Board of Directors
Sound artist, designer, educator.
Alex Braidwood is a sound artist, media designer, and educator who maintains a practice exploring issues of sustainability at the intersection of art and science. He has exhibited art, led workshops, lectured on his work, and performed live at a variety of events and venues throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has been an artist in residence in an Australian mountain village, on an Iowa farm, at a mid-western biological field research station, and on Isle Royale National Park. Alex is Director of the Artist-in-Residence program at Iowa Lakeside Lab field research station as well as Director of Graphic Design Graduate Education and faculty in the Human Computer Interaction program at Iowa State University. He is Artistic Director for Group Creatives, a Des Moines-based organization helping midwest cities develop and implement public art master plans. He also serves as Secretary for the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE) board of directors, president of the World Listening Project, and as MSAE representative on the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology board of directors.
Scholar, composer, educator, artist
Dr. Diana Chester is a sound studies scholar, composer, educator, and artist. Diana’s work uses sound to traverse disciplinary boundaries and explore sonic capacities core to the human condition, and as a tool to re-presence our historical past. This work draws from sound studies, archival studies, and the ethnographic study of expressive culture in religious festivals and traditions. Diana’s research is largely practice-based and relies on field recording and composition to explore sound in diverse contexts around the world working fluidly with multilingual, environmental, and data generated sounds. Current explorations 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 at the intersection of spacialized media technologies and scientific research. The work is driven by a desire to tell stories using sound, technology, and composition. Diana’s monograph, Sonic Encounters: The Islamic Call to Prayer is 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, and sits alongside a broader body of academic and creative work including numerous journal articles on sound, audio essays, and solo exhibitions in five countries. These include exhibitions at the InterArtsCenter in Sweden, Gallery25 in Perth Australia, Gallery 4211 in Abu Dhabi, and a forthcoming soundscape for the Smithsonian currently being developed for installation on the Mall in Washington, DC. Diana currently holds a lecturer position in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Sydney.
Artist, educator, nonprofit catalyst.
After years as a performing artist and director based in London, Rome and NYC, Deirdre Harrison settled in Chicago where she has served as a lead administrator in the nonprofit arts and education sectors for over two decades including: Snow City Arts, Eighth Blackbird and the first iteration of the Blackbird Creative Lab, Creative Partners, Civitas Ensemble, Rush Hour Concerts/Make Music Chicago, Music Institute of Chicago, and Baker Demonstration School. In 2014 with percussionist Kyle Gregory Price, she co-founded The Lucky Trikes, a literacy chamber band that performs in unexpected public spaces with Chicago’s top free jazz and new music artists. She has served on and assisted in the development of the nonprofit boards for the Actors’ Gymnasium, MOCREP ensemble, and New Music Chicago.
During the pandemic, Deirdre used her consulting and production practice Big Dipper Projects, Inc., to provide pro bono services to elder and less resourced artists as a contribution to equitable access to government, foundation, and other emergency funding. The Lucky Trikes secured funding and were able to employ a number of experimental musicians to produce music storytimes for children from her living room during this same period and complete their second recording, Listen! Listen! Listen!, a concept album for kids recorded at the Experimental Sound Studio and inspired by Monty Python and the resurgence of vinyl.
Deirdre grew up in Puerto Rico, Canada and across the USA and received her BA from Yale University and was the only American in her class at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in the first cohort to earn its three year acting certificate. In her acting days, she workshopped and premiered many new plays and European premieres of new American works and is the voice of Athena on Pete Townsend’s Psychoderelict. She is a dual national of USA/Eire, speaks Italian, and has been a proud member of the British Equity and Actors Equity Association unions for 30+ years. She is the Director of Advancement for Gateway Charitable Foundation, which provides treatment for substance use disorders and mental health challenges to over 40,000 individuals annually, in community and corrections settings across eight states. Her most heartfelt role is still being mother to Italian-American painter-activist Beatrice Tabacchi.
Pianist, educator, researcher
Pianist, educator, and sound researcher. Ph.D. Candidate in Arts at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL) in Mexico City. Piano teacher at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP). She holds a master’s degree in Piano Performance from Brooklyn College. As a pianist, Mora is interested in Contemporary music repertoire with a gender perspective. She has performed in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Her research focuses on experimental music and interdisciplinary practices by women and non-binary artists. She co-produces the MINGA radio program streamed weekly by Radio CASo (Centro de Arte Sonoro- Argentina). She collaborates with the platform MUSEXPLAT (Música Experimental Latinoamericana) where she also hosts a conversational virtual space called La Sobremesa as part of the same platform.
Sound artist, performance artist
Amanda Gutierrez (b. 1978, Mexico City) explores the experience of home, belonging, and cultural identity by bringing into focus details of everyday practices whose ordinary status makes it particularly hard for us to notice their key role in defining who we are. Trained and graduated initially as a stage designer from The National School of Theater, Gutiérrez uses a range of media such as sound art and performance art to investigate how these conditions of everyday life set the stage for our experiences and in doing so shape our individual and collective identities. Approaching these questions from immigrants’ perspectives continues to be of special interest to Gutiérrez, who completed her MFA in Media and Performance Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Most recently, Gutiérrez has focused especially on the role of sound in everyday experience, drawing on methods of urban studies and acoustic ecology. Through a regular use of participatory techniques such as soundwalk and drift (dérive) she implements her vision of art practice as a critical and empowering engagement with the everyday forces that remain below our ordinary threshold of attention. Accordingly, these techniques also constitute the core of the pedagogical practice Gutiérrez has developed over a decade of teaching in diverse settings ranging from high schools on Chicago’s South Side to a senior center on New York’s Upper West Side, including academic institutions such as the SAIC, Connecticut College, and Columbia University. Gutiérrez has held numerous art residencies in FACT Liverpool in the UK, ZKM in Germany, TAV in Taiwan, Bolit Art Center in Spain, and her work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as The Liverpool Biennale in 2012, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. A recipient of a grant from the National System of Art Creators, in Mexico, Gutiérrez is currently a resident at the New York Camera Club, preparing a solo exhibition for Baxter Gallery, in Manhattan.
Sound artist, archivist
J.L. Simonson is a universal community member and sound artist enamored by transgressive temporalities, the sonic power of diaspora, and the potential energy of interstellar listening. They use forgotten and found sounds in addition to piano, guitar, and synthesizers to create installations and electroacoustic compositions. Multidimensional lensing, trauma-informed compassion, and intersectional justice are the guides of their professional and creative practice.
They are a two-time recipient of both the PRAXIS Career and Susan Rose Scholarships in Musical Advancement, as well as a Northampton Arts Council Community Arts Grant recipient. Their creative work has also been supported by The Pauline Oliveros Trust, Ministry of Maåt, Great Lakes Association of Sound Studies, The Jones Institute, Hampshire College, Temple University, the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, and the Chicago Parks District.
Sound artist, educator
Gurkan Maruf Mihci is Assistant Professor at IUPUI Herron School of Art and Design and pursues his PhD at Istanbul Institute of Design. He has his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design (Bilkent University) and, Master of Arts in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design (Sabanci University) with a concentration in Audio Visual Noise and Glitch. He also has a Central European University Graduate Certificate in Culture and Politics.
Whale song and spring peeper choruses, coyote yawps and saxophone skronks, creek babbles and predawn wave crashes, rolling thunder geophony and the sound of a garden at night — these are some of Dan’s favorite things. He is a Chicago-based educator and artist, and is among WLP’s founders.