Diana Chester is a sound studies scholar, educator, and artist whose work produces critically influential studies, methods, and outputs that use sound to traverse disciplinary boundaries using feminist, de-colonial, and post-anthropocentric approaches to thinking and making. Their work draws from sound studies, archival studies, and ethnography and relies on field recording and composition to explore sound in diverse contexts by putting research and practice in direct conversation—deepening the capacities of both. Current projects include the study of sound and culture focused on religion and the environment, the audio essay as a form of sonic scholarship, and new artistic methods and practices to sonify scientific data sets.
Chester is the author of Sonic Encounters: The Islamic Call to Prayer, which gives a glimpse into the creative, methodological, and artistic implications of a 10-year research project making field recordings of (adhan) the Islamic call to prayer at mosques around the world. Chester’s broader body of work includes numerous journal articles, sonic compositions, and solo exhibitions in the United States, Australia, India, Sweden, Iceland, Mongolia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Chester is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Sydney, and has held visiting academic positions at NYU’s TISCH School of the Arts and Duke University. Chester has been commissioned by the Smithsonian, been resident artist at Inter Arts Centre in Malmo, Sweden (2019), ArtsIceland in Ísafjörður, Iceland (2022), and Red Corner in Mongolia (2023). Chester has been the recipient of a Sydney Environment Institute Collaborative Fellowship, named a Powerhouse Research Fellow at the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences, and currently holds a visiting scholar appointment at the Oxford Center for Life-Writing and the University of Oxford. Chester received a BA from Mount Holyoke College, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Porto.