Tyne & Wear Museums workshops

Bridgette Foley and David Paterson at the sound editing workshop

Two Streetwise Opera Gateshead performers share their thoughts about taking part in workshops with the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

David Paterson - Outer Space

"Over the last few weeks, myself and Bridgette have participated in a course with the Tyne and Wear Museums, called Outer Space. During this course we have been on a number of tours, and have looked at the reason behind why buildings have become listed. The first week we went on a guided tour of the Discovery Museum, we were shown around and told of its history and told it was the old Co-op distribution centre. It produced linens, woollens, milk, tea and food-stuffs which were delivered to smaller shops. During the tour we saw parts of the old warehouse and dining rooms and also the old lift which has a hidden compartment, also the old beams which helped to transport the goods. I found this to be a very interesting tour.

"The second week we went on a tour of the city. Firstly we began with the Black Gate which is part of the Old Castle. This is now a museum open to the public, showing the history of the city and its people. Next we visited the old Keelman's Hospital that they plan to renovate and use. One of the aims of the session was to establish what this building could be used for...? 

"The place itself was suprisingly big as from the outside it looked quite small. It was broken into small flats with kitchen facilitiess and bathrooms. This building was occupied by the men who used to work on the Quayside. The building was quite dark with loads of space and little lighting. It looked like it could be used in a scene in a horror movie. It could also be used as some sort of homeless shelter as the design was appropriate for single flats.

"The third week we visited Broadacre House which is a building next to the old police station. This building houses a large number of charitable artistic and religious organisations, who rent space on a yearly basis, but the building is owned by two very rich London based buisnessmen. At present, there are only a small number of companies using the office spaces as there are large spaces still yet to be rented out. I found this very interesting and quite sad that a lot of the space is not being used to its full potential.and sad to hear that eventually it will be demolished to make way for new development."

Bridgette Foley - Sounds in the City

"Over the last four weeks, we have been doing a course with the Tyne and Wear Museums called Sounds in the City, and in the first week we met with a guy called Bruce, who broke us up into small groups and asked us to discuss and think of our favorite sounds. My favourite was the sound of my late Grandma singing the song 'Like a bridge over troubled water' whilst cooking in her kitchen. David Paterson's was the sound of the crowd at St James Park when Newcastle United score a goal.

"The second week we were given recording equipment and headphones and specialised mics, then we walked from the Laing Art Gallery up to the Newcastle Civic Centre, recording all the sounds that normally we dont really hear - like the birds singing high up in the trees and the woosh of air as a double decker bus flies past. Then we got to record underwater with a sonic mic and examine the difference a water feature can make inside and outside the water. Then we walked up to Leazes Park where we recorded the sounds in the park and there was a guy with a metal detector so that made some interesting sounds.and on top of it all it helped me and David with our fitness as we were walking around for two hours!

"The next few weeks we got to record more sounds in the city and then we were allowed to work with our own recordings on computers in the Newcastle library. We were using a sound application called Audacity and we were shown how we could edit, save, copy and paste our sounds and make up a great compilation of our favorite bits and also how to add effects and speed and slow down our sounds and save into a data file. We have really enjoyed this course it has been very enjoyable and educational. Thank you Streetwise!"