Queer the landscape! Walking-songwriting from Melrose to Lindisfarne


A definition

Ice pick: a word or term from your own scholarship that you overuse so often it makes you want to shove an ice pick in your eye.


Sarah Truman and David Shannon led this session based on a five-day walking research-creation project called Queer the Landscape in which they composed music and lyrics whilst walking the border between Scotland and England. The purpose of this research-creation was to explore creativity and walking in nature, through an intersectional lens. In research-creation, artistic practice is both research and theory, and thus the insights from the project take the form of ten ‘sonic cultures’ (sonic cultures rather than songs, as they are not all necessarily songs) that have been re-worked since the walk.


As Oblique Curiosities, their glitch-folk band, Sarah and David performed some of these sonic cultures (songs) before inviting participants to construct their own lyrics and perform them in groups. For example, participants were invited to think of their own personal ‘ice picks’ (see above) and sing them to a backing track. This was the part of the session several people had said they were nervous about, however everyone participated and the atmosphere was fun and supportive. It was interesting to think about the role of atmosphere, place, affect and general context in how it feels possible or not possible to use one’s voice in this way. This mirrors the original ontology behind Queer the Landscape; the sonic cultures are the direct result of a particular kind of time, space, moment.


“Each sonic culture is a pressing together of ever-multiplying spatial, temporal, and affective emplacements that could never have touched, but are here relived and re-represented in a queering of chronological time.”

Truman and Shannon, 2018, p.64


You can hear the original sonic cultures, and learn more about what an ice pick is, by looking at the below journal article, which includes links to the music.


More info:

Truman, S. E. and Shannon, D. B. (2018). Queer sonic cultures: An affective walking-composing project. Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry.

Oblique Curiosities (www.obliquecuriosities.com)


ice pick 4.jpg

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