Dr. Diana Chester is a digital media scholar, multimedia artist, composer, and educator. Her work draws from sound studies, archival studies, and the ethnographic study of expressive culture in religious festivals and traditions. Her current scholarly research includes three primary strands, the study of sound and culture focused on religion and the environment, the audio essay as a form of sonic scholarship and pedagogical innovation, and new artistic research methodologies and practices at the intersection of spacialized media technologies, AI, and scientific research.
Her current research projects include; ‘NanoResonance,’ an investigation into modes of creative expression made possible by combining 3D audio and video in conjunction with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence methods to express data at the nanoscale; ‘Pandemic Vibrations,’ sound-based research on the environmental impacts of COVID-19 on the emotional and physical well-being of humans through explorations of the power of indigenous musical traditions and instrumentation; ‘Surround Sound Across the South China Sea,’ a digital humanities project centered around the Friendship scroll of Chinese Modernist artist and writer Ling Shuhua, focusing on the links between the twenty two participants on the scroll and the connections between The Bloomsbury group in England and the Crescent Moon Society in China; and a book project ‘Sonic Encounters of the Islamic Call to Prayer,” which explores ethnographic first encounters making field recordings of the Islamic Call to Prayer around the globe.
In addition to the articles she has written, and the talks she has given, Dr. Chester has shown her work in a variety of galleries, exhibition spaces, and online forums in the United States, India, Sweden, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia. Some of these works include: Sonic Storyboard of the Islamic Call to Prayer, IAC Black Gallery, Sweden 2019; Jungle Dreamscape, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney 2018; Theyyam Ritual, Nature, and People, Folklore Village, Kerala, India 2017; Theyyam Nilathezhuthu, Keezhara Gallery, Kannur, India 2016; Sonic Storyboard I, Gallery 4211 Abu Dhabi, UAE 2015; Everyday Life, IMA Hall Kerala, India, 2014; and Babel, New York University Gallery Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2010.
Dr. Chester has held a variety of visiting academic positions including at TISCH School of the Arts at New York University, and Yale-NUS College at the National University of Singapore. She has been an artist in residence at the NMEMNM Digital Residency for Music and Sound Cultures and at the Inter Arts Centre in Malmo, Sweden. She has been on the faculty at New York University Abu Dhabi, and Yale-NUS College, before joining the University of Sydney. Dr. Chester received a BA from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters Degree from Columbia University, and a Doctorate from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto. You can find more information on Dr. Diana Chester’s CV.