Time of our lives: Sussex unveils exciting arts agenda for festival season

Bruce Lacey

Spence's Meeting House interior (altar view from above)

Lord Briggs

The University of Sussex is linking up in its 50th anniversary year with some of the best and biggest names in contemporary art and literature to make 2012’s festival season one to remember.

The University’s commitment to collaboration with festivals, artists, writers and institutions at the forefront of modern culture is reflected in a feast of treats with a Sussex twist, including:

  • Sussex Incidents: Turner Prize-winning artist and Sussex alumnus Jeremy Deller’s campus exhibition recreates a 1960s student common room and captures the rebellious, offbeat side of Sussex with images from the past five decades found in the University’s archives. (Library Exhibition Space, University of Sussex, 23 April – 18 May 2012).
  • The Bruce Lacey Experience: Brighton Festival goers will be able to enjoy a one-night-only sneak preview of Jeremy Deller’s exciting documentary of the artist Bruce Lacey. The film explores the life and work of artist and film-maker Lacey - who worked with both The Goons and The Beatles and who was an icon of the avant garde from the 1960s to the present day.  After the screening Jeremy Deller will be joined onstage by collaborator and University of Sussex art historian David Alan Mellor to talk about the film. The documentary forms part of a major Lacey retrospective in London in July, including an exhibition of Lacey work curated by Jeremy Deller and Professor Davud Allan Mellor for Camden Arts Centre, a premiere of The Bruce Lacey Experience at the British Film Institute on London's Southbank, along with an accompanying season of Lacey films and a DVD release of Lacey film work. (Preview at Brighton Corn Exchange, Church Road, Brighton, Monday 14 May 2012 – part of Brighton Festival).
  • Sir Basil Spence and Sussex: The University celebrates its unique architectural heritage with a public exhibition devoted to its Spence buildings. The exhibition, curated by art historian Professor Maurice Howard, features rare drawings, models and other artifacts relating to core campus buildings designed by Sir Basil Spence.  The eminent architect, whose work is currently featured in the Britons of Distinction series of postage stamps, was architect of Coventry Cathedral (which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, alongside Sussex). The Sussex buildings were the first from the1960s to earn listed building status, awarded nearly 20 years ago. In addition to the exhibition, Sussex alumna and Spence scholar Dr Louise Campbell will be giving a talk on the architect’s Sussex legacy and other work at a special lecture on campus, introduced by the architect Anthony Blee, who was Spence’s son-in-law and worked with him on the University campus.  (Exhibition: Arts A108, University of Sussex, Falmer, 10 May – 14 June, Mon-Sats, 10.30pm – 5.30pm, admission free and all welcome; Lecture: Chichester Lecture Theatre, University of Sussex campus, 23 May at 6.30pm).
  • Mike Nelson: The Turner Prize-nominated installation artist, who represented Britain at the prestigious Venice Biennale international art exhibition in 2011, comes to Sussex to tell an extraordinary true-life story of invention, time travel and eccentricity inspired by materials from the London-based Archive of Modern Conflict.  Expect to see a treasure trove of objects relating to culture, technology and invention from around the world, including some extraordinary relics. (Library Exhibition Space, University of Sussex, 28 May – 29 June)
  • Special Relationships – Asa Briggs and Ian McEwan: Eminent historian, Enigma Code breaker, one of Sussex’s founding fathers and a former Vice-Chancellor, Asa Briggs has had an extraordinary life and career.  Booker Prize-winning novelist and Sussex alumnus Ian McEwan, who has a longstanding fascination with code breaking and subterfuge reflected in his writing, joins Lord Briggs in conversation at the Charleston Festival. (Charleston Farmhouse, 31 May, 8pm)
  • The Inimitable - Claire Tomalin on Charles Dickens: Celebrated biographer Claire Tomalin talks to University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing at Charleston Festival about her portrait of the great novelist in his bicentenary year. (Charleston Farmhouse, Sunday 3 June, 5pm).


Notes for Editors

For interviews, images and enquiries please contact the University of Sussex Press office.

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email: press@sussex.ac.uk

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Last updated: Friday, 27 April 2012