Sussex students collaborate with Ditchling museum to give artwork a voice

Alison Hughes (clarinettist), Prof Ed Hughes (MFM), Steph Fuller (Director, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft), Danny Bright (Lecturer Music & Music Tech), Jane Pitt (Artist in Residence), Rob Sharp (Teaching Fellow, Journalism), Jamie Longcake (guitar)

Music and journalism students and staff from the University of Sussex School of Media, Film and Music devised, performed in and reported on a special musical event inspired by Maunder Maps, a new installation by interdisciplinary artist Jane Pitt, at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Maunder is an old Sussex word meaning to wander about thoughtfully. Jane’s site-responsive art work, Unmap, covers a four-metre high window on the Museum’s East–West axis. It highlights the dialogue between the inner and outer spaces of the museum and explores the window as more than just a portal letting light in or out.

The musical performance was the result of a collaborative process involving several visits to the museum to film and photograph the installation. Back on campus, music staff and students used the images to build the composition.

Ed Hughes, Deputy Head of School of Media, Film and Music explained:  “We started by mapping the idea of circles and lines as a series of harmonies and motifs (short melodies) into a modular open score. Then the musicians developed that hugely and responded directly to the image by making a 15 minute continuous composition that was modulated by Jane’s artwork.”

The resulting score was performed twice with variations inspired by the artwork itself, changes in light cast through the window as the sun set, and how the trio of musicians responded to one another during the performances. In the interval, Jane Pitt answered questions from the audience about her artistic process and inspiration for the artwork.

Visiting artist Alison Hughes (clarinet, bass clarinet), BA Music student James Longcake (electric guitar) and Lecturer Danny Bright (sound, synthesiser) performed their musical response to the artwork.

Students from Journalism in Media, Film and Music produced audio and video content in advance of the event: Ruihan Zhang -; and Luke Mitchell and Lauren Wade -

The event was a collaboration between the University’s School of Media, Film and Music, its Centre for Research in Creative and Performing Arts, and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Maunder Maps is on display at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft until 28 April.


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Last updated: Monday, 24 February 2020

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