Song of the Ocean: Description of RSA Scotland and UK (London) - RSA

Song of the Ocean for World Ocean Day 2021

Fellowship news

  • Climate change
  • Arts and society
  • Environment

Responses to COP26 and the climate emergency took many shapes and forms.  In this piece, Anthony White FRSA reflects upon his involvement in the Song of the Ocean project, an innovative and creative collaboration between science, law and art.

Earlier this year, the University of Aberdeen celebrated the world premiere of "Song of the Ocean" on World Ocean Day 2021, composed by Royal composer, Professor Paul Mealor.

Initiated collaboratively by a team from science, law, and the arts in conjunction with the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), the "Song of the Ocean" – a United Nations Ocean Decade-endorsed activity – featured a virtual choir with singers joining in from every corner of the world.

The idea started when Aberdeen Professor Marcel Jaspars (Chemistry) and Abbe Brown (Law) were working with DOSI to inform the United Nations High Seas Treaty.

With this year’s COP26 happening very soon, the project chimed with the growing concerns about climate change, the warming of our planet, and the health of our oceans. With that in mind, Professor Paul Mealor collaborated with internationally acclaimed poet Dr Grahame Davies who was the lyrist for the work.

Paul Mealor said: “It’s been a real delight to be involved with this project which brings science, law, and art together in quite a unique way. Protecting and helping our oceans should be paramount to all of us and to be part of this is really important to me. I hope this little song and this wonderful collaboration will resonate and help bring the scientific message a little closer to home.”

Professor Jaspars said: “The composition has now been recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra and a performance by an international virtual choir drawn from the DOSI network and its friends, with choir members singing in English from Europe, Tonga, China, USA, Belize and Mexico and the Singing Hands signing group using British Sign Language”.

Alexander Van Ingen, Chief Executive, Philharmonia added: “The environment is a topic of major discussion in the arts at present, and one close to the Philharmonia’s heart. Music is moving and inspirational; it takes over where words leave us, and can enhance our perception of the natural world, driving advocacy and fostering empathy. The ocean needs us, and the Philharmonia Orchestra is proud to support the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative in this first year of the United Nations’ Ocean Decade."

As the producer of the global virtual project, it was a privilege to have been asked by DOSI to produce a short video of "Song of the Ocean" and to work with the world renowned Philharmonia Orchestra. It is remarkable, that even through challenging times, people across the world can sing together and raise awareness of ocean pollution."

After the world premiere of Mealor’s work, the "Song of the Ocean" project featured on the Scottish channel, STV:

As a member of the Royal Society of Arts, I felt honoured to be part of the Song of the Ocean project, and, after the aftermath of the events during the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, I hope that we can continue to collaborate, protect our planet and make the world a better place through art, science, and other mediums.

To find more about the project please click on the link below:

Listen to the Global Virtual Performance of Song of the Ocean here:

 Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative: @DeepStewardship

The Philharmonia Orchestra: @Philharmonia_orchestra | @Philharmonia

Royal composer, Paul Mealor: @PaulMealor

Producer of Song of the Ocean: @Anthony_white98 | @Anthonyewhitecomposer

COP26: @COP26

UN Ocean Decade: @UNOceanDecade

University of Aberdeen: @aberdeenuni

Royal Society of Arts: @theRSAScotland | @theRSAorg

STV News: @STVNews