Nenespiration

A new project is underway called ‘Nenespiration’! The project is exploring people’s aspirations for the Nene Valley over the next 20 years.

The Nene Valley connects the communities between Northampton and Peterborough by the River Nene. Along this stretch of river sees a mix of former industrial towns, rural villages and a cathedral city, with beautiful countryside, rich heritage and wide variety of cultural activities and sports, the Nene Valley really is a good place to live, work and play and its popularity as a destination is increasing.

During Nene Valley Festival 2019, Destination Nene Valley and other Nenescape partners, were out and about at events gathering feedback about what the Nene Valley means to its residents and visitors. Using this feedback and more, Nenescape partners; One to One Development Trust and creators of the 900 Voices of the Nene, will develop a new digital interactive artwork that conveys the aspirations from the Nene Valley.

The results of this project will form part of the 900 voices of the Nene collection, and add another dimension to the online archive. Nenespiration is delivered through Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme, thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will be launched in January 2020 and will be shown at public events throughout the year. You can follow the projects progress using the hashtag #nenespiration

 

900 Voices and Gaia

We would like to say a big thank you to all who came to view our 900 Voices of the River Nene with Gaia presentation. It was wonderful to see so many there enjoying the films and digital art installation! Thank you to Peterborough Cathedral for hosting us, it was incredible to present with the stunning Earth / Gaia artwork by Luke Jerram watching over us!

We’re very passionate about the work we do with Nene Valley and excited for the Nene Valley festival that is coming up, from 14 – 22 September, celebrating the natural and historic assets of this beautiful part of the country. Check out the website for more info! www.nenevalley.net with Nenescape

900 Voices on the River

Dame Joody, a social enterprise based on a boat in Northampton and arts organisation One to One Development Trust have formed a new partnership which has just been awarded funding from Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The project ‘900 Voices on the River’ supports improvements on Dame Joody’s boat Echoes to make it fit for purpose to run events and workshops from. One to One Development Trust will work with Dame Joody to bring their interactive heritage arts project 900 Voices of the Nene created last year as part of Peterborough Celebrates 900, to a wider audiences in the Northampton area through a programme of engagement events held from Echoes over the summer.

The first event for 900 Voices on the River was held at the Northampton Mela, Beckets Park on Saturday 28th July with screenings and demos of 900 Voices throughout the day.

Adding the Farmers voice

One to One Development Trust are really excited to be working with Nenescape and the Wildlife Trust (BCN) on a new project Farming for the Future. We will be creating two short films about the changes and challenges of the farming industry in the Nene Valley.

Over two nights the Wildlife Trust and Nenescape hosted events bringing together farmers from each side of the valley to talk about the industry and how its changed. Conversations threw up lots of changes in farming practice and land management including the changing face of countryside with more residential development taking place than ever before, walkers not using footpaths and dogs not on a lead that effect livestock and wildlife, and changes in practice with much less livestock farming and the need to diversify.

A second film about wildlife meadows will be created in the summer with both films launching later in 2019.

900 Voices Launches for Christmas 2019

To mark the 900 Anniversary of Peterbough Cathedral we launched the project to a packed audience in the Knights Chamber. The room was decorated by our artists and the evening was presented by Judi Alston and Andy Campbell the lead artists from One to One Development Trust. Andrew Langley Chair of Nenescape officially opened the night and Alison Cross from Nenescape also spoke.

A series of short films from the project were screened with plenty of opportunity for people to have hands on experience of the digital art installation.

Peterborough Poet Laurette Clare Currie and Storyteller Rose Croft also performed during the night. Over the weekend the 900 Voices Nene was brought to Nene Park and Peterborough Museum. It was a fantastic weekend of celebration marking the end of this stage of the 900 Voices project.

Thank you to everyone whose made it possible!

Our 900 Voices Christmas Tree

This year Nene Park have asked local charities and groups to sponsor a Christmas Tree. Nene Park is a key destination in Peterborough and with the River Nene flowing through it we didn’t need any more incentive to sponsor a Christmas Tree.

The decorations made by our volunteers feature good wishes baubles made in 5 different languages, as well as decorations made from wool and felt. A particular favourite are the very beautiful felt swans made by Fran. In the 900 Voices colours of blue, green and white we are rather pleased with the finished tree.

Railworld – The Volunteers’ Story

Today – 11th September 2018 – we launched our latest film as part of the 900 Voices Project, ‘Railworld – The Volunteers Story’ and what an occasion it was!

Railworld Wildlife Haven is an urban treasure trove run by volunteers situated between the railway lines and the River Nene. This fantastic project celebrates Peterborough’s railway heritage and offers a wonderful tranquil wildlife haven in the City Centre. For over three decades the project has evolved and grown from waste land to a thriving, beautiful and interesting destination.

I first visited Railworld in June this year and was determined to make a film about it to help Railworld tell their story and as a tool help promote and raise interest in their future plans. Our short film celebrates the role of volunteers in creating and supporting this fantastic community asset. PECT (Peterborough Environment City Trust) funded us to make the film as part of an Artists Commission we delivered for this years Green Festival and to contribute to the 900 Voices Project with Nenescape – celebrating the River Nene between Peterborough and Northampton.

   

The film was launched today in the Globe Hall at Railworld, to a packed audience of Railworld Volunteers and supporters, local dignitaries and the Queens Representative Cambridgeshire Lord Lieutenant Julie Spence. The Queens Award for Volunteering is a lifetime award, and Railworld are a deserving candidate for the honour.

   

In my introduction to the film I said that Peterborough needs to wave its Railworld flag high and proud. This project is not only an exemplar within the Cambridgeshire region but deserves national and international attention. Railworld has supporters from all over the world and that can only grow. In turn, this can help Peterborough become a notable City for its environmental activism, an exciting tourist destination and a great model for volunteering and private/business support.

If we are serious about tackling environmental issues and providing quality volunteering opportunities, then we really need to be looking at Railworld as an example of what can be achieved, against all odds, with good leadership and strong vision.

   

It was a real privilege to launch our film today at this very special event, and we take our hat off to all the people that have worked so hard to make this amazing place what it is.

To contribute your own story to the 900 Voices archive please visit http://900voicesofthenene.co.uk/

Digital Nene

For the launch of the 900 Voices online archive in December commissioned by Nenescape, One to One Development Trust are creating a unique interactive digital art installation for projection as part of the celebrations for Peterborough 900.

Based on an imaginary cross-section of the River Nene (inspired mainly by the landscape around Thrapston where folklore has it that the pronunciation of Nene becomes ‘Nen’) the installation will use advanced 3D graphics to artistically interpret the Nene’s riverbank and surrounding countryside whilst incorporating a curated selection of ‘voices’ from the online archive.

The screenshots you can see here are from our work in progress. It’s already becoming quite a striking piece that will offer the chance for anyone who interacts with the installation to roam freely around the digital landscape – via digital projection and a game pad controller – uncovering fascinating (and often previously unheard) stories gathered from communities between Peterborough and Northampton throughout the duration of the 900 Voices project.

As anyone who attended our ‘Dreamcatcher‘ digital installation event (commissioned by Jumped Up Theatre as part of Platform8) at the Undercroft in Hampton last year will no doubt testify, we don’t hold back when it comes to ambitiously mixing art, community voices and cultural heritage with digital tech. 🙂

Using 3D models captured from real-life natural objects such as trees, rocks, grasses and plants – a technique known as ‘photogrammetry’ – we are hand-crafting a lush painterly environment with high levels of attention to detail, from tiny stones, twigs and dandelions to willow trees and local wildlife.

The ‘voices’ (audio recordings, films, photographs, poems) collected throughout the project will be represented as a series of digital origami ‘paper boats’ floating down the river. The resulting experience will be captivating, beautiful and surreal. It will also be available to download from the 900 Voices website after the launch event.

Watch this space for more news about how the installation is developing.

Please contribute your story about the River Nene here through our online form with a big chance that your submission will be incorporated into this exciting digital art installation. Come and visit us at Peterborough Heritage Festival on Saturday at the Nenescape stand.

Nene Magic

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.

Is it pronounced Nene or is it Nen? The debate goes on, depending on where you live along this fine river, the tenth longest in the UK. The Nene Valley is home to some of England’s best kept secret destinations, beautiful countryside and interesting heritage. The River Nene wanders its way through towns and cities of the valley finally leading to The Wash.

Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme, a partnership of organisations working together to raise the profile of the Nene Valley, has received Heritage Lottery funding for a five-year project.

900 Voices is one of the Nenescape projects and 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 and is being delivered by Nenescape Partner, arts organisation One to One Development Trust.

   

One to One Development Trust are building an online archive that brings together information and resources about the River which will be ‘made live’ in December 2018 and will be launched with a digital art installation as a response to the project.

900 Voices is bringing 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 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.

In April we ran two workshops around storytelling with the support of venues from Vivacity. The first was a workshop at Peterborough Museum with Cambridge bard Marion Leeper who worked with 15 participants on how to deliver well-crafted oral stories. It was a lively and fun workshop.

Then later in the month we invited historian and writer Dr Francis Young to come to the Key Theatre to share his stories of folklore relating to the Nene to a very receptive and interested audience.

Dr Francis Young at the 900 Voices talk and story share, Key Theatre

At both events we took the opportunity to capture audio recordings of people’s stories of the river, from raging swans through to memories of famed Peterborough strongman and daredevil Walter Cornelius.

One to One’s Andy Campbell records a story from Rebecca Jackson at the Oral Storytelling Workshop in Peterborough

Participants have been very generous adding their photographs, paintings and illustrations to this fast-growing archive which is a rich celebration of the River Nene.

In this audio story, Charron Pugsley-Hill talks about a sculpture at Nene Park.

The Nenescape tent will be at Peterborough Heritage Festival (16th and 17th June) where 900 Voices will be gathering more stories. Watch out for future blogs on other events happening in Northampton to Peterborough and in-between over the summer.

Judi Alston – May 2018