The Vale of Clara Soundwalk: Unveiling the Soundscape

The Vale of Clara Soundwalk: Unveiling the Soundscape

Saturday, 26 August 2023, 2.00pm

The Vale of Clara is a sessile oak woodland and national nature reserve in County Wicklow.

Over the past 18 months composer and sound artist Robert Coleman has been learning about the biodiversity there by listening to its soundscape. This soundwalk explores this act of listening and how it can be a method for learning about this local biodiversity and developing deeper connections to our environment. In turn this exploration highlights the interconnectedness of the biodiversity across Ireland and the challenges it currently faces.

Much of Robert’s field-recordings and research has revolved around the bird species of the area and this soundwalk will also include an introduction to bird language and how it can aid our understanding of our environment. A recent success story here lies in the resurgence of the Great Spotted Woodpecker which has returned and increased dramatically in numbers in Wicklow over the past 20 years. As well as learning about the sounds of this notable species and others, the walk will feature creative sound works engaging the listeners in the experience of the animals found on site and their relationship with mankind.
By actively listening we can begin a proper dialogue with these non-human voices and allow them to become active forces in their own environment.

Meeting Point: Vale of Clara Nature Reserve Car Park.

Please note there are multiple car parks for the forest. The meeting point for the walk is on the east side of the wood. Google Maps link here:
See also map included in event pictures

• Please bring headphones and a smartphone. Parts of this walk will feature audio hosted on the Echoes app which you will need to download. Full information and links will be sent to you in advance of the event. Technical assistance will be available on-site before the beginning of the walk. Please get in touch if you do not have access to headphones and a smartphone.
• The walk is completely outdoors and the route involves crossing uneven ground and so please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.
• The duration of the walk will be approximately 1 hour.
Booking is essential for all participants. As places are limited, please only reserve a ticket if you will be present for the event.
The wood is not easy to get to by public transport so if you are driving and would like to offer lifts to others, please leave a message when booking your ticket. Similarly, if you need a lift please get in touch and I will do my best to put you in contact with someone who might be able to help out.

Tickets are free and donations are very welcome!
Many thanks to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for granting permission for this event.

Composer Robert Coleman’s current work draws from numerous fields such as soundscape studies, site-specific art, field recording, and community and participatory arts. In 2019 he completed his Masters studies at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague with Yannis Kyriakides and Diderik Wagenaar and having also previously studied architecture his work often features spatial concepts and metaphors as frameworks for the composition process. He is currently a PhD student at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast focusing on Ecological Sound Art.
He has been commissioned by Crash Ensemble and New Music Dublin, the National Concert Hall Dublin, Irish National Opera, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Tallaght Community Arts, violinist Larissa O’Grady and others.
Highly active in artistic direction he is a founding member and performer with Dublin based experimental music group Kirkos and in 2023 he founded the School of Wild Listening, a platform for the discussion and dissemination of ecological sound art. Its aim is to promote an understanding of the living world and the current challenges we face through open and accessible listening and creative sound events.

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Added by Robert Coleman on 18 August 2023

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