An Artful Way: Singing & Walking

3 women stand on a rural path with ferns in verges and fells in distance.

Arwen Heaton took part in an Artful Ways walk with a difference, this walk also involved singing with her group Quickbeam. The route was between Low Lorton, Mosser Fell and Loweswater – south of Cockermouth. The group sang in Mosser Fell church which has wonderful acoustics – take a listen to the recording at the end of the blog…

Arwen Heaton:

Question 1: Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?

Creativity: Joys, challenges, provocations, pleasures. The process of individual thoughts and sharing those thoughts with each other. The amalgamation of each of our thoughts and feelings to create something that’s unique in that moment. Some of us have questioned whether we are really ‘creative people’ so creativity can be the act of letting go of the functional and everyday and going beyond it into the soul’s safe space. For others creativity is a way of life, it’s every moment of every day. We observed that being in the outdoors can allow the brain to have the space for thoughts and ideas to rise up – it’s the dreaming.

Question 2: Connectivity – Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect. What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?

We have missed the sensation of touch and hugs. We’ve missed festivals – the creativity happening spontaneously on the fringes, a community of people coming together to celebrate creativity who might only see each other at that festival each year. We’ve missed interplay and interjection in conversations, the creativity of an idea or a story being sparked by something someone else has said. We’ve missed live feedback from audiences. Singing on Zoom feels a bit like performing into a void, we’ve missed feeling the energy in the room, seeing how people are communicating through their bodies.

The new opportunities that have opened up – us starting to sing together! Having the headspace and the emotional space to learn new skills like QBase, iMovie, Garageband and Audacity to make music and film together remotely. Zoom choirs and open mic nights allowing us to connect and create with people across geographical divides, and across barriers that might prevent people accessing live events. Being more mindful of our surroundings, the hedgerow wildflowers and fruit, walking from the front door. The leap forward in rural places investing in livestreaming technology, which will hopefully mean that live events can remain more accessible in future.

Question 3: Place – How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for our environment?

Advances in technology are important and to be celebrated, but the loss of traditional skills, knowledge and wisdom result in a growing loss of connection with the natural world. Are we experiencing a moment of great grief for that loss and a moment of great remembering of nature? We have to re-think and re-structure the concept that puts humans outside of and superior to the natural world, and value the natural world on an equal footing.

This means we not only have to preserve traditional songs, stories and wisdom by recording, telling, singing and teaching, but also to have a new tradition, creating new songs and stories that respond to places. But is there a risk that will only connect to people who are already connected. What about those who are radically disconnected / disenfranchised from the natural world.

Bright Morning Stars, Performed by Quickbeam

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