The flow of a river, and the fact that its water perpetually returns, mirrors the nature of time and the cycle of life. A river is home to a kaleidoscope of living things, always moving and changing. This is what makes the River Nene such a perfect focus for an arts and heritage project.
As part of Nenescape 900 Voices came about as part of Peterborough Celebrates 900, a significant anniversary for the Cathedral. 900 Voices captures the voices of people along the River Nene from Northampton to Peterborough.
Arts charity One to One Development Trust delivered 900 Voices, working closely with the core team. Part of the project was to create an online archive that gathers information and resources about the River. The project brings together different stories, images, music, poems and film that relate to the River Nene. This content will be gathered in many ways including via social media, contributions from Nenescape partners, through arts workshops in community settings and specific interviews on audio and film. A ‘snapshot’ of what the river means to people who live and work around it at this particular time in history has been created.
“I fell in love by the river, it was where we went on our first date – a picnic under the willow trees.”
“We sprinkled our dogs ashes into the river as he always dived in whatever the weather – happy memories…”
The stories that came forward are as diverse as the Nene itself. Some participants shared photographs, artwork or poems, all evoking a special sense of place. Participants were invited to attend 900 Voices arts workshops and asked to write and draw their favourite things about the river onto origami paper ‘story boats’. They were used in the final art installation, as well as digitally recreated as part of an interactive experience.
In March 2019, they filmed Northampton composer Benjamin Till’s composition ‘Nene’ being performed by over 700 children and young people in Peterborough Cathedral. It was a magical event – the strength and beauty of the composition performed by so many accomplished young people to a full house in this ancient Cathedral with its incredible acoustics was memorable for all who attended. This event provided a great contribution towards 900 Voices.
Nenescape continually seek contributions – and would love you to be involved and share your thoughts with us. Why is the Nene special to you, what are your favourite places along the river? Do you work on the river, sail the river or walk by it? If you have anything you would like to contribute, they would love to hear from you. Please check out the 900 Voices website to find out more about this wonderful work, watch the video and send in your information.
You can also follow and contribute to the project on social media through the hashtag #900VoicesNene.