Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust: ST/ART Project

Digital Project 20:21: Moving into the Light

During our 20:21 season, participants from The University of Dundee’s Tap and Talk Group and from the Headway Dundee and Angus group worked with composer Matilda Brown and RSNO musicians Jacquie Speirs and Ursula Heidecker Allen. They created an online programme of musical composition, exploring the participants’ ideas on the journey out of the pandemic and lockdown.

The project consisted of a series of ten weekly online sessions in which Matilda encouraged the participants to work in a variety of ways, from simple rhythm and note selection exercises through to poetic writing and keyboard compositions. The concept of a journey out of lockdown emerged from the creative process and developed into a metaphorical train trip through different landscapes and stations, each inspired by individuals within the group. Musicians Jacquie and Ursula were able to respond to different ideas during the sessions, illustrating how changes in pace or key could alter a piece of music and help the participants decide how the work should develop.

At the end of the ten weeks, Matilda took all of the elements that had been devised and refined them into the finished composition ‘Moving into the Light’.  A COVID-19 safe recording session with Jacquie and Ursula, alongside Matilda’s own recordings and editing with a visual accompaniment, were included in the final piece ‘Moving into the Light’, which you can view in the player below.

Composer and programme lead, Matilda Brown said, “This was an exciting challenge to work remotely with a group of participants with communication and physical impairments.  We built a strong bond through the programme that allowed us to overcome any difficulties and share a musical vision that represented us all.  Working with people both as a group and individually ensured we carried everyone along on the journey.”

THAT project co-ordinator Chris Kelly said, “This is a new development in our partnership with the RSNO and working with a smaller group of participants enabled them to give much more to the experience. Participants returned to musical instruments they hadn’t played in years, composed element themselves for the very first time, wrote poetry and recorded their own readings and narrations. The empowerment provided by being an equal partner with the musicians from the RSNO is huge. The benefits to individuals’ self-esteem and wellbeing by having their work professionally recorded and publicly available for sharing with family and friends online can’t be overestimated.”

With special thanks to ScotRail for providing archive footage of train journeys across Scotland’s Railway for our Moving into the Light digital project.

The ST/ART Project is funded by NHS Tayside.  The RSNO’s partnership with the Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) is supported by the Northwood Charitable Trust, Roberston Trust, Leng Charitable Trust, RJ Larg Family Trust and Tay Charitable Trust.