University of Nottingham

Talking Trees - Preview

Foyer, New Theatre
Thursday 23rd June 2022 (13:00-15:00)
Lan Lo
Registration URL

This event presents a preview of a collaborative research project that provides staff, students and alumni from the University of Nottingham (UoN) with the opportunity to ‘Journey to the East’ without actually travelling to the country.

It is located within the literature on student migration and chimes with previous projects delivered either separately or in partnership by Lo and Pinchbeck around notions of migration and belonging. It was devised in collaboration between Dr Lan Lo, Assistant Professor in Chinese Language and Society, from the UoN and Dr Michael Pinchbeck, Reader in Theatre (MMU) during the Covid-19 pandemic as an alternative to study placement for students taking Chinese on university degree programmes. It was part of a package of measures designed to address these students’ language and cultural study needs in the context of lockdown and restrictions on international travel including to China.

For this event the team will share work-in-progress of an audio walk. Talking Trees/树说/述说 involves a living archive of stories to be listened to at trees, imported from China, by downloading the audio via a QR code. The stories explore the notion of roots/routes and how trees have grown over time as a metaphor for migration and belonging. One tree represents the idea of ‘leaving home’ while the other tree represents the idea of ‘arriving home’. At each of the two trees you are invited to listen to verbatim interviews with Chinese speakers on a range of relevant themes. The voices were provided by international students from a range of backgrounds. A fictional narrative drawn from archival research and images explores the journey the trees might have taken from China to the UK, 100 years ago, how they might be talking to each other and what they might say. This fictional narrative frames the interviews and forms an audio trail between the trees for visitors to follow. This immersive audio experience has been designed with Leicester-based artist Chris Cousin.

Those attending will need to bring a mobile phone device and mobile headphones for the best experience. This event is mobile and, whilst we will make it as accessible as possible, we will be visiting trees around campus and this may involve inclines, steps and stairs.

Location: Foyer, New Theatre, University Park campus

University of Nottingham

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