information, unheard voices, hidden audio texts, untold histories, etc.
  • It is accessible, has a low barrier to access.

Categories

We do not intend to award work based on particular categories. However, the following properties can serve as an aide to identify exemplary work.

  • Excellent site-specific work.
  • Excellent site-responsive work.
  • Creative use of audio technologies.
  • Urgent work addressing critical issues.