Crime Waves, Creative Sparks

Crime Waves at the Launch Event for the new Commons Building, Newton Park, Bath Spa University June 2014

With preparations well underway, the day arrived for setting up and dress rehearsal. The building was buzzing with the Creative Sparks teams fine tuning and ironing out last minute logistics. We were no exception. This was the first opportunity that we, ‘Crime Waves’, had pieced our ambitious project together.

As contributors to Crime Waves and all with heavy work loads beyond the project, we had mainly communicated by email and Skype, pulling all the strands together each with a vision of the outcome.

Ella Simpson had recorded interviews with members of the probation service, offenders and victims of crime, asking each the same set of questions. The resulting conversations were moving and enlightening. With the help of Megan McKenzie, they shaped the conversations into a powerful soundscape and individual stories were available to listen to on personal headphones.

For my part I had designed an installation to replicate rivulets of water running down a windowpane and had prepared video and moving text to give the appearance of words written on a misted window, appearing and disappearing. This was set in a free standing structure which housed some of the speakers. Strategically placed projectors were used to create the water and visual dialogue.

The day of the Launch arrived and we were still a long way from being ready but with the valuable support of Anthony Head and music technicians, the technical glitches were dealt with and we were ready to roll with minutes to spare before the official opening.

The evening was beautiful, warm and perfect; music wafted through the air and performing arts students entertained the guests as they arrived. Professor Christina Slade introduced the opening ceremony and Anna Glasbrook’s dramatic ribbon was cut by Lord Puttnam CBE.

With the formalities over, the visitors were able to explore this amazing building. We had many visitors to Crime Waves and responses ranged from powerful and moving to stunning and visually beautiful.

All too soon the evening came to an end and the room was dismantled and everything packed away.

This is not the end for Crime Waves though; we have been asked by Eastwood Park Prison to set it up there for the staff and offenders to experience in the very near future. As they contributed to the interviews and their voices make up the majority of the soundscape, it will be an altogether different experience.

To see the journey of the Crime Waves story, please visit

Joy Merron

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