Friday, 14 August 2015


Image used with permission of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
Yesterday [13 August] I went to a talk on a new collaborative First World War art project between Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and American sound artist, Halsey Burgund

The piece is called Tributaries and it is an app based sound work using voices of Tyne and Wear.  The geographical scope of the project overlaps with Durham at War, such as Gateshead and Birtley. 

The app is meant to be used on a smart phone whilst walking around Tyne and Wear.  Over an ambient background piece of music that is constant but varies depending on how far from the Tyne you are, voices come in and out, reading from First World War diaries, letters, newspapers et al.  Some of the content is also location based so if you were using the app in North Shields for instance, you might hear an extract of a story relating to the town or a person from there.

The content already available was produced by volunteer using material from within Tyne and Wear’s archive and museum collections.  The volunteers did both research and the reading.  Newcastle Library held an open day for the public to look at First World War era newspapers and record their favourite stories.  The voices also include that of Jenny Bartram, the BBC weather presenter, who reads from the weather log of St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay. 

A key aspect of Tributaries, as with some of Halsey Burgund’s previous works, is that is evolving.  Not only is the piece interactive (based on location), but it is contributory.  Users can record their own voices which will immediately be added into the sound work.  This can be from family records or reflections on the war and a particular location. 

You can find out more, including how to download the app, available for Apple and Android, at 

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