Sun, 10-Sun, 17 Jan 2021

Join Jenny Sturgeon to explore using the National Library of Scotland Sound Archive as inspiration for creating new spoken word poetry and song. Over 2 workshops we will be working with a collection of sound recordings focused on plants and ecosystems to create a collaborative piece of immersive, site specific music. Following on from the workshops you’ll each have the opportunity to contribute to the recorded piece, working with Jenny and Tim Matthew at Mareel. A recording of the finished piece will be debuted in the Mareel Auditorium in 2021.

Places are limited to 15 participants and booking closes on Saturday 28 November. The workshops are FREE and will take place via Zoom, please ensure you have a valid email address on your account as the zoom link will be sent out to it when you book.

All levels of experience in writing and music welcome. For more information please contact Jenny on 

Workshop 1 

10 January

During workshop 1 (3 hours long with a break in the middle) participants will…  

  • take part in writing exercises inspired by the sound archive and their local environment.  
  • delve into and explore the archive of Professor James Holms-Dickson for the purposes for creating new work. I will run a series of writing and melody exercises based on these archive recordings which are aimed at exploring inspiration, creative expression and helping encourage engagement with the archive  
  • share ideas and bits of writing with the rest of the group 
  • get an opportunity to explore the plants in their local area. I will set a writing exercise which involves inspiration about the local area. I will run an alternative short writing exercise for those who are physically restricted. 
  • get the opportunity to hear different soundscapes and examples of existing music which incorporates sound recordings. This will help participants develop ideas for their own piece of music 

Together we will work towards having a plan of the sounds and topics we want to cover and convey in the finished piece of music. e.g. which elements of the lectures will be incorporated in to the piece and which sounds make-up the local landscape (different bird calls, wind/weather etc).  

Homework for the next workshop… participants will be asked to pick several of their favourite lines, listen to another sound recording from the archive and record a field sample in their local area (could be waves on the shore, starlings chattering, wind in the eves, chatter of voices at the supermarket etc…)  

Workshop 2

17 January

During workshop 2 (3 hours long with a break in the middle) participants will…  

  • listen through and discuss field recording made after the last workshop work in smaller break-out groups on zoom to develop specific music ideas based on their output from workshop 1  
  • build on creative processes from the previous workshop, bringing together lyrics and melody to create a song or tune. share ideas and bits of writing with the rest of the group  


Participants from the workshops will be invited to come along to Mareel Recording Studio to record the various elements of the finished piece - this could be spoken word, melody instruments and percussion, singing etc. Workshop 1 and 2 and will be repeated in the new year with a different group of people, building on the work from the first set of workshops.