There is a time in the morning in May in the UK when the dawn chorus rises to a crescendo. It is, apparently, the best in the world, and recently a sound artist called Chris Watson went out to listen and, more importantly, encouraged other people to go out and listen too. Gradually they recorded and accumulated bird songs, and gradually, through this artistic collaboration, they started sharing other things too. These people had a lot to share: some were seriously ill children, some were their parents, some were the people who looked after them, some were security guards at the Alder Hey children's hospital - all of them dealing, in some way, with the stresses caused by a child being ill and in hospital.
They have installed a corridor of sound in Alder Hey now; it is filled with the songs of birds and they have found that walking along it changes the way people feel. It induces calm. The outside world shifts indoors. The child about to have an operation or an uncomfortable procedure relaxes, and is perhaps able to sleep. You can hear WILDSONG AT DAWN, and read more about the project here.
This was one project supported by the Wellcome Trust and today I went to a workshop in the Liverpool Tate at the Albert Docks and found out more about the sort of work that interests them.
It was an exciting day and it was quite an eclectic gathering: artists, film-makers, research scientists, Arts organisers and students. I'm not sure the work of a writer is at all relevant but it was very interesting listening to other people's innovative and original ideas.