Horden switched on to creativity with VoiceOver project

Part of the display in Horden's VoiceOver show.
Part of the display in Horden's VoiceOver show.
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A village was beaming with pride as its streets became the backdrop for an art celebration.

Residents’ homes in Horden were connected together with an interactive chain of light and sounds over the Easter bank holiday nights, in a project which reaches out into communities to get people more involved in art and creativity.

You’ve either loved it, or thought it’s not for me, but it’s got people talking.

Councillor June Clark

The area around Roseby Road Wellbeing Centre was transformed by VoiceOver, which saw people uses two sound booths to chat, sing or tell a story, which then used digital kit to turn it into light and sound between the houses.

The idea to use conversations and to bring together families was developed after creative technologists Umbrellium spoke to people from the area, and were told there was a lack of activities, especially after dark.

Thirty five people stepped up to the challenge to become VoiceOver hosts, displaying a light antenna on their homes that lit up as voices pass through and down the street, with Forma producing the events.

The project is part of East Durham Creates.

Its leader Nikki Locke said: “VoiceOver is a wonderful example of how, with the help of local communities, East Durham Creates is testing lots of different approaches to increase arts engagement in our area and helping to bring about long-lasting change.

“This kind of project is absolutely fundamental to all that we do – bringing amazing artists, like Umbrellium, and our communities together to see what happens.”

Durham County Councillor June Clark, a ward member for Horden, said: “People here came into the centre who only live across the street, who didn’t know it existed.

“VoiceOver has brought people in here – it’s got people in the community talking.

“This project has been a little like Marmite.

“You’ve either loved it, or thought it’s not for me, but it’s got people talking.”