Mark Ferguson is a wildlife sound recordist and electroacoustic composer, whose work explores the unique and intricate sonic detail of the natural world.


Currently a full-time PhD student at the University of Birmingham, his research focuses on multichannel acousmatic composition.

Drawing exclusively from an ever-growing recording library of species, soundscapes and abiotic phenomena, Mark deconstructs, processes and rearranges sounds from nature, creating intricate, large-scale audio works using programming languages and other specialised software.

A substantial component of this practice-led research explores the relationship between sound recording and acousmatic composition: in particular, how the inherent methodologies of wildlife sound recording inform creative work in the studio, and how intensive, studio-based sonic manipulation influences subsequent work in the field.

Finished compositions are projected through the University's internationally-renowned BEAST sound system, which is capable of mounting multichannel configurations of up to 100 loudspeakers and is one of the largest of its type worldwide.

Other areas of interest include: the broader practice of field recording and its associated technologies, methodologies, pedagogy and online community; approaches to wildlife sound archiving and curation; the historical development of wildlife sound recording; and cross-disciplinary conservation projects.

Mark's work is jointly supervised by Annie Mahtani and Scott Wilson.

Mark's recordings have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, mentioned by the Guardian and publicised by conservation organisations such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Woodland Trust and WWT.

He has also released a number of conservation-focused projects exploring the narrative potential of wildlife sound recording. The most recent — Bumble — is being promoted by BBCT as part of an ongoing series of location-based entries, following his long-term search for the sounds of all 25 UK bumblebee species.

In his spare time, Mark creates short environmental films and audio-visual works using open-source software and modified microcomputers. Plastic (2016) — a film exploring oceanic plastic pollution — was selected for screening during the opening ceremony of the 2016 NaturVision Film Festival in Ludwigsberg, Germany, and received widespread praise from environmental groups such as WWF, IUCN and ORCA.

Prior to studying at the University of Birmingham, Mark was employed as Product Engineer and Technical Support Advisor at Rycote: an industry-leading manufacturer of microphone windshielding and vibration reduction technologies.

Reporting directly to the CTO, his role focused on new product development and testing within purpose-built audio facilities. He also coordinated the majority of the company's technical support channels, advising leading sound professionals — many of whom work on internationally renowned documentaries, dramas, films and video games — on audio equipment selection and maintenance.

In support of the company's Marketing Team, he conducted several, high-profile interviews with prominent sound recordists and designers, working with the CMO and Marketing Executive on various elements of the Rycote website.

Freelance work prior to this employment involved various elements of production and post-production audio, including sound design and editing for several environmental films promoting the work of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, a short documentary on the conservation of Brazil's Atlantic Forest (narrated by Michael Palin), and an interview with environmental activist and writer George Monbiot.

Mark holds a MusM in Electroacoustic Music Composition with Distinction from the University of Manchester, and a BMus in Music with First-Class Honours from Queen's University Belfast.

During his time at Queen's, he received two consecutive scholarships for academic excellence, a travel scholarship for binaural field recording research, a Degree Plus award for extensive contribution to musical ensembles and an AHRC BGP Studentship for Postgraduate Research.

Mark is currently a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Wildlife Sound Recording Society.

His ongoing PhD research is supported by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (formerly Midlands3Cities), funded by the AHRC.