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This story begins with a whale carcass which came ashore in August 2018 at Traigh an t-Suidhe/Strand of the Seat, at the North end of the Isle of Iona. It is a story told with the voices of science, art, music and poetry, and it explores the impact of military sonar on the ecology of the seas surrounding the Hebrides.


Led by visual artist Mhairi Killin with composer Fergus Hall - in collaboration with artist Tom deMajo of Biome Collective, poet Miek Zwamborn, calligrapher Susie Leiper and in partnership with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust - On Sonorous Seas gives voice to what is not apparent beneath the beauty of the Hebridean waters.

Through art, music and Poetry, On Sonorous Seas encourages a deeper listening to, and understanding of the sounds we may find there, and their meaning for the ecology of our seas.


On Sonorous Seas will be presented at An Tobar Tobermory, Isle of Mull, from 9th July - 26th August, 2022. Live performances of excerpts from Fergus Hall’s composition will happen at two locations; Calgary, Isle of Mull and Traigh an t-Suidhe, Isle of Iona, where two of the whales came ashore in 2018. These performances will be supported by talks with scientists from Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and Scottish Association for Marine Science.



There will be a series of podcasts available through this website and at listening stations at An Tobar and at The HWDT Discovery Centre in Tobermory from 8th July.

On Sonorous Seas has become a living project through the support of Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, An Tobar, Creative Scotland, CHArts, SPACE CIC, Scottish Association for Marine Science, and National Museum of Scotland.


With many thanks to: All the team at HWDT; Mike Darling for taking on the idea and staying with it; Jon Macleod, Màiri NicGillìosa for bones and stories; Dr. Denise Risch of Scottish Association for Marine Science, for cetacean sounds and support from the beginning; Dr. Andrew Kitchener and Dr. David Cooper of National Museum of Scotland for access to the ‘Whale Room’ and expertise in 3D scanning; Dr. Mariele Tendoeschate and Dr. Andrew Brownlow of Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme, and Ashley Leiper for spectrograms.

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