Creative minds at Sussex make a splash with ARK!

A scene from 2009's arts splash, on the theme of the Odyssey, on the University of Sussex campus

A world of creativity goes on show to the public at the University of Sussex this month, with events including a musical bacteria 'concert', a literary tour of secret wildlife habitats on campus, the delights of a sensory garden and a people's Ark.

The free event, entitled Ark!, explores the themes of biodiversity and sustainability with a festival of community arts projects on the University's Falmer campus.

Ark! is the second Sounding the Site event staged by the University's Centre for Community Engagement (CCE), the aim of which is to bring people together within and beyond the University through creative projects.

Coordinated by CCE's River Jones and Julian Broughton, Ark! brings together a diverse company of performers for the day, including: Anna Dumitriu, Artist in Residence in the University's Centre for Computational Neuroscience;  Carlton Hill Primary School, Brighton;  Iford and Kingston Primary School near Lewes; community groups;  CCE wild food foraging expert Anna Richardson ; poets Abi Curtis and Kim Lasky; artist Helen Goodwin and music student Oktawia Petronella.

The day of arts installations, trails and activities takes place on Wednesday 16 June, from 10am to 4pm, at various sites on the University campus. There are ten collaborative projects, each inspired by ancient ark stories, found in several sources including the bible, of a giant wooden ship in which pairs of all the world's living things are saved from a worldwide flood

The works feature words, images and sounds, located at different - and sometimes unexpected - sites across the campus. Visitors are invited to come to campus by bus, train, on foot or by bicycle, where they will be guided by stewards as to locations and times of performances.

Full details of the events can be found on the web page:

Events include: 

  • The screening of a film about diversity made with children from Iford and Kingston Primary School;
  • A one-mile trip around the University's beautiful Boundary Walk, featuring performances of creative writing inspired by the wildlife that lives there, by the children of Brighton's Carlton Hill Primary School. (Campus Boundary Walk, 11.35am, departing from the grass Labyrinth at the front of campus,  or at 11.45am from Falmer Village. Finishes 12.35pm  near Ark Sensory Garden.
  • A 'BioArk' installation outside the former Gardner Arts Centre (10am - 4pm), where samples of bacteria from the temporarily closed Gardner Centre will be turned into sound art. (The building is shortly to be refurbished and will re-open as the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts). Visitors can add to the installation by painting pictures of the bacteria found in the building and learn more about these fascinating and ubiquitous forms of life.
  • An Ark Sensory Garden designed to appeal to the senses. Visitors can feel, hear, smell and taste their way round the garden, based in the students' Roots Society allotments behind the Brighthelm residences at the top of campus.
  • Artwork inspired by the arc of water that surrounds the University's round Meeting House,  where visitors will be able to launch their own paper "wishing" boat.
  • A 'people's Ark' at the University entrance, decked with banners and pennants representing the things that people would like to see saved on an Ark of the future, with music and song.

Organiser Julian Broughton says: "Ark! is a platform for members of the local and regional community who do not always have the opportunity for creative collaboration to use the campus to reach a wide audience and develop their ideas with a wide range of people. We want to dissolve some of the artificial boundaries between the University and the 'wider community."

Notes for Editors


Ark! Takes place on Wednesday 16 June between 10am and 4pm on the University of Sussex campus, Falmer.

To get to the University of Sussex campus, take the train to Falmer, or the no 23, 25, and 29 Lewes buses or the Big Yellow Lemon bus. The event is free and no booking is required.

For travel details see:

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Daniëlle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email

Last updated: Wednesday, 9 June 2010