Nikki Sheth

Department of Music
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD Title: The transformation of sounds in site-specific multichannel soundscape composition
Supervisors: Dr Annie Mahtani & Dr Scott Wilson
PhD Musical Composition




  • BA Music, Oxford Brookes University (2009 – 2012)
  • BA Music (one semester exchange), Queensland University of Technology (2011)
  • MusM Electroacoustic Composition, University of Manchester (2013 – 14)


Nikki Sheth is a sound artist currently pursuing a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at The University of Birmingham. Her main focus is on site-specific multichannel soundscape composition. She is currently investigating approaches to the treatment of field recordings within soundscape composition, including compositional methodologies used within electroacoustic music and those used within installation/sound art contexts.

She has extensive field recording experience, using specialist equipment having been on various field recording residencies in the past. In 2016, she worked alongside Chris Watson and Jez riley French on a field recording workshop to Orford Ness, in 2017 she went on a field recording residency to Mmabolela, South Africa with Francisco Lopez and in 2018 she attended an Experimental Composition and Performance residency in the Pyrenees with Eli Keszler.

Her work has most recently been presented as part of The Global Composition (Darmstadt), Sound + Environment (Hull), Balance Unbalance (Plymouth), Perspectives on Listening (Brisbane) and various BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) events. She was Assistant to the SOUNDkitchen sound walk that took place as part of Invisible Places Festival (Azores) and was working as Marketing Assistant and Technical Assistant for BEAST from 2017-19. She is currently teaching the Studio Composition module at UoB.


Studio Composition (first year music module)

Doctoral research

PhD title
The transformation of sounds in site-specific multichannel soundscape composition
Dr Annie Mahtani and Professor Scott Wilson


My practice-led research project examines the relationship between environmental recordings and the transformation process, investigating what constitutes a soundscape composition and if there remain clear distinctions between field recording, soundscape composition and acousmatic works - ultimately, to identify where my work fits in to this.

Throughout my research, I have become increasingly aware and involved in the areas of sound studies and acoustic ecology and the use of field recording in the archival and study of sounds within the context of a soundscape composition.

Integral to my research is the composition of a portfolio of compositions concerned with the sonic identity of a place that aims to:

1)      Present musical representations of physical spaces and locations;

2)      Explore the transformation process of environmental sound objects and articulate these materials musically (either through the narration of natural sounds or more abstract transformation processes);

3)      Explore multichannel field recording and compositional techniques that allow me to create immersive representations of the 360º environment.

Interviews have taken place with Prof. Jonty Harrison (Director of BEAST), Chris Watson (BBC Sound Recordist), Dr Leah Barclay (Australian sound artist, AFAE president), Francisco Lopez (sound artist) and others in attempt to gain insight of different artistic approaches to the use of field recordings and investigate the categorisation of works from the composers’ perspective. Interviews may inform my compositional methodology, inspire specific pieces or provide new ways of dealing with environmental sounds.

Current projects focus on recordings from a field trip to Orford Ness Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest with limited public access due to its history as an atomic weaponry testing site, field recordings from the ‘Sonic Mmabolela’ field recording residency, South Africa in 2017 and a commission by the Research and Cultural Collections at The University of Birmingham for the ‘Sound Sculptures’ project.

Other activities

UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (UKISC)


  • Sheth, N. (2018). ‘Paddabolela’, in Breitsameter, S. and Karakiz, C. (eds.) The Global Composition 2018: conference on sound, ecology, and media culture. Hochschule Darmstadt: Service Printmedien, pp. 470 – 473.
  • Various Artists. (2017). ‘Padddabolela’, Sonic Mmabolela 2017. [online] Free Music Archive.
  • Various Artists. (2017). ‘Orford Grass’, Frameworks #609: 2017.07.30 [pheobe riley law & jez riley french]. [online] Framework Radio.

Conference performances

  • Paddabolela, Multichannel Installation, The Global Composition 2018, Darmstadt, 2018
  • Paddabolela, Ecoacoustics Congress Conference, Brisbane, 2018
  • Paddabolela, BEAST FEAST 2018
  • Orford Ness, Perspectives on Listening, Brisbane, 2017
  • Orford Ness, Multichannel Installation, Balance Unbalance 2017
  • Orford Ness performance, Sound + Environment 2017