Nightsniffing: a walk exploring bats, data and urban change

9 September 2021


Venue: Starting at Remakery, Brixton

Organiser: Cliff Hammett

This is a bat walk with a difference. A search not just for hidden urban bats, but also data systems that shape change in the city. All are welcome!

Bats are common in London, but often go unnoticed. They roost in roofs and trees, and forage in parks, gardens and waterways. What’s more, they are vulnerable to the churn of development. Buildings they roost in may be knocked down, features they navigate by might be changed, or new lighting could disrupt their feeding spots. Bats are protected by law, so bats can also affect how the city changes – though these protections are not always up to the job.

Like bats in the dark, the systems, decisions, and forces that reshape our city can be difficult to perceive, even as they benefit some and displace others. So as we search for bats, we’ll investigate systems and processes that affect all the city’s inhabitants.

How? Together we’ll explore the area with bat detectors and special-made “datasniffers”. The bat detectors let us hear the high frequency calls bats use to echolocate. The datasniffers let us hear the presence of records from a London planning database, hinting at how the city is changing.

After, we’ll talk about our experience of the walk using the devices. We’ll make space to reflect on how the area is changing, the effects on humans, bats and others, and how we might like things to be different.

Places are limited, so please sign up via eventbrite.