A CELEBRATED saxophonist is exploring how Cumbria has shaped her career in her latest project.

Hailing from Ulverston, Jess Gillam has spoken of the importance of her Cumbrian roots, and in her new series of conversations, “Jess Gillam’s Cumbrian Chats”, she speaks to figures from across the arts world who have a connection to her homeland.

The series, which Jess thought of during the first Covid lockdown, will feature on BBC Radio Cumbria as part of Helen Millican’s show on Monday evenings between and will also be available on BBC Sounds.

The four-part series kicks off on October 25 at 7pm with Jess herself chatting to Ms Millican about Cumbria and how it has influenced her life and work.

"Cumbria is such a special place with a unique spirit and there is endless inspiration to be found in the landscapes of the county,” she said.

“It fascinates me how Cumbria inspires people’s work and I always want to keep my connection with the county."

Jess’ first guest- on November 1- is musician Dave Camlin, whose practice spans performance, composition, teaching, socially engaged music practice and research.

He performs in various guises as a singer-songwriter, with vocal quartet Mouthful and jazz folk collective The Coast Road.

He is also a lecturer in music education at the Royal College of Music and Trinity-Laban Conservatoire and his research focuses on group singing music, health and well-being.

Next, on November 8, Jess chats to award-winning poet Kim Moore who was born in Leicester and now lives in Cumbria.

Her first pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and went on to be shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year.

Jess’ final guest on November 15 is Cumbrian born writer Sarah Hall.

Twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, she is the award-winning author of six novels and three short-story collections and is currently the only author to be four times shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.

“I have loved talking to Dave, Sarah and Kim about their connections to Cumbria and I'm very grateful to Mark Elliott, Helen Millican and BBC Radio Cumbria for creating the opportunity to have some fascinating conversations," added Jess.