Murmuration is a collective film poem for our times; an inventory of what really matters, celebrating our love for the natural world in a time of Climate Crisis and Coronavirus. The Murmuration project is part of Writing the Climate, poet Linda France’s residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University.
We collected over 450 responses to a public call-out for contributions to Murmuration, which were then scribed, distilled and curated into a single long poem by Linda France, expressing the collective imagination of all who contributed. The lines have been brought to life in an animated film by artist Kate Sweeney, which reflects and offers insights on our connection with this earth, the natural world and each other at this extraordinary moment in time.
In autumn and winter, just before dusk, great flocks of starlings gather in astonishing displays of aerial acrobatics, a prelude to roosting. A ‘murmuration’ like this might include hundreds of thousands of birds, or as few as two or three hundred, flying together, never colliding. Starlings know there is safety in numbers, protection from predators and cooling temperatures. The birds can share news and information, enjoy each other’s company, arcing, folding and singing together.
In the human realm, creative Climate Action requires both an individual and a collective response and the starlings’ murmuration offers a symbol of what can be achieved through community, collaboration and co-operation. Learning from the starlings, we can raise our wings, our voices in a loud accumulating murmur, and remember to stay in touch with what we love about this miraculous world where we live, sharing our observations, feelings, dreams and wishes. Together we have created something spectacular, far greater than the sum of its parts, an ensemble work of art.