October & November Events

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you will already know about these three upcoming events:

Conversations on a Bench on Radio 4

Two Countries at Berwick Literary Festival

Sun at Life Planetarium, Newcastle – Friday Night Life

If you don’t already know about them, please read on:
Conversations on a Bench

BBC Radio 4, Sunday October 9th 4.30 pm

Repeated Saturday October 15th 11.30 pm, and on iplayer

Anna Scott-Brown returns to hear more stories from the people who stop to sit beside her on benches around the country. In this episode, she is joined on a bench overlooking Beadnell Harbour in Northumberland by holiday-makers, environmentalists and some members of the last remaining fishing families of Beadnell.

Throughout the programme, a specially commissioned work by poet and Beadnell resident, Katrina Porteous draws on the voices of locals and passers by.

Presenter: Anna Scott-Brown
Producer: Adam Fowler
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.



Two Countries at Berwick Literary Festival

Sunday October 23rd noon

Guildhall, Berwick Town Hall

Two Countries

Poetry and Northumbrian pipes from Katrina Porteous and Alice Burn

shortlisted for the 2015 Portico Prize for Literature, Katrina Porteous’ Two Countries draws on traditions of the Border Ballad and Northumbrian story-telling to explore the shifting relations between landscape and community. Katrina will be joined by BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Musician of the Year finalist, Northumbrian Piper Alice Burn.

Tickets £5 – available from Berwick Maltings but please note that event takes place in Guildhall

Event sponsored by Greaves, West and Ayre


Photo credit Marjorie Baillie



by Katrina Porteous and Peter Zinovieff

World Premiere, Friday November 18th

An exploration of our nearest Star in words and music

In partnership with Northumbria University and Think Physics

Planetarium, Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP

Two evening performances (times to be announced)

Planetarium visuals by Christopher Hudson

Our Sun is amazing. Space telescopes like NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory allow us to ‘see’ it in wavelengths far beyond human vision, to ‘hear’ the sounds it makes, and to use those sounds to ‘look’ inside it.

Sun draws on data from the Sun as the basis for some of its digital music. Through its soundscape and poetry, supported by stunning photographic images, it examines what our nearest star is made of: hot plasma (ionised gas), threaded by a strong magnetic field. This magnetism is generated by internal convective motion via a dynamo process, responsible for sunspots and dramatic solar flares which directly affect us here on Earth.

Through the interaction of music and words, Sun explores these awesome processes, upon which all light and life on Earth depend.


Part of Life Science Centre ‘Friday Night Life’

Duration: approximately 45 minutes, including a short introduction to the Sun by a member of Northumbria University Solar Physics Research Group

Online advance tickets: £8.00 per person. On the door: £10 per person. 20% discount for annual pass holders

19a still prominence-browse NASA



New Networks for Nature, September 2016

New Networks for Nature

In Touch with the Wild

David Attenborough Building, Cambridge

22-24 September 2016

New Networks for Nature is an annual event which brings together people from a variety of backgrounds in science, environmentalism and the arts, who share a belief that the natural environment is crucial to human imagination, creativity and well-being. I have the honour of being an ‘Ambassador’ for this network. This year’s symposium was held in collaboration with Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

As part of Friday’s events, I chaired an afternoon session on ‘Reconnection’, with geographer Ivan Scales, writer Sharon Blackie, and street artist @ATMStreetart. This session took as its starting point the question of how we take personal connection with the natural world to a broader audience. Ivan used his work on biodiversity conservation in Madagascar to talk about the political ecology of reconnection; Sharon spoke of the ways myths and stories of place help us reconnect; and @ATMStreetart showed some of the fabulous over-sized bird images which he paints on walls in urban areas to remind people of what has been lost and what still remains. 


The session was prefaced by Katharine Norbury, speaking and reading from her brilliant recent book, The Fish Ladder.

On Saturday morning I led one of a dozen workshops, Listening to a Landscape, on how poets connect to the physicality of landscape through sound. These workshops were followed by a closing session on Hope. It was cheering to hear 30-second summaries of restoration and reintroduction from around the room. The final and most moving words, infused with a lifetime of experience and an ultimate uplifting belief in humanity, came from Sir David Attenborough himself — a truly inspirational man:


‘In our hearts we know that we are part of the natural world. If the natural world is diminished, we are diminished.’ – David Attenborough.

Next year’s New Networks for Nature annual event will take place in Stamford, 16-18 Nov 2017.