A Division of Aquaffirm

London, UK 

BNC partners with Poet in the City and Aurora Orchestra and is proud to announce the engagement with the public about the possibilities of the PETMEM technology.  Through a collaboration between poet Frances Leviston, composer Martin Suckling and the scientists working on the PETMEM technology, new work has been created to create new pathways for the wider public to explore and understand the exciting possibilities of this new technology.

The Programme

Poet in the City and Aurora Orchestra have joined forces for a cross-art form collaboration that illuminates themes of compression, energy, acoustics and memory. Inspired by PETMEM, poet Frances Leviston and composer Martin Suckling have worked together to create electrically-charged new poetry and music which asks the question: what happens when matter, music, and language are placed under pressure?

The artists have responded by drawing on the memory of two great forbearers in poetry and music, Emily Dickinson and Schubert. Influenced by the voltage Dickinson achieves in her densely packed poems, Leviston’s new set of poems wonders how Dickinson might have responded to the PETMEM technology; the poems draw upon a range of references from female scientists involved in the project to the raw materials used in the technology and the eloquent metaphors scientists have used to explain this novel device. In a similar vein, Suckling explores the idea of music under pressure with a new chamber work in which fragments of Schubert’s great String Quintet are echoed, compressed, distorted and crystallised.

This special programme combines performances of the new pieces created by Frances Levison and Martin Suckling, works by Dickinson and the Schubert quintet, and is accompanied by reflections from experimental physicist Stuart Parkin, one of the pioneers of PETMEM technology.


BBC Radio 3 Memory Weekender – Broadcast

1pm on 15 October 2017

The new works will be launched in a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the Wellcome Collection as part of its Memory Weekender. Tune in to listen!


Kings Place – Live performance

7.30pm on 12 January 2018

Live performances of the new commissions can be experienced in full in January 2018 at Kings Place as part of their Time Unwrapped season.

Experience the work in person by booking here:



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688282.


About Bio Nano Consulting

Bio Nano Consulting is the first consultancy in Europe to focus on the interface between bio and nanotechnology, providing product development and strategic consultancy, project management and access to state of the art instrumentation and world-leading researchers.


About Frances Leviston

Frances Leviston is a celebrated poet. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2006. Her first collection, Public Dream (Picador, 2007), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best Collection in 2008. Her poems have also appeared in New Writing 14, and the TLS and Ten Hallam Poets.



About Martin Suckling

Martin Suckling is a composer and violinist. Hailed by The Herald as “probably the most important figure in Scotland’s music since James MacMillan” his impressive career has included residencies at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldeburgh, Aspen, and IRCAM, and has won numerous awards including the 2008 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize and a Philip Leverhulme Prize.



About Poet in the City

Poet in the City is London’s leading producer of live poetry events, providing a dynamic platform for contemporary and classic poetry, curating imaginative events on which bring poetry to life for a 21st century audience. Through their work, they have fostered a genuine and growing appetite for accessible, challenging and inspiring poetry performances.



About Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Orchestra aspires to be the world’s most creative orchestra, combining the highest quality of performance with an exceptional breadth of artistic horizons and a trailblazing approach to concert presentation. It seeks to reach new audiences through an outward-looking and collaborative approach to orchestral music-making, built on an unparalleled range of creative partnerships and a consciously omnivorous approach to repertoire.



About Electrosciences Limited

Electrosciences Limited provides specialised scientific and technical consultancy to industry and academia in the technical discipline of multifunctional materials research and development. This include functional materials like piezoelectric, ferroelectric, pyroelectric, multiferroic and magnetoelectric materials; nanotechnology generally, nanostructured multifunctional materials; Materials characterisation; Modelling and visualisation; Active materials, smart materials and systems for energy harvesting and solid-state energy storage.



About The National Physical Laboratory (NPL)

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is one of the UK’s leading research facilities and the UK’s principal National Measurement Institute (NMI). NPL sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and application with extensive links to industry. Our professional communication and knowledge transfer division supports outreach and commercial exploitation to industry.