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YSWN-affiliated group SONA share details of their ongoing LANDMASS project, part of YSWN Amplify.

We are SONA: a Sheffield-based group working to support women and girls in sound and music technology, as well as curating events and developing our own creative work.

One of our core members Amy moved to Orkney at the end of 2018 – which presented a 500-mile challenge to our ability to work collaboratively! During the course of this project we will develop a new sound art installation alongside creating a framework for remote collaboration on audiovisual projects.

At the heart of this project is face-to-face research in Orkney undertaken during our recent week-long residency in Stromness. We immersed ourselves in the light and land of Orkney by visiting standing stones, a Neolithic village and WWII installations. Taking deep experience of the landscape as our starting point we took several hundred black and white photographs, working each evening to abstract and simplify these into sonifiable line drawings and textures.

During the residency we also held discussions about how to maintain our working practices over distance, experimenting with different online platforms for sharing inspiration and following up on ideas.

Orkney scene
black and white drawing of landscape

We finished the week with an open studio event at the Warehouse Buildings attended by over 30 people, including representatives from leading local cultural organisations. We showed our working process from photograph to drawing to sound, encouraging attendees to take part by drawing, scanning and sonifying their own images.

line drawing of a cottage
Public event in Stromness

Next steps for the project are testing and refining our remote working practices in preparation for finalising the work into an immersive installation later this year.

Follow our progress at or on Twitter @sonawomen

Delivered by SONA as part of the YSWN Amplify programme, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.