Solway to Svalbard

‘Solway to Svalbard’ is a body of work currently in development by musician and sonic artist Stuart Macpherson. It is a creative response to the spring migration of the Barnacle Goose from the wetlands of the Solway Firth in South West Scotland to the Islands of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle.

Stuart uses innovative approaches in composition to explore the role of place and the audience within the audio visual environment. ‘Solway to Svalbard’ will capture the different environments/communities that are encountered by the geese on their unique journey and how, despite the distance and stark contrast in landscape, we are intrinsically linked to the polar regions.

Process of Development:

Work is created from time spent in communities/environments (residencies, workshops, interviews) and audio-visual material collected from locations along the spring migration route: Caerlaverock (Solway), Selvær (Helgeland) and Longyearbyen (Svalbard). Material gathered will be used to create an immersive audio/visual environment in which live performance can take place. The resulting audio visual work will be developed with the idea of exploring unusual places of performance in both an urban and rural setting.

Collaborating artists currently include award winning film-maker Emma Dove and sound recordist Pete Smith. The project will bring together world class players, established and up- coming musicians, from the Scottish music scene into a high quality immersive body of new music.

The project builds on the momentum of interest in the new direction Stuarts work is taking from organisations that are keen to use the ‘arts’ as a means of engagement with environmental issues. It links conservational research to a creative outlet connecting to new and different audiences in both conservation and the arts. It has potential to engage across new and established audiences connecting experimental cross-genre sonic arts with a more traditional music going crowd, conservational enthusiasts and academics. Drawing on established partner organisations it can explore ways of connecting the rural to the urban, capturing passing audiences and those less likely to seek out “arts” events as well as those gained through promotion.

Meet the team

Partner organisations include: PRS Foundation the Open Fund, Help Musicians UK the Fusion Fund, Tenk Træna, Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, WWT Caerlaverock, The Stove Network and DG Unlimited.