the universe project

The Universe project began as a performance in the History of Science Museum, Oxford. Scientific and mythic narrative were interspersed with improvised music, with the audience invited at the end to write down their own ideas and inspirations for the future on a large scroll of paper. The structure of that performance was subsequently used as a basis for a year long community project with different groups in Oxford, culminating in a performance in the Town Hall in October 2008.The performance used both written music, conducted improvisation, projections and narrative, and many groups took part. Three primary school groups were involved - The Dhol band from St Christopher's Primary School, Oxford, the gamelan from St. Andrew's Primary School, Oxford, and a small group of singers and dancers from St Thomas More's, Kidlington We also had the Blackbird Leys choir, Oxford Improvisers, and some individual musicians, both children and adults.
Having completed that project, we realised that we wanted to find a way of creating the Universe with one school, that we could then document fully and make available to all interested schools and groups on this website. We were fortunate to be able to work with St.Andrew's on this project.

What you will find on this website is:
A brief description of our final version, including texts, songs and illustrations devised by the children in school. On this occasion we recreated the Universe in a week, and you will see here how we had a separate topic to focus on each day.

Day One: Creation of the universe from the big bang to first stars

Day Two: Second generation stars: the sun and the planets, earth and the moon

Day Three: Cooling of the earth's crust, water, first life (bacteria), alterations to the atmosphere

Day Four: A green planet and life forms to dinosaurs

Day Five: Extinction of the dinosaurs to mammals and humans.

We hope every group will want to do its own version, but to help you get started we're giving you all the material we used, or that was created over the week.

Click Here to view the day plans (this includes what we did each day in class. Improvisation exercises, discussions topics for the day, small group work)
Click Here to download recordings of individual bits of music and songs
Click Here to download scores in Sibelius or as pdf files
Click here for scientific facts and references