Nightjar Nights Launch!

Nightjar by Katie Marland

We are delighted to announce the launch of an exciting series of interactive activities, videos and writing celebrating the elusive and mythical bird, the nightjar! From the 8th – 17th June as part of one of our new follow on projects Nature Revealed: Tracks, Traces and Trails, the Nightjar Nights series features new works from writers Sara Hudston, Anita Roy, and Land Lines’ own David Higgins, with supporting materials from Tim Kohler at Natural England. There will be a special guest piece from naturalist, author and critically acclaimed birder, Stephen Moss, and many of our brilliant creative works will be accompanied by artworks from Douglas Black and Katie Marland. There will also be a chance for you to get involved – you can download a printable nightjar ‘papercut’ and colouring sheet by artist Douglas Black (below!) and we also want to hear about your stories, memories, art and writing about the nightjar! See below for our full schedule and follow our Twitter for more updates.

Nightjar Nights Schedule (June 8th–17th)

Monday 8th JuneThe Nightjar Creation Myth by Anita Roy
Tuesday 9th JuneRomantic Nightjars by Dr David Higgins, University of Leeds
Wednesday 10th JuneIf It Be In The Dusk (video) with Crossing The Shades by Sara Hudston
Thursday 11th JuneNightjars at Humberhead Peatlands by Tim Kohler, Natural England
Friday 12th JuneCreative Nightjars by children @Hatfield Woodhouse Primary School
Saturday 13th JuneExtract from Chapter 8 of The Twelve Birds of Christmas (Reading), by Stephen Moss (Square Peg)
Sunday 14th JuneJane Adams: ‘Nightjar’
Monday 15th JuneNightjar Jars: Your Creations!
Tuesday 16th JuneSoundscape by Cosmo Sheldrake: ‘Nightjar Wake Up Call’
Wednesday 17th JuneJohn Whale: Reflection on Nightjar Nights

About Nightjar Nights

The University of Leeds and partners Natural England have teamed up with the Leeds Library to present a series of works inspired by the Nightjar, a mysterious nocturnal bird scarcely seen unless silhouetted in the sky, but often heard as a strange churring sound at dusk. The European nightjar has been written about in Britain throughout the centuries – but where is the nightjar today? Can we still hear it or see the nightjar in the UK? How do we encounter this elusive bird through stories, images and artwork? We hope to find out over the next two weeks, as we share ideas and get creative with Nightjar Nights.

Nightjar Nights forms part of a wider creative programme by the Land Lines research team at the University of Leeds titled Nature Revealed: Tracks, Traces and Trails. This project uses artistic interventions in nature reserves to explore environmental themes of climate, migration, nocturnal and subterranean life, working with children and older adult participant groups and commissioning new writing and artworks.

The main event week starts on Monday 8th June and concludes on Saturday 13th June. New works will be released each evening as the Nightjar awakes to feast! We are thankful to our funders, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, for enabling the commissioning of new work and the wider artistic project.

Get involved – make your own ‘Nightjar Night-Jar’ and share your stories with us!

You can get involved with Nightjar Nights by downloading our specially-designed papercut and colouring page below, and getting creative with it! It’s a fantastic solo or family activity, and it can be as simple or as elaborate as you like! There are full instructions on how to use the papercut on the downloadable and printable PDF – and we want to see what you come up with! Share photos of your jars and colouring pages with us on Twitter (the more colourful the better), or you can even send us your memories, thoughts or stories about the nightjar via Twitter, or if you prefer, via email:

Stay tuned on the Land Lines website from 8th – 17th of June!

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