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Kate Gater.

Sound artist Kate Gater, from Chester, studied her PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) with the Department of Art and Design at the University’s Kingsway site. She is a practising artist working with sound, digital technology as well as traditional pencil, paint and 3D work.

In a piece first shown in 2019 on BBC1’s Countryfile, and featuring again in a new episode of the show taking a trip around ‘Wild Britain’, she discusses and demonstrates her passion for recording the hidden sounds of nature.

The feature can be watched, 45 minutes into the episode at:

By placing microphones in trees and under the water in river beds, Kate is able to capture the sounds that the human ear struggles to hear in daily life. Recording in winter also provides the opportunity to gather sounds that are often hidden even further, such as the creaking of the trees which can be muffled by foliage in spring and summer.

Kate’s PhD on Auditory Memories and Recollections of Time and Place Using Sound Art, was awarded later in the same year she filmed with Countryfile.

She said: “I first used sound in my final exhibition for my MA (Master of Arts) when my lecturer suggested using sound to a time lapse piece of photography film in my final year.

“I mostly record eco-acoustics, the natural sound of area and biosphere. I save successful recordings and use whole or excerpts for creative sound pieces. They are shared on SoundCloud and YouTube, the internet and through exhibiting.  

“I love using sound because it is spatial, it is wonderful to capture a transient, ephemeral sound. Auditory memories are emotionally powerful. You can also record sound that is difficult or impossible for us to hear ordinarily, like underwater and resonance.”  

Countryfile saw Kate visit Bickerton Hill and explain how certain sounds can trigger memories from childhood or transport the listener back to certain times in their lives, which she hopes can take them on a personal journey.

She added: “I continue to explore the auditory memories of time and place using recordings from the natural world, I then weave these sounds into a personal memory recollection that inspires new thoughts and feelings through the artwork.”

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