Engaging communities in song

Engaging communities in song

By Creatives Across Sussex


Gain top tips for funding and delivering a long-term vision, finding participants for large-scale community projects, and building valuable partnerships.

Our vision and how we work

Our vision for Creatives Across Sussex is to enable communities across the whole of Sussex to benefit socially and economically from a thriving and sustainable arts and creative infrastructure.

We achieve our vision by working in partnership with local authorities, businesses in Sussex, funding bodies, artists and communities.

We engage local people in creative activities and enable and advocate for the work of artists, producers and companies in Sussex and beyond.

The project

Town to Earth was a participatory music project culminating in three events for community singers in unusual and contrasting settings.

We used sung music, commissioned new music, sound design and visual installations to create late night promenade experiences.

Background and inspiration

I have a background as a music producer and was really interested in how people enjoy coming together to sing. I wanted to put that into the landscape at night.

I also have a long history of outdoor arts where it's often not possible to rehearse or develop work in the location where it will be performed. I wanted to see what we could achieve if we built something up slowly, working with communities on the site where they would perform.

That journey began with Whispering Woods, an artist-led project that culminated in an atmospheric performance in the woods at night.

Sussex people wanted us to do something similar in the town to transform an urban setting so we created Singing Streets.

Town to Earth is a later evolution of these projects, combining rural and urban settings. We wanted to take the success of Whispering Woods and Singing Streets and increase the depth of participation We planned to support communities to do it themselves.

Recruiting participants

We approached recruiting participants like live social networking on a smaller scale. We turned up in housing estates and local authority officers introduced us to community development officers. Through those connections we began talking to people about the history of where they live and gradually gained their trust.

Download the case study to read more

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2016