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School of Media Arts at Southern Illinois University

Jay Needham web

Jay Needham is a sound artist, musician, visual artist, writer-editor and cultural producer who utilizes multiple creative platforms to produce his works, many of which have a focus on sound and site specific field research. As a hearing-divergent person, Needham makes work that often involves sensing and experiencing audible sound and vibration across many modalities. His sound art, works for radio, visual art, performances and installations have appeared at museums, festivals and on the airwaves, worldwide. His most recent sound installation is on permanent display in the BioMuseo, designed by Frank Gehry in The Republic of Panama.

Needham is the founding co-editor of Resonance: The Journal of Sound and Culture, published by The University of California Press. His writing appears in the books Hearing Places: Sound, Place, Time, Culture and Moving Sounds: A Cultural History of the Car Radio. His research has been published in the journals, Exposure, Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology and Leonardo Music Journal. Needham is also a Research Associate with the Library of Congress Sound Submissions Project. He has been invited to speak and present his work at many notable programs including the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, California Institute of the Arts and the School of the Art Institute, Chicago.

Needham lives with his family and two dogs in the rural Midwestern town of Carbondale Illinois where he is a Professor and Director of MFA Graduate Studies in the School of Media Arts at Southern Illinois University. He received his MFA from The School of Art at California Institute of the Arts.

Research projects / interests:

  • Artistic and philosophical practices, planetwide
  • Sound studies
  • Ecology of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Earth care and love  

For recordings, and to get in touch, visit:

Keywords: Extreme environments, Humanities, Stewardship, Art and Ecology