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Songs of place and time [Research Portfolio]

Collier, Mike (2020) Songs of place and time [Research Portfolio]. Four exhibitions of music, prints and drawings with accompanying talks and workshops across the UK.

Item Type: Other


Portfolio of work on a research theme. Comprises outputs:

Book: Collier, Mike, Hogg, Bennett and Strachan, John (2021) Songs of place and time: Birdsong and the dawn chorus in Natural History and the Arts. Gaia Project Press, Manchester, UK. ISBN 9780993219290

Exhibition: Collier, Mike (2017) Singing the World (Cheeseburn, Northumberland. 26 August 2017 – 3 September 2017).

Exhibition: Collier, Mike (2018) Mike Collier -A Dawn Chorus (Drawing Projects UK. 26 October to 24 November 2018).

Exhibition: Collier, Mike (2019) Dawn Chorus: Mimesis And Birdsong (Platform A, Middlesbrough.31 January– 7 March2019).

Exhibition: Collier, Mike (2019) LISTEN: Singing the World: A Dawn Chorus (Black Swan Arts, Frome. 20th July – 1stSeptember 2019).

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Additional Information: This research resulted from a biophonic walk in a Northumberland woodland listening to a Dawn Chorus early one May morning in 2016, and is drawn from a close, biosemiotic, study of birdsong. Over a three-year period, a series of four exhibitions (2017-19) presented alongside new music by Dr Bennett Hogg explored ways of visually and musically re-imagining patterns of cross-species interaction in a dawn chorus. This research challenges the established understanding that each singing bird in a dawn chorus is only, or predominantly, concerned with intra-specific communication. A close analysis of the dawn chorus undertaken by natural history sound recordist Geoff Sample who worked with Collier on this project suggests, however, that inter-specific structure as well as intra-specific relationships, give rise to the ‘chorus’ impression, rather than random cacophony.     The book, which grew out of the research for the exhibitions, creatively and imaginatively reconfigures ways in which the more-than-human world is experienced. In Darwinian terms, an individual bird’s song is an expression of intraspecific competition for territory and mating, but the enquiries set out in ‘Songs of Place and Time’ enter different terrain. Do birds have a sense of themselves as individuals through their song; has each species developed its own culture; and can we say that birdsong is music? As Sample says, the question is birdsong music? ‘… is almost impossible to answer – but what is staring-in-the-face remarkable is that so many musical figures are shared between our music, in a traditional sense’. ‘Songs of Place and Time’ has contributions from thirty-seven internationally renowned theorists/academics who have influenced Collier’s work in this area and has taken three years to produce. Within the pages of this book can be found stories of dawn choruses experienced by leading natural historians from four continents, poets and writers who have travelled the world.
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Depositing User: Leah Maughan


Item ID: 12495

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Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2020 15:15
Last Modified: 07 May 2021 12:44


Author: Mike Collier

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design

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