2778 Nautical Miles: Collaboration between school children in Hull and Freetown, Sierra Leone

The third collaboration between John Wedgwood Clarke and I this year saw us developing a new travelling exhibition by primary school pupils in Hull and our sister city Freetown in Sierra Leone. 2778 Nautical Miles is named after the distance between Hull and Freetown and is a call-and-response piece including poetry, recorded sound and photography created in both cities. Drawing on the tradition of the call-and-response-song, UK and Sierra Leonean pupils’ creative writing and sound recordings – which were made on location in their homes, markets, ports and at their respective cities’ monuments to slavery and to freedom – question and answer each other.

We ran a  number of field recording and creative writing workshops with the school pupils, and worked with them to develop the installation which is made from their field recordings and writings. In John’s words “We wanted the children to listen to the city, we looked for things we might have in common with Freetown, the port, markets and monuments, and explore the differences and similarities through poetry, interviews sound-recordings, editing and curating.”

The project was devised and curated by Sea Swim in partnership with Global Learning Hull, the International Pupil Council and our No Limits learning programme.

 

About robflute

Rob Mackay is a composer, sound artist and performer. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull. Recent projects have moved towards a cross-disciplinary approach, including geology, soundscape ecology, theatre, audiovisual installation work, and human-computer interaction. His work has been performed in 18 countries (including several performances on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 1 and Radio France), and a number of his pieces have received international awards (Bourges (1997 and 2001), EAR (1999), La Muse en Circuit (2007)). He has held composer residencies at Slovak Radio (Bratislava), La Muse en Circuit (Paris), the Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre (Ireland), Habitación del Ruido (Mexico City), and CMMAS (Morelia). He has collaborated with a number of poets, including Martin Daws (Young People’s Poet Laureate for Wales, 2013 – 2015) and John Wedgwood Clarke (for the Arts Council funded Dictionary of Stone and Sea Swim with Lara Goodband). This was a natural progression from working on a number of projects based on the theme of geology, including a collaboration with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on the Natural England funded Ruskin Rocks project, led by a team of scientists and musicians at the University of Leeds who created two stone instruments (lithophones). He has also created a Jurassic soundscape for Scarborough’s Rotunda museum which is currently installed. Rob has been a reviewer for numerous international conferences, including ICMC (International Computer Music Conference), NIME (New Instruments for Musical Expression), DHRN (Digital Humanities Research Network), and journals (Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press) and is editor for Interference, a Journal of Audio Cultures. He has played, written and produced in a number of bands including the Welsh Hip-Hop collective Tystion with whom he collaborated alongside John Cale on the film A Beautiful Mistake (Film 4), as well as recording two John Peel sessions on BBC Radio 1 and supporting PJ Harvey. The band have a chapter devoted to them in Sarah Hill’s book ‘Blerwytirhwng?’ The Place of Welsh Pop Music (Ashgate 2007). Rob has done session work for Super Furry Animals producer Gorwel Owen, songwriter Euros Childs, and Hip-Hop producer Kista. He is currently enjoying playing in the Welsh Afro-tropical collective Drymbago, having supported Quantic and Tony Allen. More information and pieces at: www.soundcloud.com/robflute University of Hull Profile Page
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