Leah Barclay | Australian composer, sound artist, creative producer and researcher
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Leah Barclay is an Australian sound artist, designer and researcher who works at the intersection of art, science and technology. Barclay’s research and creative work over the last decade has investigated innovative approaches to recording and disseminating the soundscapes of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to inform conservation, scientific research and public engagement. Her work explores ways we can use creativity, new technologies and emerging science to reconnect communities to the environment and inspire climate action.

Dr. Leah Barclay creates complex sonic environments that draw attention to changing climates and fragile ecosystems. These works are realised through immersive live performances, interactive installations and virtual reality experiences drawing on environmental field recordings, live streaming audio and spatial sound diffusion. Her work has been commissioned, performed and exhibited to wide acclaim internationally by organisations including the Smithsonian Museum, UNESCO, Ear to the Earth, Streaming Museum, Al Gore’s Climate Reality and the IUCN. Leah’s augmented reality sound installations have been presented across the world from Times Square in New York City to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Leah’s work is multi-platform in nature and involves long-term engagement with communities ranging from remote river systems in South India to pacific island communities in Vanuatu. She leads several large-scale research projects including Biosphere Soundscapes, an interdisciplinary venture exploring the changing soundscapes of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and River Listening, which examines the creative possibilities of aquatic ecoacoustics in collaboration with the Australian Rivers Institute. The design of these interdisciplinary projects are responsive to the needs of the collaborating communities and involve the development of new technologies ranging from remote sensing devices for the rainforest canopy to hydrophone recording arrays in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Leah’s diverse creative practice has resulted in a career where she works as a researcher, designer, consultant and educator with various organisations and institutions. These include designing immersive education programs for UNESCO, directing large-scale interdisciplinary research projects for major universities across Australia and the USA and facilitating partnerships between communities, NGOs and government to explore creative approaches to climate action.

Leah is the president of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology, the vice-president of the World Forum of Acoustic Ecology and serves on the board of a range of arts and environmental organisations. She is currently a lecturer in design at USC Sunshine Coast in Australia where she is leading a portfolio of research in ecoacoustics and establishing a new sound program launching in 2021.