My background as a filmmaker has informed my research interests in the field of street technologies and cultures (particularly reggae dancehall sound systems) and in sound studies, as with Sound System Outernational research group, founded in 2015.
My commitment to practice-as-research methodologies is as a way of recognizing and giving value to subaltern knowledge systems, that are most often situated, embodied and tacit. My own work as a sound artist and filmmaker is also most valuable as my own practice-as-research.
My interest in sonic “ways-of-knowing” and non-discursive non-representational types of meaning led to the establishment of the TRU (Topology Research Unit) in 2011. This has particular interests and activities in the areas of diagrammatics, rhythm and auditory topology.
Exploring the intensities of auditory experience led me to explore with others the auditory environment of the unborn child, as with the Sonic Womb research project.
- PhD University of London 2008
Teaching and Supervision
A cultural studies approach encourages the selection of the starting point of a research project to be a particular instance, example or phenomenon. For me this specific particular has for many years has been the Jamaican reggae sound system. This started with a love for the music and a passion that inspired several of my filmmaking projects, documentaries with the Noble laurate Derek Walcott for instance, as well as the short We the Ragamuffin and my feature film Babymother, a reggae musical set in Harlesden, West London. My film research, I then found, could be repurposed and developed into academic research, leading to a PhD and the book Sonic Bodies and numerous articles and book chapters.
My grounding in the specific technologies and sound system scenes in the UK and Jamaica has proved to be an excellent base from which to explore a range of wider issues. Learning from Jamaican audio engineers, these interests include the nature of non-epistemic knowledge systems. Specifically, these are skilled techniques, expertise and connoisseurship with which the engineers fine-tune the sound system to maximise the intensity of the auditory experience of their audience.
Trying to understand how the engineers achieve these effects and affects led me to affect theory and rhythmanalysis and to explore expressive, performative and non-representational theories of meaning and communication. The idea of a sonic logos, rather than the logos of the word, emerged as a way to describe the kinds of meaning that are relational, proportional and analogue. Topology and diagrammatics have proved fruitful in this respect. In addition, I am also very interested in very different intensive auditory environments, specifically that of the womb for the unborn child. This has proved fruitful to explore the nature of auditory relationships and identities of a similar character to those of the sound system session, but constituted even before we are born.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2022. Sonic Media: the Street Technology of the Jamaican Sound System. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2011. Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques and Ways of Knowing. New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-441-14429-4
Henriques, Julian F.; Hollway, Wendy; Urwin, Cathy; Venn, Couze and Walkerdine, Valerie. 1984. Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity. London: Routledge. ISBN ISBN-10: 0415151376
Henriques, Julian F.; Jauniaux, Eric; Thibaut de Maisiers, Aude and Gélat, Pierre. 2022. Sound Before Birth: Fetal hearing and the auditory environment of the womb. In: John L. Drever and Andrew Hugill, eds. Aural Diversity. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781032024998
Henriques, Julian F.. 2022. Engines of Affect: Experimenting with Auditory Intensities in the Jamaican Sound System Session. In: Britta Timm Knudsen; Mads Krogh and Carsten Stage, eds. Affective experimentation – methodologies of world-making. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Henriques, Julian F. and Xiang, Zairong. 2020. Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Cosmopolitricks. In: Zairong Xiang, ed. Minor Cosmopolitan: Thinking Art, Politics, and the Universe Together Otherwise. Zurich: Diaphanes, pp. 250-260. ISBN 9783035803044
Henriques, Julian F.. 2020. Rhythm, Rhythmanalysis and Algorithm-Analysis. In: Paola Crespi and Sunil Manghani, eds. Rhythm and Critique: Technics, Modalities, Practices. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 242-266. ISBN 9781474447546
Henriques, Julian F.. 2019. Duppy Conquerors, Rolling Calves and Flights to Zion. In: Steve Goodman; Toby Heys and Eleni Ikoniadou, eds. AUDINT—Unsound:Undead. Falmouth: Urbanomic Media Ltd, pp. 147-150. ISBN 9781916405219
Henriques, Julian F. and Ferrara, Beatrice. 2014. The Sounding of the Notting Hill Carnival: Music as Space, Place and Territory. In: Jon Stratton and Nabeel Zuberi, eds. Black Popular Music in Britain Since 1945. Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4094-6913-1
Henriques, Julian F.. 2011. Musicking. In: Nancy Lesko and Susan Talburt, eds. Keywords in Youth Studies: Tracing Affects, Movements, Knowledges. New York: RoutledgeFalmer, pp. 218-222. ISBN 978-0-415-87412-0
Henriques, Julian F.. 2007. Situating Sound: The Space and Time of the Dancehall Session. In: J. Marijke and S. Mieskowski, eds. Sonic Interventions. 18 Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, pp. 287-310. ISBN 9789042022942
Henriques, Julian F.. 2003. Sonic Dominance and the Reggae Sound System Session. In: M. Bull and Les Back, eds. The Auditory Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg, pp. 451-480. ISBN 1859736130
Gélat, Pierre; David, Anna L.; Haqhenas, Seyyed Reza; Henriques, Julian F.; Thibaut de Maisieres, Aude; White, Tony and Jauniaux, Eric. 2019. Evaluation of fetal exposure to external loud noise using a sheep model: quantification of in utero acoustic transmission across the human audio range. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 221(4), 343.e1-343.e11. ISSN 0002-9378
D’Aquino, Brian; Henriques, Julian F. and Vidigal, Leo. 2017. A Popular Culture Research Methodology: Sound System Outernational. Volume Journal, 13(2), pp. 163-175. ISSN 1950-568X
Henriques, Julian F.. 2014. Rhythmic Bodies: Amplification, Inflection and Transduction in the Dance Performance Techniques of the “Bashment Gal”. Body and Society, 20(3/4), pp. 79-112. ISSN 1357-034X
Henriques, Julian F.. 2014. Dread Bodies: Doubles, Echoes and the Skins of Sound. Small Axe(44), pp. 191-201.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2012. Hearing Things and Dancing Numbers: Embodying Transformation, Topology at Tate Modern. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(4/5), pp. 334-342.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2011. Auditory and Technological Culture: the Fine-tuning of the Dancehall Sound System “Set”. Journal of Sonic Studies, 00-00.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2010. The Vibrations of Affect and their Propagation on Night Out on Kingston’s Dancehall Scene. Body & Society, 16(1), pp. 57-89. ISSN 1357-034X
Henriques, Julian F.. 2008. Sonic diaspora, vibrations and rhythm: thinking through the sounding of the Jamaican dancehall session. African and Black Diaspora, 1(2), pp. 215-236. ISSN 1752-8631
Conference or Workshop Item
Henriques, Julian F.. 2015. 'The Sensorial Apparatus of the Reggae Sound System'. In: Beyond Biopolitcs SLSA 2015 Houston. Houston, Texus, United States.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2015. 'Every spoil is a style: voicing, absence and echo in reggae dub music'. In: False Alarm: Aurality, Errancy and Voice. Kings College London, United Kingdom.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2006. 'Fine-tuning the Apparatus of the Dancehall Sound System'. In: Proceedings, 18th International Conference on Systems Research, Informatics and Cybernetics, August 7-12th, 2006, Baden-Baden, Germany. Baden-Baden, Germany August 7-12th, 2006,.
Henriques, Julian F.. 2008. Sonic Bodies: the Skills and Performance Techniques of the Reggae Sound System Crew. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London
Further profile content
Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques and Ways of Knowing
The reggae sound system has exerted a major influence on music and popular culture.
Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity
This is a classic critique of traditional psychology in which the foundations of critical and feminist psychology are laid down.
“Rhythmic Bodies: Amplification, Inflection and Transduction in the Dance Performance Techniques of the “Bashment Gal”” Body & Society, September & De
This article explores the rhythmic body with the example of the embodiment of the ‘bashment gal’ and the role she plays in the dancehall sound system session.
“Hearing Things and Dancing Numbers: Embodying Transformation, Topology at Tate Modern.” Theory, Culture & Society, Topology Special, 29 (4/5) 2012: 3
This paper reports on a weekend performance event at the Tate Modern that explored how the senses of sound and movement can be used to apprehend geometrical and topological shapes and mathematical con
Stuart Hall: Conversations, Projects and Legacies. with David Morley (eds.) London: Goldsmiths Press/
This collection examines the career of the cultural studies pioneer, interrogating his influence and revealing lesser-known facets of his work
Sound System Outernational is an ongoing initiative of practitioners and researchers, in association with Goldsmiths, University of London, dedicated to recognizing, stimulating and supporting sound system culture worldwide
There are more sound systems in operation around the world than ever before, more women’s sound systems, more aficionados, more practitioners and more interest across different countries around the globe. Goldsmiths is located in SE London, a historic centre of the capital’s sound system culture.
Sound System Outernational creates spaces for dance and discussion. We organize events to bring together practitioners and researchers: we believe the ways of knowing of a popular culture and the knowledge systems of the academy have a lot to learn from each other.
Professor Stuart Hall Foundation, founding trustee
Sonic Womb Productions Ltd.
The Sonic Womb research project has been exploring fetal hearing for over a decade; its aims are two-fold. One is to draw attention to the importance of fetal hearing – or indeed that there is such a thing – by demonstrating to medical professionals and the public alike to hear what and how a baby does inside the womb. The other aim of the Sonic Womb project is to research the amplifying and attenuating effects of the mother’s body on the auditory environment available to her unborn child. Such biomedical evidence will help us achieve the objective of the project. This is to modify the incubators for premature babies in such a way as to avoid the auditory stress to which they are currently inadvertently exposed in neonatal wards. The project is a collaboration with Prof Eric Jauniaux and Dr Pierre Galet, UCL and Aude Thibaut de Maisieres.
Grants and awards
Sonic Street Technologies: Diaspora, Culture and Knowledge
ERC consolidator grant 2021 - 25
Sound Art and Films
Construction Dub, played on Green Light sound system, International Dub Gathering, Alicante, Spain 18th April 2019
Bread Dub & Wine, 4 sound channels, Liminaria sound art residency, Guardia Sanframondi, 2018
Captain Eko and her Sonic Warriors, 12.2 sound channels, 6 screens, Resolution, Goldsmiths, 2017
Knots & Donuts, 12 sound channels, Topology Series, Tate Modern, 2011
Babymother, Writer/Director, Formation Films for Film Four (1998)
We the Ragamuffin (30 min.) Co-Writer/Director, Rockstead Productions for Channel Four Television (1992)
Exit No Exit (30 min.) Co-Originator/Director, Formation Films for Channel Four Television (1988)
Denzil’s Dance (25 min) Producer/Director, Arts Council/ 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning (2019)
Derek Walcott: Poet of the Island (60 min.) Producer/Director, Arena, BBC Music & Arts, 1993
The Green Man (60 min.) Producer/Director, Omnibus, BBC Music & Arts (1990)