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Tune Into Nature Music Prize

22 Apr 2020

A competition for musicians and singer/songwriters aged 16-29 whose work fosters a stronger relationship with nature through contemporary popular music.

To mark World Earth Day, Yorkshire Sculpture Park has teamed up with the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby, musician Sam Lee, Selfridges, and Tileyard London to search for a piece of original music that tunes into nature – helping to highlight the need for a new relationship with nature and provide vital support for young creative practitioners.

The winning entry will receive a £1,000 grant to support their work and also benefit from a free professional remix with Tileyard London, produced by award-winning songwriter and producer Martyn Ware. In addition, selected entries will be broadcast through all of Selfridges’ stores on a celebratory weekend in the autumn.

The research team at the University of Derby has found that the connection between young people and nature dips during teenage years and takes more than a decade to recover. Research also shows that references to nature in contemporary music have decreased consistently since the 1950s. This matters as a close connection with nature helps both the wellbeing of people and our planet, as people who are tuned into nature are more likely to care for it.

As has been highlighted in the current crisis, the human relationship with the rest of nature is important for our wellbeing, yet the climate and environment emergencies show that the human relationship with the rest of nature is broken. Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, said: “Nature means less and less in our lives and is disappearing as a reference in contemporary music. We need, now more than ever, a new and more connected relationship with nature and music to help remind people that nature is our story.”

The competition is open to anyone aged 16-29 and resident in the UK and the £1,000 grant is sponsored by Selfridges as part of its Creativity is Not Cancelled campaign, supporting emerging creative talent, and in light of its long-term commitment to creating a more sustainable future for people and the planet. The track should not be longer than six minutes.

Inspiration: research shows that a closer, healthier and more sustainable relationship with nature comes through tuning into nature, noticing it, finding beauty, joy, calm, meaning and compassion.

Further details and how to enter can be found at www.ysp.org.uk/tune-into-nature-music-prize

Closing date: 31 July 2020


Professor Miles Richardson - Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness, University of Derby

Dr Simon Lesley - Course Director BA (Hons) Popular Music, South & City College, Birmingham

Martyn Ware - Musician, Composer, Arranger, Record Producer and Music Programmer, Founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17

Harry Leckstein - Tileyard Education Managing Director

Sam Lee - Mercury Prize nominated musician and nature conservationist

Selfridges - Selfridges team members

Dr Helen Pheby - Head of Curatorial Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Some of the judge’s favourite nature tunes are:

Miles - Bill Callahan: Jim Cain

Simon - Paul Simon: Everything About it is a Love Song

Martyn - Spirit: Nature’s Way

Sam - Steve Reich and Chris Hughes: Slow Motion Blackbird

Helen - Ewan MacCall: Joy of Living

Notes to editors

About the Nature Connectedness Research Group
The Nature Connectedness Research Group aims to understand people’s sense of their relationship with the natural world. They create everyday interventions in order to improve this relationship for the wellbeing of humans and nature. By understanding and improving people’s connection to nature, the group aims to bring about associated benefits in wellbeing and pro-nature behaviours. The group’s research has been honoured in the UK’s 100 Best Breakthroughs list, compiled by Universities UK, for its pioneering work looking at people’s sense of their relationship with the natural world.
www.derby.ac.uk/NCxRG | Twitter: @findingnature

About Tileyard London
Tileyard London is the largest professional entertainment community in Europe, based in London’s Kings Cross. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the once desolate light industrial estate now houses 100 recording studios, 250 creative industry businesses and has enabled more than 1200 jobs for creative professionals. Current residents of Tileyard London include Sigala, Noel Gallagher, Lily Allen, Sister Bliss, The Prodigy, Spitfire Audio, Platoon, Beats One Radio, Marathon Artists, Sound Advice, Focusrite and many more. Tileyard is now entering a new, exciting phase of expansion with the restoration of historic Rutland Mills site, in Wakefield, in preparation for a 2023 activation of ‘Tileyard North’.
www.tileyard.co.uk | www.tileyardeducation.co.uk | www.tileyardnorth.co.uk 
Instagram: @tileyardlondon | Twitter: @TileyardLondon

About Sam Lee
Sam Lee plays a unique role in the British music scene. A highly inventive and original singer, folk song interpreter, a passionate conservationist, committed song collector and a successful creator of live events. Alongside his organisation The Nest Collective and fellow collaborators Sam has shaken up the live music scene breaking the boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed place and way folksong is heard. He’s injected a renewed passion into this old material, helping to develop its ecosystem by not only inviting in a new listenership but also interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today. With his forthcoming album, Old Wow, he’s summonsed up a truly compelling and emotional album that takes his work to yet another level.
www.samleesong.co.uk | Instagram and Twitter: @samleesong

About Selfridges
Selfridges was founded by American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909 and is widely regarded as the first and best example of a modern department store. In 2003 the Weston family purchased the business and under their ownership Selfridges has become the epitome of a global destination for fashion, luxury and extraordinary retail experiences. Selfridges today continues Harry Gordon Selfridge’s legacy - a shopping experience that promises to constantly surprise, amaze and amuse its customers within its four stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester (Trafford Centre, and Exchange Square) and on an international website that delivers within the UK and to over 130 countries, trading in 11 currencies. Selfridges was named ‘Best Retailer’ at the Positive Luxury Awards 2020, a ‘Best 25 Big Company To Work For’ 2020 as awarded by The Sunday Times, and voted ‘Best Department Store in the World’ at the Global Department Store Summits 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018. 
www.selfridges.com | Instagram: @theofficialselfridges | Twitter: @Selfridges

About Selfridges Creativity is Not Cancelled campaign
While borders are being closed and social distancing impacts many communities across the globe, it feels more important than ever to find ways to stick together. This is why Selfridges has commissioned some creative friends, and friends of friends, to respond to the word ‘together’ and express it with their own practice. Over the next few weeks, Selfridges will share their work and celebrate creativity as an antidote to these challenging times. Artists, poets, chefs, sculptors, graphic artists and designers, each with a unique perspective and talent will be filling the Selfridges feeds with positivity and togetherness.

About Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is one of the finest places in Europe to experience modern and contemporary sculpture in the open air. It is situated in Wakefield, the city to have had the world’s first recognised nature reserve, as established by Charles Waterton at Walton Hall in 1821. We host work by some of the world’s most well-known artists from Yorkshire-born Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst to Phyllida Barlow, Huma Bhabha, Gavin Turk, Ai Weiwei and many other major international and emerging artists across 500 acres of 18th century-designed landscape and six galleries. YSP welcomes around 500,000 visitors every year to enjoy and experience art, the landscape and our heritage and each year 40,000 people have contact with our learning programmes. Founded in 1977, YSP is an independent charitable trust and registered museum. 
www.ysp.org.uk | Instagram: @YSPsculpture | Twitter: @YSPsculpture 

Creative Case for Diversity
Diversity and equality are crucial to the arts because they release the true potential of our nation’s artistic talent – from every background. At YSP, we support Arts Council England’s mission – great art and culture for everyone. We share ACE’s commitment to promote and embed diversity in our workforce and cultural programme. This is called the ‘Creative Case for Diversity’.

High Res Image Downloads


Jenna Burchell, Songsmith, 2017. Photo Jonty Wilde

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Lake view to Bretton Hall at YSP. Photo Jonty Wilde

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Niki de Saint Phalle, Buddha, 2000. Photo Jonty Wilde

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YSP Tune Into Nature Music Prize logo

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