Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sound Idea

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sound Idea

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wonfor

Sam Wonfor puts her ear to the ground to see what she can hear at The Alnwick Garden.

It's a fair assumption that visitors to The Alnwick Garden arrive expecting to be impressed with what they see. Whether it's the Rose Garden, the Grand Cascade, the Labyrinth or of course the famous Tree House, there is a plethora of features to catch the eye, wherever you look.

Now a new literary art project promises to stimulate another of the senses and will have visitors listening out for Words In The Garden.

For the past few months a fivesome made up of three poets, one singer/songwriter and a sound artist have been spending hours in all areas of the Garden, with the collective aim of contributing to a sound installation, based on their individual responses to it.

The contributors in question were Newcastle-based poet Anna Woodford; young Cumbrian writer and poet Emma McGordon; published poet (and regular on the North-East poetry circuit) Neville Clay who worked with acclaimed (and Mercury Music Prize nominated) singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams; and radio producer Caroline Beck.

"We wanted to start doing some literary work, and we got together with New Writing North," explains Esther Hingle, arts development officer at The Alnwick Garden.

"We applied for funding for a two-year project and were given the funding for the first strand, which is what people will experience."

During their residencies, which consisted of many visits of a few hours, the artists spent time simply being in the Garden as well as talking with gardeners, volunteers and visitors to find out about how they experience their surroundings. The project will be officially launched on March 18 and will provide two areas of aural activity for visitors to listen out for.

The first will be in the top Ornamental Garden. "People will be able to activate the sound with a switch. If they press it, they will hear some of the work which the artists have done," explains Esther. …

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