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A Space for Sound -The Arches Sound Project

A Space for Sound – The Arches Sound Project is a listening space located in the historic centre of Newcastle University. The space brings together temporary sound pieces from a range of practitioners and researchers working across the University. 

This series of temporary sound installations brings our Arches to life throughout the term – read on to find out what you can expect to hear as you walk through campus. 

Each piece will be played on the hour, with the first iteration at 6am and the final iteration at 10pm.

About the project In early 2022 the Institute for Creative Arts Practice invited colleagues and students to submit their ideas as part of a programme of sound installations. 

The response was fantastic, and the resulting programme brings together and presents diverse sound-based work/research from a range of practitioners and researchers working across the University as well as projects with our external collaborators and partners 

The project team includes Professor Richard Talbot, Mel Whewell and Mel Robson from the Institute for Creative Arts Practice. Technical aspects of the project are supported by PhD students from the School of Arts & Cultures (Music) and includes David de la Haye and Stuart Arnot.
The Humanities Research Institute and the Institute for Social Science are also partners in the project. 

Programme: January - May 2024

May 13th - 19th 

Chant and Moan
Composed and Performed by Adam Soper (PhD Candidate in Music, School of Arts and Cultures)

This work combines environmental sounds with composed digital instruments and improvised acoustic guitar. In featuring environmental sounds, the work intends to reintegrate the everyday with musical production but, more significantly, it refuses to separate the mundane from the sublime, with sounds of bin lorries, rain, and musical instruments being all viewed as equal collaborators in the work. Mistakes in the performance are preserved throughout, promoting a process and space of creation over a polished product.

Chant and Moan attempts to uncover knowledge through the dual modes of improvisation and repetition, along with a 'tuning oneself' to the outside world (as opposed to the frequent 'shutting out' of the world around found in many musical recorded products). This can be observed both in the environmental sounds, and in the guitar, which was 'tuned to' the performance space prior to recording. The improvisation is itself an exploration of this unknown tuning system, a losing and finding of musical material in the familiar-yet-unknown.

This work is a single work selected from an online archive (named Fruit of the Vine) that forms Adam Soper's PhD portfolio. Each element of this archive deals with questions concerning the observation of ritual, improvisation, and attempting to both reveal and conceal occluded knowledge through the process of musical creation.

The work installed in the Arches can also be found and re-listened to here:

The Fruit of the Vine archive can be found here:  

Adam welcomes any questions/comments about the work, or to discuss collaborations. 

Visit the composer’s website


January 22nd - 29th 

A Song for Ella Grey
Music and words from the opening of the new stage production of A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond, adapted for the stage by Zoe Cooper and with music by Emily Levy.

A Song for Ella Grey is a retelling of the Orpheus myth set in Newcastle, starting on a grassy slope outside the Cluny pub and travelling up the Northumberland Coast. It follows a group of teenagers as they navigate love, loss and growing up. Zoe is a playwright and Senior Lecturer in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University. Emily Levy the composer for the production says she has been influenced by the folk songs and sounds of Northumberland. Drawing on the magic and mythical retelling of the myth the music in ‘A Song for Ella Grey’ serves as a through point from the ancient history of the beautiful coast, the lives of modern teenagers and folk traditions from the North East. The play opens at Northern Stage (1-14th of February) before touring nationally. A Song for Ella Grey - Pilot Theatre (

You can hear more about the play on Front Row, 30th of January, 2024 available BBC Radio 4 - Front Row, Jonny Greenwood of The Smile, the Artes Mundi prize winner (it is the second item, so about 15 minutes in)


Programme: October - November 2023

October 2nd-8th

Working for Scotswood
During winter 2022/2023, the adult volunteers and staff at Scotswood Garden worked on restoring the large pond that is home to rare newts and other wildlife. The garden is a restorative space and an educational resource for the local community. 

In our cities, much of the work we do makes us sick, and makes the planet and our communities poorer rather than richer. We urgently need to find ways of living in cities that nourish and protect us and our communities, helping us grow with rather than against nature.

The “Working for Scotswood” research project is funded by The Catherine Cookson Foundation and the Global Urban Research Unit, both at Newcastle University.

The research was co-produced by staff and volunteers at Scotswood Garden: Keith Bosomworth, Sean Clay, Leanne Defty, Andy Downey, Keith Gordon, Jenny Hopper, Duran Hunt, Ryan Keenan, Jean Matovu, Claire Metcalfe, Gillian Milne, Robert Milne, Clarice Ngangmeneu, Gilly Reid, Ken Thompson, Daniel Wansell, Paul Danher and Matthew Wilkinson.

Photography by Paul Danher, volunteer, Scotswood Garden. The research was led by Abby Schoneboom (Lecturer in Urban Planning, School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape) with help from student Eliza Chown (Stage 3, BA Urban Planning).

For more information about the project, contact: 

October 16th-22nd

One Minute

Poet Tara Bergin writes about the process of turning her short poem ‘The Seasons Dance’ into a sound piece for under the Arches
Hello. It may take you longer to read this description than it does to listen to the short piece it describes. Why is it never easy to write about the creative process? There are so many tangled threads, so much over-crowdedness, even behind a piece as condensed and controlled as this. 

The poem ‘The Seasons Dance’ is the first of a poetic sequence called ‘Four Dances’ that features in my book Savage Tales (Carcanet, 2022) 

The sequence was initially inspired by watching a documentary about the German dance choreographer Pina Bausch. Some of the dances in that film made a strong impression on me and I set about trying to describe them in poetic form. 

But it was frustrating trying to transcribe a dance in words! After many failed attempts I realised that all of the ‘poeticising’ or lyrical flourishes on my part were ruining the harsh rigour, and the awkward, ordinary-theatrical tension of the dances themselves. I discovered that what I liked best was when I made the writing as flat as possible, almost like a set of instructions. A certain voice emerged: the speaker of the poems had a particular kind of stance: direct, immediate, yet also keeping us at a distance. 

As I worked on the poems I began to see a new meaning hidden beneath the surface. My version of ‘The Seasons Dance’ became not simply a poem about the changing year, but also a poem about a span of an existence, from hope, to failure, to rising up again, fighting. With this in mind, when it came to making the poem into an audio piece, I wanted to create the sense of a poetic translation – one that starts to reveal meaning within the gaps and errors it generates.

Tara has collaborated on the production of this sound work with sound artist David de la Haye. His interest in music and sound is kaleidoscopic. Opportunities to support projects such as this allow him to explore his technical side. In this case he developed a 4-channel variation of the original stereo audio, adding depth and playing with the gaps in the text through aural relocation. David is undertaking a PhD in Music, researching freshwater soundscapes.
Find out more about David's work here:

For more information about this work contact:
Tara Bergin

Senior Lecturer in Writing Poetry (Creative Writing)
School of English Literature, Language a& Linguistics

Newcastle University

November 13th-18th

Ordinary Light
A new soundwork by James Clay (PGR Music), is comprised of a week-long installation in the University Arches, as well as a series of live Carillon recitals performed by the City Carillonneur Jonathan Bradley. The installation, based on manipulated recordings of the Carillon bells, will be played all week in the Arches, while Jon will be performing four one-hour recitals of the piece (recital schedule below). During the recital slots, listeners are invited to walk freely between the Arches and the Civic Centre Gardens (across the road from the bottom of campus) to hear the two components of the work being played at the same time.

A pre-recital talk will be given by the composer (James Clay) and the performer (Jonathan Bradley) Armstrong Building 2.09, Monday 13th November, 13:00–13:45

Recital Schedule (Civic Centre Gardens)
Monday 13 November 14:00–15:00
Tuesday 14 November 19:00–20:00
Friday 17 November 18:00–19:00
Saturday 18 November 15:00–16:00

Programme: June - July 2023

June 19th-23rd

Sanctuaries of Sound (RES 01)
For Refugee Week 2023, a collaborative sound installation made by The Resonators - a collective of people with lived refugee experience, with West End Refugee Service, Skimstone Arts’ Claire Webster Saaramets' and artist Martin Heslop. Together they have been exploring the urban and natural soundscape of Newcastle, listening, field-recording and writing, to collectively compose this immersive multilingual piece. This is part of the 'Sanctuary Songs Festival' at the University, and is the first of an ongoing, evolving series of work. 'RES 02' will be a second installation in the Arches for the MSA conference in early July (more details to follow). 'RES 03' will be exhibited at the Ouseburn Festival on Jul 15th and 16th.

Programme: February - March 2023

February 13th-19th

Dawn Gardener
An old Zen story tells of a monk who asks “Without speaking, without silence, how can you express the truth?” In response, the master Fuketsu observes: “…The birds sing among innumerable kinds of fragrant flowers.” My piece Dawn Gardener adds tones played upon electric bass to the flowers that surround the outside of the Arches. Recordings of singing birds will also be installed there, and inside these recordings sound also the sounds of making recordings. Passing through the space beneath the Arches, or stopping for a moment, what can you observe? What is inside and what is out?

Jorge Boehringer, Composer, Sound Artist & Research Associate, School of Arts & Cultures

February 20th-26th

Active Listening, Personal Odyssey
This body of work autoethnographically explores how active listening democratises sound, through the lens of my own hearing impairment. It reflects my own listening practice as a coping mechanism and its wider applications, tracing a path through internal and external, micro and macro, sonic universes. Sound and music are separated only by the listener, and this project explores captured sound environments and musical responses to them to demonstrate how listening becomes composition. The goal is to encourage a guided mental state with a focus on a time-distorting understanding of listening that consolidates memory, absorption and anticipation.

Elliot Hayes-Clare, Sound Artist and PGR, School of Arts & Cultures


February 27th-March 5th

Basic Sound
Rob Blazey is a musician, artist and researcher whose PhD explores the methods and intentions of visual collage-artists (particularly Eduardo Paolozzi) and applies the unique affordances of their practices to various aspects of musical performance ecologies, including studio-based composition, instrument making, performance, sound-art and sculpture.

Basic Sound was created in response to Harriet Sutclffe’s sculpture ‘Single Form’ from her 2018 exhibition ‘Re-frame/ Re-model’. Sutcliffe’s work investigates the pioneering teaching methods of the ‘Basic Course’ devised and developed by artists Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore in the 50s and 60s at Newcastle University (with ideas and guest lectures contributed by other artists, including Paolozzi).

Blazey’s response to Sutcliffe’s work is made entirely from manipulated audio recordings of the steel sculpture, from the sounds of the metalworking processes leading to its realisation, to bowing and striking the finished piece.

For the original exhibition, three speaker assemblages were made entirely from woodwork studio off-cuts and reclaimed audio circuitry, adopting a material-led, collage-based approach employed by Paolozzi during development of the Basic Course. Exploring the potential for non-fixity within collage, the audio is composed of three separate inter-related elements of different looped lengths, allowing relationships and juxtapositions between the three to continually evolve throughout the piece’s duration.

Rob Blazey, Musician, Artist & PGR, School of Arts & Cultures


March 6th-12th

Traces brings voices that are rarely heard on Newcastle University’s campus into the symbolically and literally central space of the Arches. It’s the co-creation of artist Dr Kate Sweeney and mother and daughter Abigail Byron and Cheryl Byron, women of colour performers based in Newcastle. Traces records their reflections on the experience of working with feminist theatre company Open Clasp and its director Catrina McHugh MBE to make the theatre production Don’t forget the birds (2018), which explores the impact on their lives of time Cheryl spent in prison. The women’s voices capture the lived experience of familial intimacy traumatically ruptured by a prison sentence, and movingly evoke the rebuilding of that intimacy, a process vitally supported by their work with Open Clasp.

Kate Chedgzoy, Professor of Renaissance Literature, School of English Literature, Language & Linguistics, Dr Kate Sweeney, artist, Abigail Byron & Cheryl Byron, Open Clasp and its Artistic Director Catrina McHugh.


March 13th-19th

Inside Talks
An audio project consisting of 2 channel pieces. The two recordings are field recordings, each lasting 3 hours. The aim of the project is to reproduce the two sounds simultaneously to create an immersive sound installation within the iconic Arches of the Newcastle University campus. The first audio was recorded in Bologna in July 2021, without the participants knowing. The voices that emerge are those of 3 friends who meet again after a long period of time without seeing each other, who have decided to get together to make a spree. The boys are Italian and during the 3 hours they spend at home, before going out, they tell each other what has happened and what will happen in their lives. The second audio, audibly more monotonous, was recorded on a Sunday morning in January 2022. In this case, only one of the previous participants remains: the artist, who does not utter a single word. The audio focuses on the humming noises of the city of Newcastle. Positioned near the window, the microphone captures the noises of machines, strangers, footsteps, seagulls… The dualities of noise and silence, internal and external, spoken word and thought are the values on which the work reflects.

Francesco Bendini, Artist & former exchange student, Fine Art, School of Arts & Culturestrina McHugh.


March 20th-26th

Taal Yatra
Opera North has always been interested in the music of non-Western classical cultures. This is why this electrifying piece was commissioned. A shared curiosity to explore diverse voices underpins the exciting new collaboration between Opera North and Newcastle University.

“Taal Yatra means ‘journey of rhythm’, a spiritual journey. Each player performs solo, and then, slowly, all of the drums from these three different traditions come together, and we end up with all of us playing in a big crescendo. In Indian music we measure rhythm in taal, which are repeated cycles. The first beat of the taal, the sum, is always the centre point: that’s where all the excitement, the crescendos and the loud stuff comes; it’s also the place where everything dissolves and comes together again. The taal is what we improvise around in South Asian music.  I based the recording on teen taal, a cycle of 16 beats, which is essentially a 4/4 rhythm. If I had said ‘teen taal’ to Sidiki and Arian I don’t think it would have meant much to them, yet they were able to pick up on it straight away, because rhythm is such a universal language. That’s the message of the piece, really. I played a lot of traditional tabla repertoire within the taal, and Sidiki and Arian drew on their own traditions. We were all on the same page and they contributed to it beautifully: there’s no better way to bring people together than with music!” - Shahbaz Hussain

Shahbaz Hussain with Arian Sadr and Sidiki Dembele, Musicians

Commissioned and produced by Opera North Projects


Programme: January - February 2023

January 9th-15th

The Old Pottery Murmarations
The Old Pottery is a Scheduled Ancient Monument in Corbridge, a former family-owned fireclay pottery that produced a wide range of goods including firebricks, pipes and tiles, from the 1840s to 1930s.  The complex includes two imposing bottle kilns, and houses a cottage, home to the Goodalls, who are currently devising possibilities for the site with the help of a team of architects, landscape architects…and listeners. 

The Old Pottery is also our sonic laboratory where we are testing the different roles that listening and sounding can play in landscape design; from listening as a vehicle to unearth the identity of a place, to listening with non-human others and designing from an established kinship.  The soundings included in this piece move us away from the familiar comforts of top-down mapping, planning and drawing, which, although useful tools for any spatial designer, can also provide a distance from the experiential aspects of a place. Instead, we work from an internal position, listening and sounding outwardly to narrate the Old Pottery’s story experientially. These experimental soundings neither document the site nor represent landscape proposals, rather, they are situated in between; speculations that helps us relate to the site and its inhabitants whilst we envisage potential futures.

Usue Ruiz Aranalecturer in Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Dan Hill, Research Assistant, School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

January 16th-22nd

Everything Will Be Alright
A multi layered four channel audio installation in which the voices of my mother and I relay phrases of reassurance, in varying tones and volumes, from multiple directions. The footage is looped seamlessly.

I first created this piece in 2016, following the news that my Mum had been diagnosed with brain cancer. At the time I was studying a Fine Art Masters at Newcastle University. Each morning I would walk to the studio and there’d be a soundtrack of internal and external voices going through my head. Some of these voices were comforting, reminding me of how my Mum and I would try to reassure and encourage each other, but other sayings seemed ridiculous and inconsiderate; how a stranger could tell me that “Everything will be alright” even when they knew very little about my Mum’s circumstances? I became interested in the way that the same words can be interpreted completely differently depending on how they are spoken. Initially I recorded my own voice, and then asked my Mum if I could record her voice too. The recording session was a really emotional experience, and as I edited all the footage we didn’t know whether my Mum would be alive to hear it exhibited as a sound installation. I am delighted to say that she was able to attend the exhibition opening and is still very much alive and fighting like a trooper - a truly inspirational woman.

I am fascinated by the power of the context (both physical situation and temporal) to influence the interpretation of the work. I have since exhibited the artwork in a number of different contexts.

Helen Shaddock, Multidisciplinary Artist, Arts Facilitator and Newcastle University graduate (Fine Art Masters).

January 23rd-29th

40 minutes (looped) field sound recordings featuring Woodcock performing ‘roding’ courtship flight plus Nightjars ‘churring’ and calling.

Selections from around eight hours of recording over six nights at dusk in May and June 2021 in Slaley Forest and near Healey, Northumberland.

Woodcock have red listed UK conservation status due to severe declines in breeding numbers. During the roding display the male patrols just above tree height calling with strange squeaks and croaks. The bird is secretive and usually camouflaged within leaves on the forest floor. Counting flyovers by roding males is used to estimate population densities.

The Nightjar is amber listed and only occurs as a summer visitor in a few locations in the UK. The males emit a curious drawn-out churring sound that is unbird-like. They also have a high pitch call in flight. They are nocturnal and hunt for moths at dusk.

The recordings were made as part of my arts practice-based PhD considering what it is like to be a bird. In this work I am aiming to introduce others to an unfamiliar bird sounds and environments that may help us to contemplate avian worlds.

Jim Lloyd, PhD Candidate in Fine Art, School of Arts & Cultures


January 30th-February 5th

Passing Through

family   home   belonging   heritage   resilience   good times   hard times   displaced people    rebuilding lives in a new country   then    and now   

Manchester Jewish Museum (MJM) holds over 500 oral history testimonies. As sources of evidence, these nuanced first-hand accounts capture the lived experience of Jewish migration, settlement, and acculturation into British society. In 1978 Rebecca Casket was interviewed about her experience by Dr Ros Livshin. The original cassette tape is held in MJM’s oral history collection. This sound installation is part of a wider project sculpting a series of page and audio poems: collaged, spliced together and arising from the archive. Beginning with 'Pass', which won Imtiaz Dhaker's inaugural Chancellor's Poetry Prize, six poems play once, at 10 minute intervals. The cycle repeats on the hour from 6am - 10pm. 

Kitty Martin has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University. Alongside writing, Kitty is an actor / theatre maker and communications coach. 



LGBTQ+ Encounters
‘LGBTQ+ Encounters’ mixes and captures 12 oral history recordings of 12 LGBTQ+ people who live the North-East. It approaches their experiences through the prism of ordinary life and uses oral history to open the usually private dialogue of personal experiences to the public.  This creates an exchange which is both intimate and public; private and unguarded. In the recordings, we hear people from diverse worlds, transgressing the hierarchical power and political structures that have underpinned and defined LGBTQ+ life.  The recordings are testimonies give a voice to the often invisible, minoritized identities, experiences, behaviours and living conditions of different social groups. In each the particularity of the North-East and the uniqueness of the individuals within that context evolve and twist to the next. There is no political or ideological purpose in this approach, only the desire to create a sound piece that doesn’t stand apart from everyday life but rather illuminates it by becoming part of it, a new encounter, and a fresh conversation about and within the public space. 

Gareth Longstaff, Deputy Head Media Culture & Heritage, School of Arts & Cultures

Rashida Davison, Globe Gallery


June to December 2022 

June 15th-17th

One Key Magic 

One Key Magic is one of the highlights of the British International Studies Association 2022 conference, held for the first time at Newcastle University. For nearly 60 years RAF Fylingdales has tracked all human made objects launched into Low Earth Orbit to distinguish signs and give warning of a nuclear attack from space. For this reason, retired space crews have called space operations a geo-political practice. This work will make audible the electrical and sonic landscape of space operations and geopolitical practices on Fylingdales Moor. 

Michael Mulvihill, Artist & Research Associate (Co-I) AHRC Turning Fylingdales Inside Out: Making practice visible and the UK’s ballistic missile early warning and space monitoring station. School of Geography, Politics and Sociology 

Co-convenor Military War and Security Research Group 

June 24
th -30th  

One Day Changes  
These pieces form part of One Day Changes which is a joint exhibition by Skimstone Arts' Associate Artists and photojournalists Ako Ismail from Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Shahor Omar from Kirkuk, Iraq who now live in the North East of England with lived refugee experience. The exhibition shows how in one day something so dramatic and life-changing forces people, including children, who were leading normal lives, suddenly to become refugees fleeing their homes, and as survivors look for a safe place. 
Skimstone Arts, an artist led, multi arts organisation, passionate about working with diverse Associate Artists and communities.

Theresa Easton, Artist & Lecturer in Fine Arts (Printmaking), Fine Art, Schools of Arts & Cultures  
David Baine, Journalist & Senior Lecturer, Media & Cultural Studies, School of Arts & Cultures 


July 4th-7th  

Reclaim the Streets – running as feminist activity 
I use running and my body as an instrument in a methodical exploration and examination of the challenges women face. I reveal how running creates an unconscious confidence, but also exposes the limitations or constraints of women’s access to the city and society raising questions of visibility, the female flaneur and patriarchal systems. The running process reveals and generates stories of people, place and societies of wunners. 

The sounds of this installation follow the traces left behind by my female feet, my female breath, my female experience and creates a sound constellation of the lived experience of the wunner. 

Sarah Ackland, Architect & PhD Candidate, School of Architect Planning & Landscape 


July 19th – 26th 

Walking Festival of Sound
Walking Festival of Sound is a transdisciplinary event exploring the role of walking through and listening to our everyday surroundings. It combines public events including walking performances, walking seminars and listening sessions, all taking place in diverse public spaces and online. Walking Festival of Sound facilitates a meeting point for the international network of practitioners and researchers interested in sound and walking. Through diverse events we explore how walking and listening practices can augment and challenge the way we perceive, navigate through, and care for our shared environments. This year’s Walking Festival of Sound is taking place in Vancouver and Seoul.  

Tim Shaw, Sound artist & Lecturer in Digital Media, School of Arts & Cultures 


August 20 – Sept 3rd

A walk round Contención Island 
November 2020 and a second lockdown. This was an attempt to get infection rates down to allow a break at Christmas. Because of the government’s distaste for restrictions of freedoms this was introduced as being for a fixed time - 28 days. As with the first lockdown, I had the question of an artistic response. So … having spent the spring lockdown creating Contención Island I now planned to walk its edge, to walk the shoreline of the island and, in so doing, to also mark off the days of lockdown.  

With a compass in the middle of the island, I measured 28 equal angles (of 12.9 degrees) and, where each cut the island rim produced 28 stretches of coastline – all of different lengths. I walked one each day, clockwise, and rebuilt the entire island; the order in which I walk the sections was determined by chance – over 28 days, re-building an island across time. Each walk was recorded in sound, poetry and line.   

Martin Eccles, Sound artist & PhD Candidate, School of Arts & Cultures 


October 17th-23rd  

Blood, bone, crone: menopausal musings from here and there 
The journey through menopause is as unique as every woman who experiences it but there remains a certain stigma about talking about this phase of our lives as if somehow we should be ashamed of our sweaty bodies and befuddled minds.  The voices you hear in this this piece come from a series of workshops with women in Newcastle and Makerere (Uganda) which took place in autumn 2021, where they talked about their own menopause experiences, both as embodied and felt but also in relation to others’ responses, including their GPs, the line managers and co-workers, as well as friends and family.  The primary output of the project is an 18-minute animated film and the soundtrack which comprises this piece is the audio track from the film. The film and the artworks created by the participants as they told their stories, was first exhibited in the Long Gallery, King Edward VI Building, in July 2022 and is currently on display in the foyer of the Catalyst building, Newcastle Helix, 17-23 October 2022 to celebrate World Menopause Day (18 October)

Karen Ross, Professor of Gender and Media, School of Arts and Cultures

Collaborator and animator: Sheryl Jenkins

October 24th-30th

Following the Flight of the Monarchs 
An interdisciplinary acoustic ecology project led by Dr Rob Mackay, bringing together artists and scientists, connecting with ecosystems and communities along the migration routes of monarch butterflies as they travel the 3,000 mile journey between Mexico and Canada each year. Streamboxes are being installed along the monarch butterfly migration routes between Canada and Mexico. These livestream the soundscapes of these different ecosystems 24/7 via the Locus Sonus Soundmap ( ). The streams are being used for ecosystem monitoring as well as integrating into artworks which are raising awareness of the issues the monarchs face, whose numbers have declined by nearly 90% over the past two decades due to industrial use of herbicides and pesticides, deforestation, and climate change. Artefacts produced so far include a touring installation (presented at the Eden Project, and various international conferences and festivals; a networked telematic performance; and a radio programme for BBC Radio 3 - The project website is available here: 

The sound you can hear in The Arches is from a 30 minute networked performance combining live audiostreams from monarch butterfly reserves in Mexico, USA and Canada, alongside live performances from Rob Mackay (flute, UK); David Blink (handpan and trumpet, California); and Rolando Rodriguez (poetry, Mexico). 

Ritmos del Parque Urbano el Bosque
Commissioned for the Chilean Soundlapse project ( The project brings together artists, biologists and computer scientists using an innovative sonic time-lapse montage technique to capture changes in the soundscapes over several years. The piece was published in November 2021 alongside other international sound artists on the German Gruenrekorder label. This work explores the rhythms inherent in field recordings taken at different times within Parque Urbano el Bosque in Valdivia, Chile as part of the Soundlapse project. During the piece the listener is taken through various rhythmic explorations between the cycles of day and night, reflecting the longer diurnal rhythms within the park. 

Sea Songs
Commissioned by Invisible Dust (, working with Scarborough Sixth Form students over the summer of 2021 as part of the Sea Songs project ( Dr Rob Mackay ran several field recording and acoustic ecology workshops including two boats trips off the Scarborough coast to record the sounds of marine life in the area. Using hydrophones, participants were able to record the sounds of dolphins, grey seals, snapping shrimp, and even the sound of seaweed photosynthesising in rock pools. They also discovered the impact of human noise pollution underwater.  

Sea Songs attempts to convey a sense of the more-than-human world in which we live and to open our ears to the strange and often unheard soundscape which is literally a few meters off the shoreline. 

Rob Mackay, Senior Lecturer in Composition, School of Arts and Cultures 


October 31st-November 6th  

No. 2: no trace 
No. 2: no trace” is a critical engagement with solitary movement through time-space. It took place over half a mile of the River Pont in Northumberland and examined walking in the context of two walks (on the winter solstice and on the spring equinox), each one downstream and upstream, along a common route, in the river. Using Ingold’s idea of the trace, the walks allow consideration of the absence of the walker’s trace and the impact on walking of profound disruption of the walker’s senses (vision, hearing, balance).

Martin Eccles, Sound artist & PhD Candidate, School of Arts and Cultures


November 7th-10th  

Baraye by Shervin Hajipour
Baraye – a song about the protests in Iran – has become an anthem for women and freedom and will play every hour on the hour over the four days.  There will also be information about the song displayed on the Arches noticeboard.  

An English translation of the song can be seen here


November 14th-20th  

Catcher in the Rye 
Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers.
Catcher in the Rye
Based on: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Genre: Piano piece/Sarabande.
This piece, inspired by Gymnopédies by Erik Satie, describes the confused, wishing, wandering gloom of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I decided to close the album with the original take of the piece recorded on an I-phone, complete with interference and background noise to create a sonic manifestation of Holden Caulfield’s brazen defiance.

Alastair King, PGR, Music, School of Arts and Cultures


November 21st-27th

all illusions, all again 
all illusions, all again documents the soundscape of Newcastle Upon Tyne in November 2021 when Storm Arwen was moving across the UK. Coming out of the later stages of the country’s re-opening the following the third national lockdown, Storm Arwen arrived at a time when the city’s streets were filled every night with bustling crowds, moving in and out of pubs and clubs, compensating for the lost nightlife of the lockdown era. This piece captures the sounds of storm, taking the vibrations against floor-to-ceiling window as a basis for its soundscape along with the throbbing of club music and the voices of those in the streets. This is a soundscape that at once transcends its immediate temporality and is truly fixed in its time. It hearkens back to Newcastle’s pre-COVID soundscape while taking record of the post-lockdown nightlife explosion. 

The piece also documents the anxieties surrounding COVID and the potential in 2021 of a winter lockdown, further isolating those who were already lonely, and quashing the hopes of those desperate again to enjoy social freedom. It asks if the autonomy being enjoyed at that time was an illusion. As well as documenting Storm Arwen and the resilience of the public in the face of the storm and the pandemic, this piece is a prayer for the growth of human connection, the safety of those outdoors, and the restoration of the life. 

Consider the Wounds (Kyrie Orbis Factor) 
Consider the Wounds is a durational work which takes recordings of a previously composed organ work and dislocates its voices, processing and spreading them in space of the arches. The title of the piece comes from the Orbis factor text, “consider the wounds produced by the devil’s art” and repurposes them in the context of loss that has been so ubiquitous throughout, and after the pandemic. The pandemic brought to light the translocality, the worldwide impact, of loss, and this piece presents a space for reflection, a place of refuge, and a site for confronting our feelings. 

For all of its shifting voices, its wandering threads and moments of difficulty, the piece is punctuated by moments of sonic clarity. Among the soundscape of dense textures and suspended time, the organ’s dislocated voices sing and lament with only one melody on their lips. The Kyrie orbis factor plainsong is woven into a tapestry entirely of itself in a plea for mercy, whether sacred or secular. 

James Clay, PGR, Music, School of Arts and Cultures


November 28th-4th December  

In the Sunset
This piece is part of a set of pieces I have made exploring grief, my heritage, and the stories within my Irish family. My Irish heritage is something I was drawn to investigate further following the death of my gran, utilizing recordings of her voice as the basis for several sound works.

With ‘In the Sunset’, I aimed to convey a feeling of loss and sadness that is not uniquely specific to me but can be read and translated by the audience into their own experiences. Inspired by Steve Reich’s “Different Trains”, I decided to notate clips of my Gran talking as musical motifs and orchestrated them to highlight the melodic nature of her accent, something that she would have been ridiculed for when she moved to England.

I involved field recordings of the birdsong in my Grandparents garden as well as recordings of my Gran’s bedroom in the weeks before she died, hoping to build a sense of nostalgia for a place that now exists in memory. The piece concludes with the final poem used in Strauss’ ‘Four Last Songs’, this is a piece of music that has inspired a lot of the musical arrangement in my work.

Beatrice Keelan, 
Undergraduate, Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures



Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences