The flow of a river, and the fact that its water perpetually returns, mirrors the nature of time and the cycle of life. A river is home to a kaleidoscope of living things, always moving and changing. This is what makes the River Nene such a perfect focus for an arts and heritage project.
900 Voices came about as part of Peterborough Celebrates 900, a significant anniversary for the Cathedral. 900 Voices is capturing the voices of people along the River Nene from Northampton to Peterborough.
Arts charity One to One Development Trust are delivering 900 Voices, working closely with the core team. Part of the project is to create an online archive that gathers information and resources about the River. This archive will also form the basis for a digital art installation to be launched in December 2018.
The project will bring together different stories, images, music, poems and film that relates to the River Nene. This content will be gathered in many ways including via social media, contributions from Nenescape partners, through arts workshops in community settings and specific interviews on audio and film. The aim is to create a ‘snapshot’ of what the river means to people who live and work around it at this particular time in history.
“I fell in love by the river, it was where we went on our first date - a picnic under the willow trees.”
“We sprinkled our dogs ashes into the river as he always dived in whatever the weather – happy memories…”
The stories that are coming forward are as diverse as the Nene itself. Some participants share a photograph, artwork or a poem, all evoking a special sense of place. Participants attending 900 Voices arts workshops will be asked to write and draw their favourite things about the river onto origami paper ‘story boats’. These will be used in the final art installation, as well as digitally recreated as part of an interactive experience. Throughout the summer, artists from One to One Development Trust will be attending festivals and events gathering material for the project.
In March, we filmed Northampton composer Benjamin Till’s composition ‘Nene’ being performed by over 700 children and young people in Peterborough Cathedral. It was a magical event – the strength and beauty of the composition performed by so many accomplished young people to a full house in this ancient Cathedral with its incredible acoustics was memorable for all who attended. This event provided a great contribution towards 900 Voices.
We are seeking more contributions - and would love you to be involved and share your thoughts with us. Why is the Nene special to you, what are your favourite places along the river? Do you work on the river, sail the river or walk by it? If you have anything you would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you. Please check out the 900 Voices website to send in your information.
You can also follow and contribute to the project on social media through the hashtag #900VoicesNene.