In Her Element

I’m currently collecting collaborators for a new project.

It’s called “Helen Arney is In Her Element” because I am at my happiest when I’m meeting interesting people, chatting to them about their work, then going away to write a song about it and turning the whole creative process into awesome YouTube videos.

So that’s what the project is, essentially. I’m looking for new people to work with: scientists, mathematicians, coders, engineers, science historians, the list goes on… If this sounds like your kind of project, read-on:

First video would be us two talking about your field of work, getting across something substantial about what you actually do – and also showing how our first conversations turned into an idea for a song. That could be done in person, or online hangout with video capture, so we wouldn’t have to be in the same city (or country!)

Second video would be a mini-music-video of the song, which I’d make here in London, with kind help from a few talented friends. The videos will all have handy links from one to the other, and a tumblr page where each project is paired up – together with a list of extra reading and links that I hope you’ll help me put together.

The idea is that people who just hear the song will follow the links to get a handle on the science behind it – and vice versa. People who read something about your work first, or watch our science chat video, will click on over and enjoy the song that resulted. I’ll also put the audio track into a new “pay what you want” album on my Bandcamp page, and I might end up playing the songs in my live shows like Festival of the Spoken NerdVoice of an Angle, or Lab Notes at some point in the future.

Why am I writing all this here?

Well, if you’re doing something interesting, maybe at an institution, for a company, perhaps even freelance, and would like to get involved in everything I’ve written above, email with a list of five things that make you go “ooh” at work.

It’s worth mentioning straight away that this is a very long-term project. I’m hoping to make about one video a month for the foreseeable future, but of course at that rate I’ll only get to work with about 12 people each year. It’s also self-funded from my own album sales, which are so small they are almost invisible to the naked eye… but if you think your employer, funder, learned society or another benefactor might be interested in contributing financially to the project, please do hook us up so that I can make many more “In Her Element” videos in the years to come!

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