Wild Goose Chase Music Composition

A different approach—researchers, farmers, environmentalists, politicians and artists looking at the conflict over increased populations of greylag geese in Orkney – together but from different perspectives.

During The Wild Goose Chase project, Orcadian musicians, Jennifer Austin and Eric Linklater were invited to join the University of Stirling ConFooBio team and artist Sera James Irvine whilst they visited different part of the islands to meet up with farmers who had taken part in the research project.

The idea was to have people from diverse professional backgrounds sharing their different perspectives in places that took people out of their normal working environments. Sera created a series of events outside of the usual meeting room presentation scenario in order to give people the opportunity to talk and reflect. From these events and the research carried out in ConFooBio, Sera produced the newspaper “The Wild Goose Chase: The hunt for the voice of the Orkney farmer“.    

Eric and Jennifer took part in these events where the researchers shared the progress of the research project and gave the farmers and others present the chance to share their thoughts and experiences in relation to the increase in the number of Greylag geese on the islands.

As part of Jennifer’s involvement she composed two pieces which were a reflection on the project and were inspired by their travels around the islands and conversations about the geese, the environment, farming, the sea, culture and history.

The first, The Unexpected Guest, was composed with Eric and is a traditional piece for piano and violin.

The second, Teran’s Lullaby, is a piano composition by Jennifer.


The project was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s H2020/ERC grant agreement no 679651 (ConFooBio).

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