Making creativity accessible to all
At Brookes we have a strong reputation for our pioneering work in sonic art and poetry and for our commitment to making this accessible to all. We want to extend the reach of our work, to give more people the opportunity to participate in art which is immersive and exciting and which will broaden and shape their life experiences.
Our progress so far
In 2012 Oxford Brookes lecturer, Ray Lee, was recognised as British Composer of the Year for Sonic Art. His work uses research-informed ‘sound sculptures’ to create large-scale, breath-taking performances such as Siren (pictured). He has performed at key arts venues all over the world including New York, Vancouver, Melbourne and Auckland.
This Siren is equally as entrancing, as alluring as the creatures of myth. It is an unusual treat, a feast of the unexpected. I'm sure that each person has their own very private and individual experience, every moment feeling like a new discovery, while feeling part of the whole, the compelling sonic worldBritish Theatre Guide
Our Poetry Centre has designed and coordinated a successful outreach programme working with the most marginalized or under-represented adults and young people in the local community. It gives a voice to those who would otherwise remain unheard. In a project for refugees, local poets were teamed with 14 refugee writers to write about exile, leading to the widely publicised anthology, See How I Land.
The Poetry Centre created the role of Oxford City Poet in 2011, together with Oxford City Council, to promote poetry, enrich the cultural life of Oxford and influence young people across the city.
Ray Lee wants to take contemporary music out of concert halls and galleries to reach even wider audiences. One of his latest research projects is Sonic Fairground which sees the creation of large-scale moving machinery to make contemporary music.
We want to expand our unique outreach work to support vulnerable people and children, including those with mental health problems and young people from marginalized communities. We also want to further involve schools and voluntary groups. Building on the success of the City Poet’s work, the Centre wants to use poetry to help students feel more confident in their writing and their communication and ultimately to improve the quality of their lives.
A city-wide Oxford Young Poet competition and an annual Oxford Festival of Poetries are planned over the next two years, giving young people from all backgrounds and languages the opportunity to get published and take part in a prestigious Arvon writing course.
How you can help
If you are motivated to extend the reach of these types of creative activities, donations of all sizes will help to make this a reality. By supporting our Humanity Fund, your gift will help us to reach out to more adults and young people who will benefit hugely from broadening their life experiences, to involve more poets with diverse backgrounds and to run more workshops for different community groups.
Ray Lee’s composition, Siren, has been performed more than 200 times at key venues across the world. Created on the top floor of an old spinning mill in Derbyshire, he developed a series of sound machines that evoked the sense of spinning, using a tripod with rotating loudspeakers. The work allows the audience to actively participate, moving around the space and experiencing different sonic and visual perspectives. As Ray explains, this type of performance offers an “out of the ordinary, immersive experience which is both new and exciting.”