|Current footloose projects include:
The Vegetable Orchestra - exploring the accoustic properties of vegetables.
To see a short video from the BBC of Malcolm Atkins and Camilla Cancantata performing at a Food Festival in Oxfordshire click here
Carbon Chronicles - a touring opera workshop about oil, mining and climate change, designed for use by transition town and other interested community groups. See flyer
Expanding the universe...
below is a set of links to different parts of our latest project for schools based on 'A Remarkably Short History of the Universe'.
Care Homes report - after a year developing musical improvisation projects with residents at the St Monica Trust, Cote Lane, Bristol, and Green Gates, Oxford, here is the final report of our work, which states in the conclusion why we think it is important and should continue. download pdf of the report
Night Sky Event -On November 19th 2016 Knighton celebrated the night sky, with a procession carrying lanterns from the Community Centre to the open space behind the Offa's Dyke Centre. By prior arrangement, all the street lights on the procession route were switched off. Shops and offices along the way also either completely turned off or dimmed their lights - this included businesses who were happy to switch off their display lights for the entire weekend. Only one office said their lights were on a timer and could not be altered.
Between forty and fifty people, children and adults, attended the celebration. Rain greeted us at the Community Centre, but by the time the procession had set off, the rain had stopped. Sadly the sky was overcast, but although we had hoped to be able to see the stars, we also knew that we might not be blessed with a clear sky, and the success of the project did not depend on it, although of course it would have added to the atmosphere. Heavy rain would however have been miserable, so we were lucky. Over half term a group of children and their mothers had made, with help, some beautiful lanterns, some in the forms of animals both real and imagined. Passers-by were stunned to see the procession going by with the lanterns. Afterwards each lantern found a new home with an enthusiastic participant. Plenty of responsible adults came to act as stewards and we were pleased to have our town cryer and other local council members on the procession. A small band played music as we went along. At the end we were greeted by a glowing brazier with chestnuts and hot apple juice provided by our local organic food shop. We then listened to some words from the Town Cryer, and a couple of poems, and sang a song which was easy enough for everyone to join in. The children's attention was held throughout. It seemed that everyone enjoyed it; feedback has been good. Although Knighton is small, the accumulated lighting at night has increased significantly over the years. Several older people told me how much they missed a true night sky, and one man in his seventies described how he used to see glow worms either side of the road when coming into Knighton along the Ludlow road in summer. There might be a further project to develop from older people's memories specifically on this topic. Sometimes people voice fears about reduced street lighting being a major hazard and crime risk, but in fact a report done by police in England and Wales, after a three month trial, stated that reduced street lighting had no perceptible impact on crime or road accidents.
See http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2015/07/08/jech-2015-206012.full for the full report.
There are many reasons to pay more attention to the night and learn to enjoy darkness. There is now a body of research of the impacts of light pollution on biodiversity and human health, all over the world. Many people get depressed in the winter, and it is known that lack of exposure both to natural light, and natural darkness, can cause depression. Too much time spent staring at computers and screens also upsets natural body rhythms and can affect sleeping patterns. Reducing street lighting, if done systematically, can significantly reduce a local community's carbon footprint.