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Aberdeenshire community art project reaches final stages

By David Porter

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A community art project in Aberdeenshire is appealing for people to write short scripts and record voiceovers for a series of new sound walks.

Starlings act as a sound marker in the project. Picture:Bryan Angus
Starlings act as a sound marker in the project. Picture:Bryan Angus

Soundmap: People and Place, is an inter-generational community art project led by sound artist Pete Stollery and visual artist Bryan Angus.

Since the project began six months ago, more than 130 residents including walking groups, sheltered housing residents, arts clubs, guides and school pupils have taken part.

Commissioned by Live Life Aberdeenshire's Arts and Heritage team, the artists have been out and about meeting groups and making recordings in Banff, Ladysbridge, Rosehearty, Sandhaven and New Byth.

As part of the project, Pete is looking for people to assist in the creation of Sound Walks walking tours – two in Banff and one in each of the other villages – that can be experienced by using a smart phone or other internet-enabled mobile device.

As you walk along the route, different sounds will play at different points, along with a voiceover, to act as a “sonic guide” to the areas.

You can help to create the text which will be listened to during the sound walks. You will be asked to listen to around five of the sounds and write down a few words about what you hear.

You’ll be supported and guided through the process, and your words will be what users hear during a walking tour. Once the words are completed, the next opportunity to get involved will be as a voiceover artist.

With support from Pete, a sound and music professional, you can read and record the text using a smartphone or any other recording equipment.

You’ll learn exactly what to do and how to record voice overs.

Writing and recording can all be done safely from home.

If you would like to take part in the project email Cultural Development Officer Alison Brodie: alison.brodie@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Despite the challenges faced when the UK went into lockdown in March, the artists have continued to work on the Developer Obligations-funded project by moving some of the work online and thinking of ways to engage communities remotely.

Sound maps, the first phase of the project, are now available for anyone to explore from the Live Life Aberdeenshire website: https://bit.ly/SoundPP

A sound map is a map of each place using sounds as the landmarks, capturing a snapshot of the towns and villages.

The recordings are mapped onto Google Earth where anyone can listen to them.

As well as being able to listen to the recordings, sounds have icons - visual symbols created by Bryan to “show” the sound.

Many of the sounds in the maps were suggested, or even recorded, by people living or working locally.

The website is being updated regularly and gives advice on accessing the maps and exploring virtually.

The project was due to culminate this month, May 2020, with a celebration and exhibition bringing together everyone who has contributed to the project.

The team are disappointed that this cannot go ahead as planned and it is hoped this event can happen later but for now, the online access is a great way to explore and engage.

See Life Live @ Home, Live Life Aberdeenshire’s one stop shop of virtual creativity and activity, at: bit.ly/LLAhome

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