Get some chalk on your boots! The Sounding Cultures of Football

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.

Get some chalk 2018

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Abercrombie Building, The Glass Tank, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


Get some chalk on your boots! is a project developed by Sound Diaries and led by Paul Whitty from the SARU (Sonic Art Research Unit) in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University. The purpose of the project is to investigate the everyday sounding cultures of football. The conference and exhibition will investigate football through an exploration of its sounding cultures. Football is a sonic spectacle; an auditory delight; a sport that thrives on the physical energy of sound. The sounds of football are part of our daily lives: the ephemeral grassroots soundings of parish council pitches; the buzz of late night radio commentary; the roar of the crowd seeping out into the night and spreading like a firm mist across nearby streets; the on-pitch communication of the players – stick it in the mixer!; corner flags whipped into sound-making action by the breeze; the crack as a ball strikes the crossbar; the thud of the football on boot then grass and soil as the goalkeeper sends it long down field; the incessant voice of the popular media; the rattle of the line-marker and the slosh of paint as the pitch is marked out; the clatter of football boots on concrete or the sounds as they are struck together to remove mud; the resonant corridors of the stadium; football talk at the pub – on the bus – in the cafe; the slam of plastic seats as the crowd stand – craning to see a corner; the conflict between the corporate stadium sound system and the oral culture of the ultras; the cries of joy and despair; the referee’s whistle; and the quiet calm – the void – of the stadium after the game, when the crowd has gone.

Sound Diaries explores what it means to record life in sound. Exploring the cultural and communal significance of sounds, Sound Diaries forms a research basis for projects executed both locally and Internationally, in Brussels, Tallinn, rural Estonia and Cumbria; within local institutions in Oxford; and within cultural organisations like Sound and Music, BBC Radio and Boring. Sound Diaries was established by Felicity Ford and Paul Whitty.

Sonic Art Reseach Unit (SARU) provides a forum for dialogue between the fields of Composition and Sound Art; including acousmatic, collaborative, electroacoustic, experimental, interdisciplinary and site-specific practices alongside engagement with field recording, and soundscape studies at Oxford Brookes University. 

Glass Tank Gallery, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford Brookes University, OX3 0BP. 
Private View 13 June, 18.00-20.00
Public View 15 June - 13 July
Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm

Please note that on Monday 9th July the exhibition will close at 12 noon due to essential maintenance. 
Extra Time (Closing Event) July 13th 12.30-15.00


/ Ronnie Close / Bethan Elford / Darren Luke / Shirley Pegna / Davide Tidoni / Duncan Whitley / Paul Whitty /

The exhibition features More out of Curiosity a film by Ronnie Close exploring the culture of Egypt’s Ultras; Paul Whitty’s field recording project Get Rid! featuring the ephemeral football soundscapes of the parish council pitches of South Oxfordshire; Davide Tidoni‘s studies of the sounding culture of the terraces of the Stadio Mario Rigamonti home of Brescia 1911; Duncan Whitley‘s archive of chants and sound from Coventry City’s erstwhile home Highfield Road and his study of training sessions at amateur clubs in Portugal G D Parada; Darren Luke’s photographs of Cornish football; and Bethan Elford’s studies of song and singing – or the lack of them - at West Ham’s new home the London Stadium. 

At the closing event – Extra Time - on July 13th a work by Shirley Pegna and Paul Whitty exploring the sound created during a match as the actions of the players resonate through soil, grass and air; and seep across the touchline will be installed and Davide Tidoni will perform Ultras Mash-up.


As Part of the project Sound Diaries and SARU have supported the development of a series of publications to be launched at the Private View (June 13th 18.00-20.00):

Get Some Chalk on Your Boots! Edited by Paul Whitty is a collection of writing exploring the everyday sounds of football culture and includes contributions from writer and artist Juliet Jacques, composer Laurence Crane, poet and academic Steven Matthews, composer and writer Lauren Redhead, phonographer Patrick Tubin McGinley; artists Davide Tidoni and Duncan Whitley; photographer Darren Luke; and part-time chauffeur Ruth Potts.

THE SOUND OF NORMALISATION (Book & DVD) by Davide Tidoni is a transcription of Davide’s archive of stadium singing and chants collected during his time with the ultras of Brescia 1911:

Since early 2000 I’ve been researching football supporter subculture, audience participation and crowd regulation. The overall research concerns the nexus of public space, social performance and surveillance in contemporary Italian football. The aim of the research is to trace mechanisms of social interaction and aesthetic creation in football supporters’ subculture via an examination of the sound practices shared by the group Brescia 1911. Relations between sound production and space construction are investigated especially in the light of dynamics of social control adopted in football grounds in the last years. (Davide Tidoni)

ULTRAS MASH-UP (12” vinyl) by Davide Tidoni mixes field recordings of chants and songs with recordings of their original sources.

Get Rid! by Paul Whitty (Book & Cassette) is a document of experiences of grassroots football from the Aylesbury and District, North Berks, Oxfordshire Senior and Westmorland Association Football Leagues; and the Ligue de Football Nouvelle Aquitaine.


John Henry Brookes Building, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford Brookes University, OX3 0BP.
June 14th 10.00-16.30

Papers, presentations and discussions engaging with:

• The politics of sound control in stadiums – the conflicting sounding behaviour of fans, local and global capital, and the corporate ideology of football clubs.
• Sound, memory and football.
• The effect of soundscape on training facilities.
• The sonic idiosyncrasies of particular football stadiums including their role as resonators.
• On-pitch communication between players.
• The matchday soundscape from turnstiles and programme sellers to the idling engine of the team bus.
• The sounds of the material culture of grassroots football from painting white lines to the sound of the pavilion shutters and grass-mowers.
• The changing soundscapes experienced by the fan-bases of clubs as they undergo relocation to a new stadium.
• Chants and terrace culture.
• The phenomenology of sound and football.

Contact to reserve a place (limited to 120)