Before you read any further, listen to this…

Interesting, evocative and unique, it is a new digital soundscape created for this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival.

Hear the soundscape at Barley Hall in York

Available from 10am-5pm during the Jorvik Viking Festival (Feb 14-22)

Barley Hall admission: children £3, adults £6

More about Converge

Called The Vikings’ Brave New World the track is a joint enterprise between festival organisers and the Converge programme, York St John University’s arts education partnership with local mental health providers.

More than 50 York people from a range of backgrounds and with a variety of mental health issues worked on the soundscape together.

It was inspired by the idea of Viking journeys, made without a compass.

The idea came from Jane Stockdale, project coordinator at the Jorvik Viking Centre. She said:

It emerged that this idea could have real resonance for people with mental illness: every day might be like going off into an unknown world, or being all at sea without a sense of direction.

Bubble wrap and hurdy-gurdies

Everyone contributed in a different way.

One woman wrote a poem about the loneliness of being left behind as her Viking husband travels; one man played his hurdy-gurdy.

Some were talented musicians or singers; even bubble wrap and creaking piano stools make an appearance.

The sounds have then been manipulated, bent, echoed or even multi-layered to re-imagine the Viking world through sound.

Chris Bartram of Converge said:

Some of the participants are exceptional musicians, but like many people with mental health problems, might have found it challenging to perform in public.

The project has given people an opportunity to experience the joy of performing for other people and, most importantly, to reach out to the world.

People love it

viking-festival-soundscape
Students taking part in the Converge project
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few comments from participants…

It took me to a different place in my mind
A testament to the collective imagination
Working with others gave me great happiness

Many stories are woven into The Vikings’ Brave World – stories of personal experience and stories inspired by Viking history.

This project is part of a vibrant media arts scene, recently recognised when York become UNESCO’s first UK City of Media Arts, one of the world’s leading creative cities in the digital industries.