Music, art and science collide with The Hexagon Experiment

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Music, art and science collide with The Hexagon Experiment

From music made by robots to a spectacular tribute to an unsung heroine, we’re delighted to announce The Hexagon Experiment – six ‘Friday night experiments’ bringing together women at the forefront of music, art and science.

Taking place across six Friday evenings in Newcastle and Gateshead this summer as part of the Great Exhibition of the North, The Hexagon Experiment will feature live music, conversations and original commissions from some of the North’s most exciting musicians and scientists including Jane Weaver, Anna Meredith, Stealing Sheep and Haiku Salut, with a special guest appearance from Lauren Laverne.

Presented in partnership with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester, The Hexagon Experiment takes inspiration from their ‘Friday night experiments’, after-hours lab sessions in which Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov would test out less conventional ideas. One particular Friday night in 2004 led them to a scientific breakthrough – isolating graphene for the very first time. 

In that spirit The Hexagon Experiment will bring together musicians, artists and scientists in a celebration of creative discovery, and provide a vehicle for discussion on gender equality in their respective fields.

The six events are:

#1: Sounds Of The Cosmos
Fri 3 Aug / 6-9pm
Cluny 2, Newcastle
FREE

Cosmic psych artist Jane Weaver opens The Hexagon Experiment with an exclusive performance in an intimate setting – delving deeper into the science of the stars that have inspired her latest album ‘Modern Kosmology’ and the 2014 critically acclaimed ‘The Silver Globe’.

Before the performance Jane will be joined in conversation by space scientists Sophie Allan (National Space Academy), Megan Argo (University of Central Lancashire) and Sally Cooper (Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics).

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#2: We Are The Robots
Fri 10 Aug / 6-9pm
Centre for Life, Newcastle
FREE

Self-playing instruments take centre stage as electronic dream-pop trio Haiku Salut explore creativity in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence. In collaboration with the Robot Orchestra. Includes free entry to Robots: Then And Now (normally £15).

Before the performance Haiku Salut’s Sophie Barkerwood will be joined in-conversation by the creator of the Robot Orchestra (and recent winner of the Royal Society’s prestigious Michael Faraday Prize) Professor Danielle George MBE, and algorithmic musician Joanne Armitage. Hosted by mathematician Katie Steckles.

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#3: Adventures in Flatland
Fri 17 Aug / 6-9pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle
FREE

Lauren Laverne is joined by composer Sara Lowesvisual artist Mary Griffiths and Dr Radha Boya from the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester to discuss their experiments with music, art and science. Followed by a performance of Sara Lowes’ graphene-inspired composition Graphene Suite, and the unveiling of new graphene art by Mary Griffiths and Professor Kostya Novoselov. Alongside Andre Geim, Novoselov was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for his groundbreaking experiments with graphene.

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#4: Making Waves
Fri 24 Aug / 6-9pm
Sage Gateshead
FREE

An audio adventure created by the next generation of young female composers, sound artists and musical innovators, featuring cutting-edge music tech and found sounds. Led by four of the North’s most exciting electronic artists (Afrodeutsche, Caro C, Mandy Wigby, Vicky Clarke).

Before the performance Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE (co-founder of the STEMettes) will be joined in-conversation by musician and Mercury Prize nominee Nadine Shah, former engineer and MP for Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah and recent recipient of the Royal Society’s prestigious Michael Faraday Prize Professor Danielle George MBE.

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#5: Wow Machine
Fri 31 Aug / 6-9pm
Boiler Shop, Newcastle
FREE

Liverpool art-pop trio Stealing Sheep present a theatrical-musical-dance-art spectacular, in tribute to the electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire. With technical wizardry from experimental performance producers The Kazimier. Expect a hexagonal stage, sci-fi sunglasses and sparkly leotards.

The event will be hosted by BBC Radio 6 Music DJ, producer and broadcaster Nemone. She’ll be joined in-conversation by Stealing Sheep’s Becky Hawley and Emily Lansleycomedian (and Delia Derbyshire fan) Helen Keen and lecturer in Sound Production at the University of York and Chair of the Audio Engineering Society Dr Mariana Lopez.

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#6: Works in Progress
Fri 7 Sep / 6-9pm
Cobalt, Newcastle
FREE

Genre-defying composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith explores the common language between musical and scientific composition in brand new work created with some of the best emerging female artists from the North East. In partnership with Generator.

In a conversation hosted by BBC presenter and broadcast journalist Elizabeth Alker, Anna will discuss her process of mixing classical, pop and electronic elements in her work, while Dr Oana Istrate from the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester reveals their latest developments. 

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The Hexagon Experiment is part of Both Sides Now – our three-year initiative to support, inspire and showcase women in music across the North of England, supported through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund.