SWS Awards judging criteria

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


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.


Every soundwalk created after September 30 in the previous year, and is submitted to WLC’s library of works, is eligible.


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.


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

The Online Jury and Grand Jury review submitted soundwalks against the following criteria:

  • Deepening. The work challenges, or deepens, our understanding of sound, place, mobility, or form. This could mean that It uses sound in a unique way, or It has high fidelity, that is, the audio is of ‘good’ quality.
  • Relevant. 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, or It is well described.
  • Visually pleasing. Visuals, if used, amplify the aims of the audio content.
  • Locative. Site, or location, is intrinsic to the work.
  • Insightful. The work reveals new information, unheard voices, hidden audio texts, untold histories, etc.
  • Accessible. The work is accessible, has a low barrier to access.


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.