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Call -out for you to be heard in the forest: 'if trees were lone women what would they sound like?'

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Are you a woman who walks in the woods alone? Would you like to? Would you never? Will you walk there one day or even one night? As part of Sanctuary Lab 2021 I will be creating a sound installation (with some tech advice from Ruaridh Law) deep in the Galloway Forest. For 24 hours only visitors will be able to track and trace the individual and collective voices of the 'lone women wood'. Send your words, sounds, music from anywhere in the world to be heard in a Scottish forest.

Event Description

‘If trees were lone women what would they sound like’ is an opportunity for those on site to track, trace and immerse themselves in the audio of women from around the world whispering in words, sounds and music from 17 identified trees. In creating a loosely delineated star shaped ‘Lone Women Wood’ this work will produce an ongoing record of answers to the question often asked of women, how do you feel about going into the woods alone, and will facilitate the voices of those who might not otherwise do so, to be heard there.

Combined with the sounds of the forest, those in the space will catch glimpses of desire, calm, joy, fear, myth, reality, hopes and how it might feel if the polyphony of women’s voices were to float free in the air and connect with the environment, and those human and non-human elements within it.

It is an opportunity for women to find the site alone but also feel surrounded and supported by the traces of others. It will give insight to those used to spending time in woods alone or otherwise, enabling them to catch the different perspectives of others' real and imagined experiences. The traces of many will connect and cause people to listen deeply. The tracking down of the ‘Lone Women Wood’ will give a sense of what it is to anticipate the unknown, not quite sure of what will be there. In order to find the ‘talking trees’ people will have to spend time moving quietly through the space, being open to what they might hear and encounter, and also what they might miss.

Clare Archibald will also write a song to sing from different trees at several random, and one fixed, points throughout the event. This will embody and explore the idea of women feeling watched and self-conscious in outdoor spaces, of voicing their experience free from wider discourse or imposed narrative. Her voice in real time will catch the traces and presence of others, both in situ and via the audio installation.

Those experiencing the 'lone women wood' will be invited to record their own audio message afterwards, creating an ongoing dialogue of real and imagined individual experience and wider connection.

Have your voice/sounds heard in the woods

I will choose the trees according to the audio that comes in and what fits best with each tree. We would like as many different voices as possible and the call-out is therefore very open with the only criteria being that audio is from women (including trans and NB) and that it in some way expresses your real and imagined experiences of being alone in a forest. Some possible things that you could send are:

  • a favourite memory of being alone in the woods

  • a poem that expresses your feelings about being alone in the forest

  • or a piece of music or field recordings

  • a song

  • you could tell us about woodland folklore or forest myth

  • a description of your favourite tree or forest and what it's like to go there

  • what you would like people coming across you in the woods to do/say

  • why you don't go to the woods alone

  • why you do

  • what it's like to nightwalk in the forest

  • a list of words that you associate with alone in the forest

  • something you would like to share with other women

  • something you would like others to understand about being alone in the woods

  • maybe you just want to scream about the fact you'll never feel comfortable doing it

  • things you think might make you change your mind/feel safer

  • what you love about being in the woods alone

  • a combination of some of these things or anything else you can think of.

You can send old or new words, sounds or music, as long as they are yours to share. They don't have to be created specifically for this event although that would be nice.

How to do it

The deadline for audio is midnight your time Sunday 5th September. There is no limit on the length or the amount of different audio pieces you can send but please do as separate contributions. You can record on your phone or using apps or professional equipment, it's entirely up to you. Files in MP3 format are preferred but we can convert if not so don't worry about the technicalities. The important thing is what you have to say/sound.

Contributions in languages other than English are welcome, as are translations if you would like these to be included also.

We want you to be able to express what you would like to so will choose specific trees for voices that are trauma related/have content warnings so that we can responsibly manage access. If you feel that your audio fits in this category please put 'content warning' in the header.

Send your recordings to via this free WeTransfer link.

If you would like your name to appear in any list of contributors that might be created please say so in the message and type how you would like it to appear.

All copyright remains with you but by contributing you are agreeing to the recordings being used potentially in future installations of 'if trees were lone women what would they sound like'

Thank you for your interest and we really look forward to your participation. We'd greatly appreciate you sharing the call-out and please feel free to tag us on Twitter and Instagram @wildernessflash.


event image copyright Robyn J McLennan 2021

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