Ubuntu on a sound walk as part of Ebb and Flow

    Ubuntu on a sound walk as part of Ebb and Flow

    Experiencing the moment: An outreach project for New Expressions

    By: Ruth Gidley, Community Participation Officer, RAMM on 05 August 2015

    All New Expressions commissions aim to provide inspiring and innovative opportunities for people to participate and experience part of the creative process.

    Ubuntu, a counselling service for people from ethnic minority communities, went on a nature sound walk as part of RAMM’s outreach work for Ebb and Flow, a sound art installation by Chris Watson. Five adults – all aged over 60 – used telescope, binoculars and sound recording equipment to look and listen more than they usually would.

    Ubuntu’s director, Dr Faith Stafford, said: “[Everyone] enjoyed being able to hear the suction noises made by the feet of the black headed gulls, through the headphones of the sound recorder, as they walked across the mud! .... It was interesting to notice how our attention to the environment is affected by focusing on a particular sense. I had never gone on a walk like that before, where the main focus was the sounds around us: it makes you hear everything differently... There were many things I would not otherwise have noticed.”

    This walk was part of RAMM’s work on wellbeing, which emphasises the experience in the moment, whether it is contact with objects, the museum, or the natural world. This can help us feel connected – to each other, to the environment, to faraway locations and times - and find our place in the world.

    Dr Stafford said: “[It] felt friendly and easy to ask questions. This sort of environment, with an engaging focus and a supportive atmosphere, would be very useful tools to use with people recovering from poor mental health.... All of our party found it interesting, engaging and enjoyable.... It was certainly an experience I would like to repeat.”

    RAMM is developing a relationship with Ubuntu and has invited the group’s clients to visit the museum to experience Ebb and Flow as the seasons change, attend events and come behind the scenes.

    Bird expert Tony Whitehead, who led the walk inspired by Chris Watson’s work, said: “[Birds] are everywhere. They are the only truly wild animal we encounter every day throughout the day.”

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