Introducing Quarrymill, a Scottish Woodland in Scone Perthshire

A 360 video with immersive sound, please listen with headphones. (You may need to visit YouTube site to watch the 360 content)

The sound of our natural environment is a symphony of sounds, an encounter full of experiences, feelings, and gestures. This 360-video is being used as an experiment to explore the sounds at Quarrymill and introduce the experience to children.

The post-graduate researcher/RSPB Volunteer, Lise Olsen (University of Aberdeen) has been working with the Community learning officer, Miranda Shepard (RSPB Loch Leven) to deliver the Active Listening Project at Quarrymill in Perthshire.

This video is part of Lise’s research to


Determine what sort of impacts could be expected to give an understanding of how to create sound work that fits with the RSPB aims and objectives


• Discover how the new immersive 3D sound technologies can be used in RSPB’s public engagement and educational activities.

The sound includes field-recordings, a discussion from a local walker at Quarrymill and readings taken from the John Muir book ‘A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf’.

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Our Tale is What Remains.

A walk with the people like you.

We move in-between the green, 

the green and dandelions on a quiet corner of a Paisley route.

Route, control and space.

We quickly walk, red brick, red brick to Sma Shot Lane. 

Past the Jesus is the reader sign and the weavers’ lion statue.

A stroll towards the New street.  

We stop and look up. I’m not sure about the cherubs.

Quick, march past Mr Kebab and the vertical lines of The Russell Institute.

The God of medicine twisting an enchanting tale… 

We pass a shopping trolley, coffee shop and an empty store.

An empty space with an empty corporation. 

I look for a sign, a blue Yes2 and a bus stop zone 

We arrive at the abbey, governed by order.

Move quietly and be considerate.

A timeline of happening from 1163, tick, tick, tick…

We hear about the monks who have been cleaning up for 400 years.

Dusting and washing tired feet. It’s time to leave.

Hello to Bonnie Fleurs and the High Street.

We wait at the curb for the red man to turn green.

The pace of the pack slows into the historic town. 

A voice cries “Before you go, remember, look up and search for Paisley pigeons.” 

We listen to the sound of the bird’s wings until…

our tale is what remains.

© Olsen 2019

This poem was created in response to a walking tour around Paisley in Scotland. The Tour was led by Dr. Alison McCandlish as a part of the ‘Participatory Methods and Affective Domains: Walking, Documenting and Sensing as Practice course delivered by the University of West Scotland.

A Walk With Nature

Quarrymill © Olsen 2019

Today, I explored Quarrymill by recording sound and capturing 360 images. During my visit, I started to think about how new media could help children explore the wilderness. I have decided to share one of my images with an another inspirational quote I found from John Muir.

“Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.”[1]


[1] Muir, J (1916). A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company The Riverside Press Cambridge.

Look Back & Look Foward

A visit to Hospitalfield’s greenhouse has reminded me of how busy my summer months have been. How some of my ideas thrived, fruited and flowered. Things tend to slow down a bit in the winter. Yet like the gardener, an artist needs to take stock of achievements. I need to get my ‘greenhouse’ in order, plan new ideas and plant new seedling-ideas for spring.

copyright © Olsen 2018

‘Teacher, teacher, teacher’

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir[1]

IMG_9278 2
Photo of John Muir, copyright © Olsen 2018

On the 30th of October 2018, I joined RSPB Scotland’s Miranda Shepard, at Quarrymill Woodland Park in Scone. As I walked along the woodland path I wondered what wildlife I would encounter. A flock of ‘excited-child-explores!’ They ran through the woodlands singing the Great Tit’s song. ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher’ echoed through the trees. The children under the guidance of the RSPB are studying four challenges to achieve the John Muir Award.

“Discover, Explore, Conserve, Share”

IMG_9286
Explorer Tracks, copyright © Olsen 2018

The sound in our natural environment is a symphony of sounds, an encounter full of experiences, feelings, and gestures. I intend to join Miranda on many more Quarrymill adventures. To observe a child’s experience of wild sounds. I wonder what they will hear? And will I find any in-between-ness here?

[1] John Muir Trust. (2018). Discover John Muir. Available: https://discoverjohnmuir.com/. Last accessed 1st Nov 2018.

In-Between Sound

“Listening to sound is where objectivity and subjectivity meet” [1]

In Voegelin book Listening to noise and silence, she discusses a liminal quality found in listening. She describes listening as an experience of our perception. The listener produces objectivity from the subjective listening position. Objective thought is what we take to be the objective world. For example a computer screen, the table etc. A subjective thought is what we take to be our narrative thinking or imagination. For example the thoughts you have while listening.

I consider listening to sound is an in-between experience. Sound can be activated as a disruption, or incursion, in-between the objective and subjective experience. We can describe this disruption as being in-between mind and matter.

A Sonic Reality of the In-betweencopyright © Olsen 2018

I have searched for In-between categories found in the audible world. In Asenjo book ‘In-between: an essay on categories, He believes contradictions should not be eliminated or modified as they provide “an ‘opportunity for a richer, two sided development of factual meaning[2].’

I consider soundscapes create an experience that opens up the possibilities of in-between-ness. Within an immersive soundscape, a dynamic interplay of in-between categories happens, for example, cause and event[3], objectivity and subjectivity and feelings in-between the strange and the familiar. The In-between categories found in sonic realities are not fixed points, for example; in-between presence and absence. Our perception moves or flows in-between these two points.

 

[1] Voegelin, S. 2010, Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. P14

[2] Asenjo, F. G. (1988). In-between: an essay on categories, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America, Washington, D.C. P65

[3] Augoyard, J; Torgue, H. (2006). Sonic Experience. a Guide to Everyday Sounds.. Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.