Recent scholarly and artistic interest in the idea of distributed cognition––that cognitive processes do not take place solely in the brain, but are rather distributed throughout the body and even the world––has encouraged lively inter- and cross-disciplinary exchanges between a broad range of fields such as neuroscience, literary studies, theology, Anthropocene studies, and performance studies. Scholars in these fields, joined by artists, creative writers, musicians, and practitioners, come together under the shared belief that our modes of being, seeing, knowing, and acting in the world cross the ‘skull barrier’ and are embodied, extended out into the world, and embedded into or enacted by our environment.

This event series aims to reflect on how distributed models of cognition apply to, and change our perception of, musical engagement. Growing interest in music-making practices outside the normative, and ideally sterilised, settings of the concert hall and the studio has already highlighted the extent to which ‘musicking’ creates living, distributed assemblages out of performers, listeners, instruments, and architectural spaces. In each session of the series, the academics, performers, and practitioners interviewed will share their reflections on the way the language and insights of distributed cognition engage and enrich models of aural encounter in fields such as music performance, environmental studies, history, religious studies, and literature.

We hope that the series is not only an exploration of the links between distributed cognition and music but also an exercise in distributed thinking, mutual listening, and communal sound-making, making room for challenging and illuminating cross-disciplinary conversations about music in and across minds, bodies, and worlds.


Starting on 20th January and running through Lent and Easter terms 2022, the event series will consist of podcast interviews with guest speakers––academics, performers, and practitioners from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds, who are interested broadly in distributed thinking, listening, and embodiment as they take place in encounter and engagement with music––released biweekly, followed by public Zoom discussion/Q&As which the speakers will attend, but which will encourage open and ongoing conversations between all attendees. Registration links for upcoming sessions will be posted on the ‘programme’ page.