Professor John Levack Drever

Staff details

Professor John Levack Drever


Professor of Acoustic Ecology and Sound Art Head of the Unit for Sound Practice Research (SPR)




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Bridging sonic arts, acoustics, soundscapes, ecology and human experience with aural diversity.

Pathway Leader for MMus Sonic Arts
Co-Head of SPR – the Unit for Sound Practice Research
Co-Director of LAURA – Leverhulme Trust Aural Diversity Doctoral Research Hub
Deputy Director of CHASE – Consortium for Humanities and Arts in South-East England

Academic qualifications

  • BMus (Hons), University of Wales, Bangor 1995
  • MMus, University of East Anglia 1996
  • PhD, Dartington College of Arts: ‘Phonographies: Practical and Theoretical Explorations into Composing with Disembodied Sound’ 2001
  • Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control 2012

Teaching and supervision

Supervised & Co-supervised more than 20 doctoral researchers to completion (Dr Carter Weleminsky, Dr Sam Murray, Dr Marie Ohno, Dr Chris DeLaurenti, Dr Gregorio Fontaine, Dr Annie Goh, Dr Claudia Martinho, Dr Tine Blom, Dr James Bulley, Dr Tommaso Perego, Dr Emmanuel Spinelli, Dr Antonis Antoniou, Dr Marcus Leadley, Dr Lucia H. Chung, Dr Ruth Hawkins, Dr Kathrine Sandys, Dr Dawn Scarfe, Dr Tsai-Wei Chen, Dr John Wynne). Examined more than 30 doctoral awards internationally.

Current PhD supervising:

Ayşe Köklü: Learning to Whistle, Whistling to Learn: Developing an embodied pedagogy of, and with, the endangered whistled language Kuşdili (‘Birdlanguage’) (Lead Supervisor Prof. Tara Page)

Shelley Calhoun-scullion: Immigrant Noise, and the Infrapolitical Space of Michigan (Lead supervisor Dr Holly Rogers, DAAD)

Mattia Cobianchi : Liveable Listenable Cities: inclusive soundscape co-design through creative conflict resolution and urban sound art (Co-supervisors: Lisa Lavia & Prof Jonny Freeman, CHASE/AHRC, CDA with Noise Abatement Society)

Chris Cook: Hearing and listening with dementia: Auraldiversity, sonic ethnography, and personhood​ (CHASE/ AHRC).

Nina Danon: Musical Neuroqueering: Expanding Neurodivergence Through Music and Music through Neurodivergence (CHASE/ AHRC).

Konstantinos Damianakis: Sonic Entanglements: Adventures in Molluscan Listening (Co-supervisor Dr Jol Thoms)

Midori Komachi: Takemitsu and the Steel Pavilion: Spatial Timbre as a parameter of composition (Co-supervisor Dr Holly Rogers, CHASE/AHRC)

Sophia Loizou: Irregular territories: sonic fiction as a mode of ecological sound arts practice (Co-supervisor Dr Ayesha Hameed, CHASE/AHRC)

Jiaxi Xie: Diaspora, Collective Memory and War: Exploration of Music and Sound of the Karen at Thai-Burmese Border (Lead supervisor Prof Barley Norton)

Research interests

Bridging sonic arts, acoustics, soundscapes, ecology and urban design, Drever has devised experiences, performances and practice research projects on sound, environments, listening and hearing in many different contexts and configurations, often in collaboration. He is a founder member of Blind Ditch. Commissions include: Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Paris (1999); Shiga National Museum, Japan (2012); Trumpington Park Primary School, Cambridge (2021-22); IMMA, Dublin (2023); Enclave, Mexico (2023).

Following his PhD at Dartington College of Arts, Drever co-ordinated ‘Sounding Dartmoor - a participative soundscape study’. In 1998 he co-founded the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (affiliated with the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology) for whom he chaired Sound Practice (Dartington College of Art 2001), the first conference on soundscapes in the UK.

In 2003 he was AHRC and Arts Council of England, Arts and Science Research Fellow with Centre for Computational Creativity, City University, London, exploring AI and spatial audio performance systems.

Following his acoustic study of the impact of 'ecological' hand dryers on accessibility, Drever calls for a new paradigm for hearing that extends from a pathological classification of the otologically normal to a socio-cultural concept of auraltypical, heralding an agenda of aural diversity and aural relativism. First presenting this concept at Harvard University in 2013, he subsequently presented and widely published, including the creation of sound works, most recently on asymmetrical spatial perception. With Prof Andrew Hugill he co-edited Aural Diversity (Routledge 2022) and co-directs Aural Diversity and LAURA.

In 2007 he was a Visiting Scholar at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, a Visiting Research Fellow at Seian University of Art and Design, Japan, in 2012-13, and a Guest Professor in The Department of Digital Design and Information Studies, Aarhus University in 2016.

Publications and research outputs


Drever, John L. and Lara, Rossana. 2023. Paisajes sonoros en particular [Otoño 2023] / Soundscapes in Particular [Autumn 2023].

Drever, John L.. 2020. Covid Crepusculars #1.

Drever, John L.. 2019. Sanitary Tones: Ayre #3 [Leicester].


Drever, John L.. 2023. Setting Foot on the Dreams of Euclid. In: "In Focus: Tim Robinson's Life & Work", The Irish Museum of Modern Art (Áras Nua-Ealaíne na hÉireann) – IMMA, Ireland, 10 August 2023.

Drever, John L.. 2023. Deptford Soundwalk. In: "Magnified Ear", Deptford, United Kingdom, 11 June 2023.

Drever, John L. and Thatcher, Tony. 2010. -scape [Goodwins] - making horizontal (The Pavilion Gallery). In: "Royal Geographical Society, Institute ofBritish Geographers,Annual InternationalConference", Pavilion Gallery, Royal Geographical Society, United Kingdom.


Drever, John L.. 2021. Hearing in Particular: From Auraltypical to Auraldiverse Practice.

Bulley, James; Sahin, Ozden; Spinelli, Emmanuel; Tanaka, Atau; Hosang, Georgina M.; Cubitt, Sean; Drever, John L. and Kanngieser, Anja. 2014. Sound and the City (Natural History Museum).

Aceti, Lanfranco; Jefferies, Janis K.; Sondergaard, Morten; Stallabrass, Julian; Bulley, James; Drever, John L.; Munro, Jonathan; Noy, Irene and Sahin, Ozden. 15 - 17 May 2014 Histories, Theories and Practices of Sound Art.


Drever, John L.. 2023. The Rest Is Just Noise: Auraldiversity with John Drever.

Drever, John L.. 2022. Excuse英國腔! E49: London Street Noises.

Drever, John L.. 2007. Disappearing Soundmarks.


Drever, John L. and Bharat, Vinita. 2023. Auraldiversity: Do you hear differently? Frontiers for Young Minds, ISSN 2296-6846

Drever, John L. and Oswald, Alice. 2021. Listening In on a Dawn Springtime Walk by the River Dart with John Levack Drever and Alice Oswald. Interim, 38(3), ISSN 2475-8191

Drever, John L.; Cobianchi, Mattia and Yildirim, Aysegul. 2021. London Street Noises: A Ground-Breaking Field Recording Campaign from 1928. Acoustics, 3(1), pp. 118-136. ISSN 2624-599X

Book Section

Drever, John L.. 2023. Aural Diverse Spatial Perception: From Paracusis to Panacusis Loci. In: John L. Drever, ed. The Routledge Companion to the Sound of Space. Abingdon: Routledge.

Drever, John L.. 2023. Re-Walking and Re-Hearing the Deptford Soundwalk. In: John Drever, ed. Magnified Ear. London: APT Gallery & Curating Matters, pp. 9-20. ISBN 9781739731731

Henriques, Julian F.; Jauniaux, Eric; Thibaut de Maisiers, Aude and Gélat, Pierre. 2022. Sound Before Birth: Foetal Hearing and the Auditory Environment of the Womb. In: John L. Drever and Andrew Hugill, eds. Aural Diversity. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 27-41. ISBN 9781032024998


Drever, John L.. 2023. BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature – Tuner of the World.

Conference or Workshop Item

Drever, John L.. 2023. 'On Acoustic Ecology'. In: Architecture and the Ear. Solus Ceramics, Farringdon, United Kingdom 5 October 2023.

Drever, John L.. 2023. 'Auraltypical/Auraldiverse: from hearing as universal to hearing in particular'. In: Regenerative Listening Symposium curated by Lucia Farinati and Brandon LaBelle. Kingston University, United Kingdom 20 July 2023.

Drever, John L.. 2023. 'Timothy Drever / Tim Robinson – nature and nurture'. In: Remembering Tim and Máiréad Robinson. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 2 July 2023.


Drever, John L.; Jackson, Emma; Rondel, Louise; Weleminsky, Carter Joseph; Cook, Christopher; Cobianchi, Mattia and Leadley, Marcus. 2021. Sounding the River Quaggy.

Drever, John L.. 2009. Q&A with an acoustic ecologist, BBC World Service.

Edited Book

Drever, John L. and Hugill, Andrew, eds. 2022. Aural Diversity. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781032025001

Drever, John L., ed. 2001. Proceedings of 'Sound Practice: the 1st UKISC conference on sound, culture and environments'. UK and Ireland Soundscape Community.

Edited Journal

Bulley, James; Sahin, Ozden; Drever, John L. and Aceti, Lanfranco, eds. 2018. Special Issue on Sound Curating, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 22(3). 1071-4391

Povall, R; Drever, John L.; Hartley, J; Wallen, J and Zakis, R, eds. 2015. Special issue: ‘Arts And Ecology: Emerging Uses For Digital Technologies’, Digital Creativity, 26(1). 1462-6268

Drever, John L., ed. 2007. Noise: Debates, Strategies and Methodologies, Earshot 5, .


Drever, John L. and Murdin, Alex. 2022. Mothratorium. In: "Insect Breeding Institute", Trumpington Park Primary School, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Drever, John L.. 2001. Phonographies: Practical and Theoretical Explorations into Composing with Disembodied Sound. Doctoral thesis, University of Plymouth

Research projects

1928-2023: London Street Noises
A longitudinal acoustics and soundscape study of London through field recording.

2003-2004: Electronic Music Performance Interfaces that Learn from their Users
Arts Council of England & AHRB Arts and Science Research Fellow with Centre for Computational Creativity, City University

2000-2001: Sounding Dartmoor - a public soundscape study
In collaboration with The Touring Exhibition of Sound Environments (TESE), Aune Head Arts, and the Digital Crowd, University of Plymouth.

Media engagements

2023: BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature – Tuner of the World
Written and presented by John Drever. Produced by Rami Tzabar. A TellTale Industries production for BBC Radio 3.

2023: Auraldiversity with John Drever
Podcast: The Rest Is Just Noise

2018: London Street Noises
Interviewed by David Sillitoe for Today, BBC Radio 4

2020: Sound and the City, ‘The Urbanist’
Interviewed on Sound and the City, ‘The Urbanist’, podcast (2015 & 2020)

2013: High Speed Hand Dryers & Cattle Grids of Dartmoor
Interviewed by David Sillitoe for Today, BBC Radio 4

2009: Q&A with an acoustic ecologist
BBC World Service


2023, Tuner of the World, Nominated for Prix Europa, Audio Documentary Category, 2023.
2021, Covid Crepusculars #1, Winner of the Worst Sound Category, Sound of the Year Awards 2020, New BBC Radiophonic Workshop
2019-20, London Street Noises, Special Award for Socially Distanced Public Engagement, Warden’s Annual Public, Engagement Awards 2020, Goldsmiths, University of London
1997, Second Prize for Autonomous Art Electroacoustic Music, Musica Nova 97, International Electroacoustic Music Competition, Prague
1996, Special Prize for Electroacoustic Music, Musica Nova 96, International Electroacoustic Music Competition, Prague