Out of this world events in Derby…

Visitors to Derby Cathedral this autumn will be able to take part in ‘heavenly’ mindfulness, music and poetry events, as well as experience an astronaut’s view of the Earth.

One of the most-visited attractions in the city, the Cathedral is currently hosting Gaia, a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram, featuring a giant three-dimensional, illuminated artwork of the Earth floating above the nave.

Until 16 October 2022 visitors will be able to see the planet from an astronaut’s viewpoint as it slowly revolves above the nave in the Cathedral, one of the city’s oldest buildings, accompanied by a surround-sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones.

But as well as an out of this world view, the installation will also be the focus of a wide range of events from mindfulness, music and Flowga – a fusion of yoga and dance – to discussions, poetry and creative writing.

Landing in Derby as part of its world tour, Gaia is the inspiration for all the events, which are designed to complement the installation’s aim of stimulating thought over the key issues of climate change, creation, and our place on the Earth.

And there will be the opportunity to learn more about the artist, Luke Jerram, on 13 October, when be speaks about his work, inspirations and methodology in an online event, which will be free but with a suggested donation of £5. Booking is essential.

Launching the series will be a Mindfulness session on 26 September – and again on 10 October – organised in partnership with Derby’s Déda, a centre for dance, movement and creativity, and mindfulness teacher Pam Sidhu (tickets cost £10).

Music and Wellbeing, on 3 October, focuses on the benefits of music to wellbeing, and based on research by Dr Yoon Irons and Professor David Sheffield at the University of Derby and, as well as a talk, the event will feature the University Choir (tickets cost £7).

Mind and body will be the centre of attention at a Flowga session staged in the Cathedral on 5 October in partnership with Déda. Combining yoga, pilates and movement, this fusion exercise class to stretch and strengthen body and mind, requires no previous experience and mats are available. Tickets cost £10, or £6 concessions, and can be booked online.

Part of Derby Cathedral’s popular lunchtime recitals series, music will take centre stage with Autumn Lunchtime Recitalson 7 and 14 October, taking place beneath the stunning ‘Gaia’ artwork.  No booking is required, and these performances will be free, but there will be a retiring collection, which goes towards funding music at Derby Cathedral.

Spreading the message around Derby itself, an Urban Ramble on 30 September, starting and finishing at the Cathedral, will be a fun tour around the city identifying flora and fauna and learning more about plans for nature-based regeneration in the city. This is a free event but booking is essential.

Other events include Derby Poetry Festival at Gaia, a Creative Writing workshop, and a Blue Marble public discussion with the University of Derby CivicLAB.

Derby Cathedral provides a spectacular setting for the new artwork. Rich in history, among the Cathedral’s highlights are the tomb of Bess of Hardwick; a memorial to Florence Nightingale, who had strong connections to Derbyshire and the city; and an impressive wrought iron screen by Robert Bakewell, one of the country’s leading ironsmiths of the 18th-Century. And listen out for the bells too – they are the oldest set of 10 bells in the world, one of which was cast in 1520, during the reign of Henry VIII, and is still in use today.

Throughout the exhibition, entry will be free with a suggested donation of £3 per person. Gaia at Derby Cathedral is programmed in association with Derby Festé and is sponsored by the University of Derby and Cosy Direct.

More details on the installation and events programme can be found at https://derbycathedral.org/gaia.

For tourist information about Derby, see www.visitderby.co.uk.