JAPANESE works from Aberystwyth University’s renowned ceramics collection are set to provide the inspiration for an experimental music project led by a leading Japanese sound artist.
Toshimaru Nakamura, described as one of the most important electronic composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, will spend a week working in Aberystwyth at the beginning of March 2018.
The ceramics collection at the School of Art features works from contemporary Japanese ceramicists, along with earlier medieval works of mythological figures.
Working with experimental musicians Jenn Kirby, Dafydd Roberts, Andrew Leslie Hooker and Aberystwyth born harpist Rhodri Davies, Nakamura will use these pieces to develop an object score as a basis for an improvised musical performance.
An additional dimension to the sonic recipe will be provided by Dr Fred Labrosse from the Department of Computer Science who will scan the selected ceramics.
The data gleaned from the scans will be fed into software that will convert their physical attributes into a series of sounds for making music.
Through this process, ceramic glaze, depth and luminosity can give rise to unexpected tonalities affecting pitch, amplitude and timbre.
The group will also spend time working in a recording-studio.
This part of the project will be documented by film maker Dr Greg Bevan from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and shown at the 2019 Aberystwyth International Ceramics Festival.
The ceramics chosen by Nakamura and his collaborators will also go on show in the Arts Centre’s ceramics gallery in March 2018.
The project will culminate with Nakamura’s Welsh debut performance – Listen to the Voice of Fire at Ceredigion Museum on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 7.30pm.
The public performance will follow a project workshop with Nakamura at the Foundry Studio in the Parry Williams Building on Friday, March 9, 11am – 1pm (free admission).
Open to students and the wider community, this will be a rare opportunity to see Nakamura’s approach at close hand. Anyone with an interest in contemporary electronic music is warmly encouraged to attend this free event.
“Presenting a premier Japanese experimental sound artist to new audiences in mid and west Wales will be thrilling,” said Dr Roberts, “and give confidence to the emerging Wales Sound Network to develop international links with Japan, a country with longstanding dynamism in experimental music.
“We have an opportunity now to develop new links with Japanese artists and academic and arts worlds and potential in future to develop this into funded projects to extend mutual understanding and activity.”
Nakamura’s visit to Wales has been made possible through financial support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation.
Dr Roberts added: “Both these funders recognise how hard it is to bring stellar performers to centres outside of large conurbations.”
Listen to the Voice of Fire works is staged in partnership with Ceredigion Museum.
Nakamura’s instrument is the no-input mixing board, which describes a way of using a standard mixing board as an electronic music instrument, producing sound without any external audio input.
Nakamura pioneered this approach to the use of the mixing board in the mid 1990’s and has since then appeared on over one hundred audio publications, including nine solo CD’s.
He has performed throughout Europe, North America, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, China, Singapore and Malaysia, performing and recording both as a soloist and in collaboration with numerous other musicians.
As an active organizer of concerts in Tokyo, Nakamura has helped many musicians to travel to Japan and find places to perform, both with himself and with others.
From 1998 to 2003 Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama ran the concert series Improvisation Series at Bar Aoyama and then later the Meeting at Off Site series of concerts.
Ceredigion pupils receive Holocaust survivor experiences
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Ceredigion pupils had the opportunity to hear the story of a Holocaust survivor.
On 27 January 2020, it was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dr Martin Stern MBE was five years old when he was arrested at his school.
His journey was a difficult one being close to death on a few occasions. Dr Stern moved to Britain in 1950 and became a Doctor. These days, Dr Stern is educating young people about what happened. On 29 January 2020, he came to Aberaeron to talk to a hall full of Ceredigion’s young people.
Meinir Ebbsworth, Corporate Lead Officer for Schools said, “75 years ago, the world saw images of people coming out of the camps and coming to terms with what had happened. We are so grateful to Dr Martin Stern for coming to Ceredigion to share his story and experiences. It is not easy to talk about a very dark time in the world’s history. I hope our pupils have considered what we had heard. Due to the overwhelming silence in the room when Dr Stern was speaking, I think they really appreciated the afternoon.”
The afternoon was jointly organised by Ceredigion County Council’s schools service and ERW.
Bronze-medal winning hairdresser on the road to Shanghai
Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HCT) continue to lead the way in skills competitions across the UK. The latest success story is Bayley Harris, who recently qualified as a Level 2 hairdresser at HCT.
After succeeding in demanding regional and national qualifying rounds, Bayley earned a spot in the grand final of the WorldSkills UK competition which was held from 21 to 23 November 2019 at the NEC in Birmingham.
The competition took place over three full days, with Bayley having to compete in five different categories including dressing long hair, cutting, colouring, bridal hair and barbering. She finished in third place out of a total of ten top-class hairdressers, earning her the bronze medal in the awards ceremony.
As a result of her outstanding performance, Bayley has been selected for the Squad UK for the prestigious international WorldSkills Competition which will take place in Shanghai, China in 2021.
HCT hairdressing tutor Carys Randell, congratulated Bayley for doing so well in the competitions, as they were very intense and of an extremely high standard. She went on to add, “I am so proud of Bayley for coming third in the UK, and I look forward to supporting her on her next journey in Squad UK.”
The WorldSkills competition in Shanghai will feature over 1000 of the world’s most talented apprentices and students competing in over 50 different skills as they battle it out to be named the World Champion in their respective vocation.
Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services and Life-long learning. She said, “It’s great to follow Bayley’s journey within the hairdressing industry. This latest award is a credit to her. Bayley shows where you can reach if you put your mind to work with the support of Ceredigion Training. Good luck in the UK Squad.”
All staff and learners at HCT would like to congratulate Bayley in her most recent competition success and wish her all the best in her bid to represent the UK in China in 2021.
Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HCT) offers a range of vocational courses for people of all ages, including Hairdressing, Childcare, Business Administration, Information Technology, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrics, Blacksmithing, Motor Mechanics, and Welding. For more information, find HCT on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HyfforddiantCeredigion, or visit the website: http://www.ceredigiontraining.co.uk/hafan.
New student guide to recycling launched
A new student guide on recycling has been launched on Ceredigion County Council’s website.
The guide, aimed at students living in Aberystwyth, provides information on what can be recycled, top tips and how to make the most out of the new waste collection service. The guide raises awareness of the importance of recycling and aims to help improve recycling rates.
To coincide with the guide, a survey is being run for Aberystwyth students who live in private accommodation, to seek their views on recycling and to find out what their current waste disposal habits are. Findings of the survey will be used as part of a wider project looking at behaviour change in recycling, funded by the Welsh Government.
Participants completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw. The prizes, which have been kindly donated, range from a month’s free pass to the Cerdigion Actif swimming pool or gym at Plascrug Leisure Centre, Aberystwyth-branded merchandise from Aberystwyth’s Student Union shop, a group pass to one of Advancing Aberystwyth’s ‘Aber Fflics’ outdoor cinema experiences and an afternoon tea for two at the Coliseum Coffee House at Ceredigion Museum.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet member who has responsibility for Highways and Environmental and Housing Services said, “The new student guide will help make sure that students have got the essential information needed to make full use of the recycling services that are available to them here in Ceredigion. Due to the recent changes to our service, now is an ideal time to raise awareness of how easy it has become to recycle and to reduce the amount of recyclable items thrown needlessly in a black bin bag.
“For many students living in private accommodation, it may be the first time that they’re experiencing living independently and sharing the responsibility for dealing with the waste that they’re producing. This, teamed with the understanding that every Council in the UK differs in the way that they deal with waste, is why we’re currently focusing on our student population in Aberystwyth as they may be used to dealing with waste in an entirely different way.
“We’d like to find out their views on recycling and waste behaviours and to identify and overcome any issues they may be facing. So, if you’re an Aberystwyth student currently living in private accommodation we’d love to hear from you. The survey takes less than two minutes to complete with a chance to win a prize”
The students’ survey can be found here: http://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/StudentSurveyOnRecycling
Aber students’ guide to recycling can be found here: “https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/media/1068/aber-student-s-guide-to-recycling-2020.pdf
For the latest information on Ceredigion’s waste collection services, including the new postcode search go to: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/recycling
The survey is for Aberystwyth students who live in private accommodation only and is open until 02 March 2020. Winners of the prizes from the survey will be announced in March.
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