Examples of Creative Practice for Sample Portfolio

Descriptions with URLs of samples of Sally Walmsley’s creative practice

Example 1. Soundscape created to illustrate case of 18th century objects in the Ulster Museum (SoundConnections 1 and 2: 2012;2013)

This was produced as part of an aural, participatory intergenerational project for adults with visual impairment and KS2 children designed to increase access for those with little or no sight to the museum’s collection of objects in a creative and engaging manner and to give them an active opportunity to reflect on this experience The project was part of the Ulster Museum’s Live and Learn programme funded by Big Lottery Money. This example (along with another 5 soundscapes) was used on site and to provide stimulus material for 6 subsequent collaborative music performance workshops. The sample provided uses extracts from a diary of 1799 written by Alexander Hamilton a lawyer born in Armagh as its central narrative. (Diary held in Armagh Public Library collection). Street cries from broadsheets of the time are recreated, as is an imaginary sound world to support a situating of the museum objects in an aural story setting where the objects and their descriptions are put into the social context of their day, thereby bringing them alive and giving them a voice. http://tinyurl.com/o7e5d92

Example 2. Sound Installation created from collaborative response to objects in the Ulster Museum (SoundConnections 1: 2012)

Each workshop reflecting themes of the project provided a performance task which participants fulfilled through collaborative creation. The outcome of each task was recorded. The artist then developed these further by creating a musical structure and incorporating recorded material made of the actual workshops with peoples’ chat and commentary. This resulted in a sound installation of which example 2 provides a short clip that comes towards the end of the piece. This piece of Social Art mirroring the collected objects origins or connections as the sea, urban or the mountain was arranged over 5 floors with immersive spaces on floors 1, 3, 5 linked by a trail of speakers guiding the visually impaired community project participants from one space to the next. A finale section turned the immersive space speakers outwards from their first positioning so that a multi-layered effect using the variety of heights of sound was possible to allow sound to ‘cascade’. The sample provided is from this final section with multi-vocal layering and illustrates how the pieces produced in workshops could produce something unique. http://tinyurl.com/ovrpcyz

Example 3. Dramatic scene of the ghost of Brian Boru played out in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral (‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ 2014)

Armagh Public Library instigated the drive to create a community project that would explore the story of Brian Boru who is buried in Armagh in the context of his time and produce a large scale community performance as part of the all Ireland commemorative events in 2014 marking the death of Brian Boru 1000 years earlier. The project was funded by Armagh City and District council. This project designed, facilitated and written by the artist used the expertise of Armagh Public Library, Armagh Museum and Armagh Observatory to create collaborative workshops for community participants putting the story of Brian Boru into the context of his time. The project was then developed further through research and collaborative, improvisatory workshops with schools, musicians, a choir and community participants to produce a musical drama that involved 260 performers. The setting of St Patrick’s Cathedral Church of Ireland offered the artist a wonderful opportunity for exploring how to use sound, movement, drama and music to tell a story. This sample shows the end of the prologue where the ghost of Brian Boru, who is used as a dramatic device to narrate the entire performance is woken from his 1000 year sleep. This demonstrates how collaborative work with an actor can produce a dramatic script. http://tinyurl.com/ow2shdm

Example 4. Duet from ‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ (2014)

This sample from the community based performance project demonstrates collaborative work with musicians producing music and lyrics. It comes in Act 3 where Brian Boru is at the height of his powers and in a marriage to Gormlaith he is ensuring useful alliances. In the duet the two soloists musically maintain the contrasting identities that has been established earlier in the drama, with the tension of the story revolving around the dilemma the two characters have of torn loyalities – she to her mixed Viking/Irish heritage and he to his ambitions to be High King of Ireland. The soprano voice sings her verses to a different tune with a different feel to it, than the male voice. Instrumental bridges link the contrasting verse sections. The difference is maintained even at the end of the piece as both singers meet musically through scat singing but still retain independent identies. http://tinyurl.com/pdgs2d9

Example 5. Soundscape from ‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ (2014)

This sample using the soundscape that opens the 4th act of the performance sets the scene for the Battle of Clontarf of 1014 that is to unfold. It uses lyrics from an Icelandic saga cycle of the 12th century which tells of the Valkyries spinning the web of fate. It demonstrates how collaboration with community groups through music making can be a very creative and powerful tool for performance. http://tinyurl.com/o9jprhh

Example 6. Film clip from ‘A Perfect Passion: Piping in Armagh Pipers Club’ (2010)

Shot over 2 years this ethnographic film aimed to document the life of a successful Traditional Irish music club that has been educating Uilleann pipers for more than 45 years. It was funded by Armagh Pipers Club. It demonstrates how an ethnographic approach involving participatory research and practice allowed the artist to get close to her subjects and understand more clearly what is important to them so that the film becomes an account of how playing the pipes is an important part of their lives. http://tinyurl.com/kbb97oo