Listening to Shadows: Seán Street explores the work of Piers Plowright

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From 1998 to 2017, the BBC radio features producer Piers Plowright traditionally gave the opening talk at the biennial School of Sound international festivals celebrating the world of audio in its many forms. Plowright, who died in 2021, was a legendary programme maker; he was also a teacher and communicator of charm, passion and charisma. There is a generation of students and professional colleagues who found his lectures to be seminal moments in their creative development; likewise there is now an upcoming generation who will not have the benefit of his generous teaching and insights. Fortunately, the SoS Piers Plowright lectures were recorded, and are now available to listen to on its website. Seán Street, emeritus professor at Bournemouth University, was a close friend of Piers for thirty years, and in this talk, he shares extracts from this rich archive, as well as from Plowright’s radio oeuvre, and some personal recollections of their friendship. Found sound, music, the human voice, and – underlying everything – the silence of creative possibility: these were just some of the working tools of Piers Plowright. This will be an opportunity to revisit them, through the ears and voice of Plowright himself.

2 hours including Q&A.



Seán Street is an audio programme maker, poet, academic and the author of numerous books relating to radio history and sound. Among these are The Poetry of Radio – The Colour of Sound (Routledge, 2013), The Sound Inside the Silence (Palgrave, 2019), The Sound of a Room (Routledge, 2021) and Wild Track: Sound, Text and the Idea of Birdsong (Bloomsbury, 2023). He has published ten collections of poetry, most recently Running Out of Time (Shoestring Press, 2024) He is emeritus professor at Bournemouth University, and now lives in Liverpool.

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