Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

Sussex Retold: Sounds, Sites, Stories

Rethinking Regional Arts, Crafts, Folklore and Music through participation, partnership and performance

The arts, crafts, folklore and music of the South Downs come from land-workers, shepherds, fishers, farmers, traders, makers, writers, story-tellers and songsters. They express life with the chalk, cliffs, turf and clouds of the region, including as populations, industries and landscapes have changed over time. Investigating these in partnership with local heritage, council, land and cultural organisations, we rethink ways to re-story development from an inclusive perspective and where natural, cultural and regional heritages relate.

Caption ‘Chloe dancing at the Locating Women in the Folk conference 2018, © Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin’

‘Chloe dancing at the Locating Women in the Folk conference 2018, © Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin’

This project will enhance the impact of a range of research projects across the University of Sussex. In exploring the distinctive regional cultures of East and West Sussex, we hope to enhance local civic engagement and sustainable development in ways which benefit our partner organisations. We will be working under three headings from 2024-2026. 

  1. Diversifying Ditchling: Sharing new arts and crafts stories within and beyond the Guild
  2. Storying a New Centre for Downland Cultural Heritage: Black Robin Farm
  3. Composing sustainable landscapes in the South Coast through film, folk song and farming heritage. 
Sussex sheep by Stuart Robinson

Sussex sheep. Photo by Stuart Robinson


Project people include:

Professor Margaretta Jolly: Principal Investigator      Dr Hope Wolf: Co-Investigator

Professor Ed Hughes: Co-Investigator       Dr Sam Carroll: Heritage Consultant and Project Manager

This project is supported by the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research, the Sussex Centre for Modernist Studies and the South Coast Sustainability group within the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme.

We also acknowledge and thank our funder, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA).