Epic Installation ‘Soundscapes’ Premieres in Skipton

Soundscapes - an immersive audio-visual installation that invites audiences on a sensory journey through the Yorkshire Dales - premieres in Skipton on 14 March, 2024. Created by the immersive media…


Soundscapes – an immersive audio-visual installation that invites audiences on a sensory journey through the Yorkshire Dales – premieres in Skipton on 14 March, 2024.

Created by the immersive media artist Michaela French and composer Ben Crick, Soundscapes will showcase the diverse scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

Projected inside a purpose-built hemispherical dome, Soundscapes combines 360° videography of the Yorkshire Dales with a symphonic soundtrack, inspired by the landscape.

The unique project sees audiences sit, or lie, under the cinematic dome to undertake an extraordinary experience of sight, sound, and space, with the original orchestral composition performed by Skipton Camerata, North Yorkshire’s only professional orchestra.

The installation is the brainchild of one of Yorkshire’s leading composers and conductor of Skipton Camerata, Ben Crick.

Ben Crick said: “My hobby has always been caving, climbing, and walking. What I wanted was to take people on a musical journey to these places they might not otherwise see. So, I’ve created a musical portrayal of what it feels like to be there.”

Up to 14 visitors at a time can occupy the dome to experience the ‘cave’ like immersive installation.

Ben said: “We hope to lift audiences, and transport them via the beauty of nature and the power of music. The high harmonics of violins will sound like the breeze, and violins and violas reflect the dance of the water; there is drama in what it makes you feel and that’s the intention.”

Immersive media artist Michaela French has a PhD in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art, London. Michaela is co-founder of the Fulldome Creative Network and serves on various advisory boards around immersive media spaces; she’s collaborated with festivals and events around the world including in Australia, Mexico, and Amsterdam.

Michaela French said: “It really starts with this extraordinary landscape, and our relationship with it, both of which are under pressure – us, and our natural world. I’ve lived in Yorkshire for just two years, so for me, it’s like wonderland, new and different, so I hope to bring a fresh pair of eyes to Ben’s viewpoint.”

A dynamic team of creatives from across the north has collaborated to design the installation. The team was spearheaded by experts from Northumbria University’s architecture department, including Peter Dixon, who led on the exhibition interpretation and production, and Shaun Young and Steve Roberts, as architectural leads. The bespoke joinery and specialist fit-out company, Hadley, also played a crucial role in constructing the Dome.

Additional structural engineering support came from Anton Sawicki from the engineer consultancy, Buro Happold. Graphic design was created by Field Design, and Heather Ditch provided the written interpretation.

The idea evolved from a project Ben Crick initiated combining his music with footage of the Yorkshire Dales in virtual reality headsets, which received hugely positive responses.

Katie Peacock, who runs the volunteer group Exclusively Inclusive that trialled the headsets, said: “It’s not easy for a lot of people to get into the countryside but this unique approach removes those physical barriers. I saw people responding to places they hadn’t seen in decades, and people who might struggle with anxiety, begin to relax. It genuinely transported people.”

Classical music and nature are proven to boost wellbeing. Numerous studies show classical music can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even boost immunity and memory function. Research around the BBC’s Planet Earth series found that even watching nature on our screens is shown to substantially decrease anxiety.

Ben Crick has held a BBC Music Fellowship and worked with orchestras throughout the world conducting the likes of Lesley Garrett, Sir Willard White, and Raphael Wallfisch, and is also the co-founder and conductor of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. Ben has written soundtracks for games, adverts, animation, and film. He teaches at the University of Huddersfield and Leeds Conservatoire, and sits on the Bradford Cultural Voice Forum.

Ben added: “The Yorkshire Dales has inspired artists throughout the centuries. We know audiences are going to be left in awe, experiencing this immersive, emotional, and inspiring journey.”

The story behind the music-and-nature installation, the design and construction of the dome, and the health and wellbeing reasons that motivated the project will be told in the enclosing exhibition at Skipton Town Hall.

Soundscapes is at Skipton Town Hall from 14 March – 1 June 2024. Entry to the gallery is free. Find more information and gallery opening times by visiting skiptontownhall.co.uk


For further media enquiries, please contact Ann: ann@causeuk.com m: 0753 489 2715

To access photos for press use, go to: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/do45qfmkang9fyjjsf0p9/h?rlkey=8vuo7ttcqudxkfwgelx75n579&dl=0

Notes to Editors

About Skipton Camarata

Skipton Camerata’s primary purpose is the delivery of live classical music to a national standard in areas of limited provision across Yorkshire. We want to remove barriers that prevent people from engaging with classical music. We believe everyone should be able to enjoy high-quality live orchestral music as much as we do.

Founded in 2004 by its artistic director, Ben Crick, Skipton Camerata is North Yorkshire’s only professional orchestra. The orchestra regularly commissions and premieres new works.

Skipton Camerata’s outreach programme, particularly that with young people, lies at the heart of its work. Camerata regularly teams up with schools and charities to offer workshops and concerts for children and students.

Skipton Camerata is grateful for the support of Skipton Town Hall where it is orchestra-in-residence and to Skipton Building Society which has sponsored the orchestra since 2006.


About Ben Crick

Yorkshire-born conductor Ben Crick has 20 years’ experience working in the music industry, not least as founder of Skipton Camerata. He is a staff conductor at the Leeds Conservatoire and a regular guest conductor with orchestras throughout the UK and Europe. Ben has worked many international soloists including Lesley Garrett, Jennifer Pike, Sir Willard White, Raphael Wallfisch, and Aled Jones.


Ben Crick, photo credit Guzelian Media 

Ben is becoming increasingly known as a composer, writing music for the concert hall and for adverts, animation, and film. He has written for BBC Music Magazine, Opera Now and Early Music Today, translated 3 operas and has been a guest contributor for BBC Radio.  Ben is also an avid climber, caver and fell runner, and he enjoys rugby league and being a dad.


About Michaela French

Michaela French is an artist and researcher working with light and time-based media across a broad range of artistic contexts. Light serves as subject, medium and experience in her artistic practice which is grounded in an ecological systems-based approach. Michaela creates innovative artworks and award-winning moving image experiences for 360° immersive media spaces, contemporary performance, museums, and gallery exhibition.

Michaela completed her PhD in Information Experience Design at Royal College of Art, London in 2020. Michaela is a co-founder and chair of the Fulldome Creative Network and serves on the Advisory Boards for IMERSA and the Fulldome Festival.


About Skipton Town Hall

Historic Skipton Town Hall is a cultural hub in North Yorkshire, home of Craven Museum and Exhibition Gallery and grand Concert Hall. It was recently awarded the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum 2023 and Best Accessible Museum 2023.