Five Minutes With Andrew Skeoch [Momentum Speaker Profile]

Have you ever stopped to listen to other worlds around you? Not the hustle and bustle of your everyday, but the rich ecosystems and places like the cloud forest of Papua New Guinea or the grasslands of the Kimberley. Andrew will be inviting us to explore places such as these and highlight the importance of appreciating the worlds we cannot see.


Q: Tell us a bit about your work and why you love it.

I make and publish recordings of natural soundscapes. As an art form, where I place my microphones dictates the outcome. I enjoy the process of thinking about the optimal location, reading the landscape and anticipating the behaviour of wildlife.

I also supplement the audio with photographs and words to give listeners a sense of what they’re hearing, and the significance of it. I believe that listening can connect us personally with the living presence of the natural world. Hence it is a powerful way of communicating the values of conservation.


Q: What’s something you are working on right now that you can share with us?

I have just returned from 5 weeks in the Kimberley region of northern Australia, recording in a variety of habitats from savannah grasslands to rocky gorges and wetlands.

Next up is an expedition to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. I’ll be in remote areas, requiring us to take all our food and supplies in for the duration, and working with local guides.


“Our human world is loud with activity and daily chatter. Listening to nature is a way of quietening oneself, and letting in the wider world of life all around you. Its not only important to wellbeing, it gives a richer perspective on life.”


Q: What does MOMENTUM, our TEDxCanberra2017 theme, mean to you?

In social terms, when a quantity of people think and act in a particular way, the momentum of the outcome becomes unstoppable. It is culture, ideas and beliefs that can change the impact we have on each other and nature.

Through making sound recordings of wild places that people do not normally have access to, I am hoping to inspire listeners to be aware and appreciate these environments and the creatures that live in them. It is my small way of contributing to the growing momentum toward changing the way we view ourselves, affirming the understanding that we are one species among many, living on this wondrous and fragile world.


Q: What can our TEDxCanberra audience expect to hear from you? (without giving away too much!)

I’ll be encouraging the audience to listen to the natural world more deeply. In sharing how I hear it, and what I’ve learned, I’ll be giving insights into developing listening skills, what to listen for, and how to think about what we’re hearing.


Q: What are you most looking forward to sharing at the event?

The audio recordings of birds and animals. They are what audiences enjoy and emotionally respond to.


Q: What do you like most about Canberra?

There is so much nature in the city. It really is a model of how to build a human environment that makes space for other creatures to live too.


Fun Fact! What’s one thing you can share that people don’t know about you?

I grew up in the middle of Sydney, in a family with little interest in nature. I had no teachers or mentors who encouraged me when I was young. My mother was puzzled by my childhood enjoyment of bushwalking and birdwatching, and wondered where it came from. She’d often quip that “one look over the back fence was enough for her”.


Be sure to join Andrew and his recordings at Momentum on Saturday 16 September at The Canberra Theatre.