Changing Music in a Changing Climate (15 Oct 20)

15 October 2020

In January this year, PRiSM invited students working in climate/environment science to collaborate with RNCM students in composition and performance, on pieces inspired by contemporary climate and environment issues. Workshops brought the scientists and musicians together, led by PRiSM Artists in Residence, Sarah Nicolls and Laura Bowler, who both create artistic work on the climate and ecological emergency.

A digital show was streamed on 15 October 2020, presenting the result of these collaborations with introductions from Sarah Nicolls, Laura Bowler and the composers and the climate scientists who took part. Watch the show again in full (below with running order), or dip in and out of each piece by clicking on the thumbnails at the bottom of the page. For more about the ongoing collaboration, see here.


  1. 00:00 General introduction by PRiSM Centre Manager Sam Duffy
  2. 01:10 PRiSM Artists in Residence Sarah Nicolls and Laura Bowler
  3. 02:35 Three Perspectives introduced by composer Simon Knighton
  4. 11:18 Climate Scientist Freya Mitchison
  5. 13:06 helix introduced by composer Xia Leon Sloane
  6. 16:22 Semilla Seed introduced by composer Nara Garcia
  7.  22:22 Parts Per Billion introduced by composer José Del Avellanal Carreño and cellist Hoda Jahanpour
  8. 31:50 Climate Scientist Katherine Turner
  9. 33:09 Planetary Boundaries – Human Needs introduced by composer Tywi John Hywel Roberts
  10. 47:57 Honest Environments introduced by composer Deane Smith
Thank you to Freya Mitchison for providing the images used as a header and thumbnails for the project web pages. They are diatoms (photosynthetic algae) that lived between 2-15 million years ago, recovered from Southern Ocean sediment cores. Diatom species, assemblages and shell chemistry help scientists to understand past ocean conditions and how the Antarctic ice sheet evolved through time.