Listening to the zoo: challenging zoo visiting conventions

Tom Rice, Adam Reed, Alexander Badman-King, Sam Hurn, Paul Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


In academic discourse, zoos have often been conceptualised as places of spectacle, with scholars focusing on the ways in which these institutions enable the viewing of other-than-human animals by human publics. This article, however, describes a set of guided listening visits conducted at two UK zoos. The visits were designed to question, disrupt and offer alternatives to ingrained zoo visiting conventions. They were also used to generate data on how sound mediates, or has the potential to mediate, relations between zoo visitors and zoo animals. The article describes the visits, reflects on their conceptual underpinnings and discusses themes emerging from participants’ experiences. It demonstrates the relevance of listening walks as a research methodology and illustrates the complexity of sound as a form of multispecies entanglement in the zoo context. The listening visits are also shown to indicate potential directions for wider changes in zoo visiting culture.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date13 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Sept 2021


  • Animals
  • Listening walks
  • Sound
  • Soundwalking
  • Zoos


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