Artist Statement: Polyphonic Practice and Vocalising Site

I am a visual artist, singer-composer and performance maker, working in Bristol UK. My work spans the mediums of performance, voice, drawing, music composition, sound art, video and artistic direction. READ MORE HERE

Current ongoing project: click image below to view blog
sitesinging logo


  • BURL featuring Ellen Southern: Schwetfest 2.0: Saturday 16th July 2016, The Exchange, Bristol
The amazing BURL, who played live at the Eastonia event where I presented Site Singing , invited me as guest vocalist for a new 30 minute voice / noise piece. This was performed live on the 15th and 16th of April at The Surrey Vaults supporting Pheromoans, and at the legendary THORNY club night (Cube Microplex). We were invited back by the Pheromoans to perform at New River Studios, London, on June 5th (thanks to Conny for the image below - video coming soon!).

NEXT PERFORMANCE: Cacophonous Sarcophagus, Schwetfest 2.0, Saturday 16th July, The Exchange, Bristol

@CarcoSarco on Twitter

BURL with Ellen Southern New River Studios June2016

  • POLYPHONY: solo exhibition II at Centrespace Gallery 1st - 8th September 2016

After a very successful debut solo exhibition in July 2015, this autumn I will be returning to Centrespace to show a selection of interdisciplinary works, and present a live site-specific vocal performance. More info to come soon.


  • SALTINGS PRESENTS - THE BRISTOL HUM: Experimental Music and Film Festival, 6th - 10th July, The Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol
Engaged Voice returned to the Edwardian Cloakroom, but slightly altered...! Vocal recordings from my 2014 site-specific exhibition Engaged Voice were re-worked by myself and Tom Bush as Dead Space Chamber Music, with the excellent addition of cello by Liz Muir (Saltings). Documentation coming soon...

See THE BRISTOL HUM blog for more info


@saltingsmusic & search #thebristolhum #EngagedVoice on Twitter

Bristol Arts Development guest blog: Engaged Voice

dscm at bristolhum


Dead Space Chamber Music (myself and guitarist Tom Bush) have release a free Demo EP, integrating vocal sound-scapes from my ongoing Site Singing project. The collection of tracks include material from our performances at Sanctum (see below)



SANCTUM: Theaster Gates / Situations / MAYK: October - November 2015
I took part in this ambitious sound project as part of
Dead Space Chamber Music, integrating vocal sound-scapes from my ongoing Site Singing project.

I sang as part of
Bristol Sacred Harp choir, and while the project ran, was invited to sing ‘What Shall I Do With My Hands’, a 5am incantation to the rhythm of a potters wheel by Louisa Fairclough with singer Chloë Somers and Lou Gilbert Scott of Potstop.

See the Sanctum Bristol website and blog for documentation of the project

Read the Guardian review of Sanctum

See #sanctumbristol on Twitter

Performing with Tom Bush as Dead Space Chamber Music

What Shall I Do With My Hands

‘What Shall I Do With My Hands”, photo by Louisa Fairclough


  • AMALGAMS at the John Wesley Chapel, Bristol: Saturday 31st October 2015, 9-11pm (doors 8:30)

Amalgams (def: a mixture or blend) was a new collaborative performance created together with other invited practitioners by the Onomato Collective. Fellow invited participants included musicians Tina Hitchens, Dominic Lash & Hannah Marshall, electronic artist Liam McConaghy: Microdeform , film maker Louisa Fairclough and Film Curator Kim Knowles (both part of the BEEF film group, Bristol). Many thanks to fellow shapenote-singers Rachel Wemyss, Leila Gamaz and Chloë Somers from Bristol Sacred Harp. See a short video below by Ben Owen.

Read more about AMALGAMS here

Part of the
Bristol and Bath Art Weekender 2015

A M A L G A M S Short event document by Onomato from Benjamin Owen on Vimeo.

Photos and poster by Ben Owen of Onomato Collective

amalgams small

BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF SONG: Friday 9th -18th October 2015

Bristol Sacred Harp made a Festival of Song debut this year, taking part in Song Raids on a variey of locations on the harbour, and performing a lunchtime concert at the amazing St Mary Redcliffe Cathedral.

Hear the audio here

We also led a shape-note singing workshop at
The American Museum, Bath.

bristol sacred harp at st mary redcliffe

american museum

EASTONIA: Exploring landscapes with artists and academics: Friday 9th October 2015

I presented Site Singing as part of an innovative new event series curated by Guy Lochhead. Poster artwork by Alice McFarlane.

See the blog entry about the event on the Site Singing website

See the event Facebook page for info on all participants

Hear Guy Lochheads mixtape on the theme of ‘ruins’

Eastonia 2_low small


I really enjoyed the
Supernormal Festival 2015, a three-day experimental arts and music festival in Braziers Park, Oxfordshire. We gave a shape-note singing workshop, where we got tens of first-timers singing loud and proud!

See the Bristol Sacred Harp website to join us for weekly singing

Hear audio clips from the 2nd annual
Bristol All Day Singing 2015

bristolsacredharp at supernormal

  • WORLD LISTENING DAY 2015: Sound Waves project: Saturday 18th July 2015

I was very proud to be part of the Cities and Memory Sound Waves project, which brought together field recordings and sonic re-imaginings from artists across the globe on the theme of water. The resulting Sound Map was launched online on Monday 13th July, and over the week selected contributions were crafted into a special 30 min recomposition to be launched by Stuart Fowkes on WLD itself.

Hear and read about my own contribution, a dripping tap field recording and vocal re-imagining, located in Bristol UK.

Visit the Sound Waves project page to hear the 30 min re-composition, and all the fascinating contributions from sound artists across the world

read more:
World Listening Day 2015: H20



This track was created by visitors on a free tour I gave of the exhibition of Reto Pulfer's water-inspired installation Gewässerzeiten. Pulfer's own composition which plays in the space can be heard, as well as distant excerpts from the nearby installation of Patrick Staff's The Foundation.

About the tour:
The day of the tour coincided with World Listening Day (see above), which was on the theme of water. So I suggested we use our voices to create layers of watery sounds as we walked meditatively amongst the installation. This informal interactive tour proposed and explored potential connections between these two seemingly contrasting shows, testing out how one exhibition might in fact reveal insights into the other.

The audience was invited to share in this process, through open discussion, personal reflection and through participatory activities (a collaborative mnemonic-drawing and this group sound-work) in order to enact and realise shared themes such as notions of archiving documentary and collecting, revealing the means of making, memory, sanctuary, trust and generosity.
Many thanks to all for taking part and sharing thoughts and experiences!


SOLO EXHIBITION SITE SINGING - Vocal Explorations of English Heritage Sites: Saturday 4th - Wednesday 8th July 2015
Thank you to all who joined me at
Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, to hear and reflect on work in progress from my current project.

“Engaging sound-sketches, inspired by visits to some of Bristol’s finest heritage sites” - Bristol Life

“Southern is a genuine polymath...the execution [of her sound-sketches] requiring dedication, planning, and hard work. [They are] all created by the artist using her own voice [with] each piece drawing on her fine art and drawing background” Louisa Trimby, Bristol 24/7
read full article here

About the exhibition
: Since last summer, sound artist Ellen Southern has visited a variety of heritage sites within a day of Bristol by foot and public transport, in keeping with Bristol being Green Capital 2015. At each site, she has experimented with her own voice and the acoustics of each space, using her voice to vocalise, or give voice to, these sites.

The resulting sound sketches, created from recordings made at these sites, are works in progress towards final audio works. These will be downloadable by the public, with the aim of contributing to the visitor interpretation of, and encourage engagement with, these lesser known English Heritage sites.

The exhibition will offer the opportunity to hear the sound works created so far, with varying combinations presented each day, and discuss their making with Ellen. Drawings and photographs from the field trips will be exhibited alongside the sound works.
Read more

Read an exclusive article on Site Singing featured in Sound Art Text

See the latest from #SiteSinging on twitter

e-flyer Site Singing at Centrespace Gallery July 3rd-8th 2015


Read an article I wrote about my site-specific vocal sound work Engaged Voice, at the Edwardian Cloakroom last November. The article features a specially made video documenting the work.

screengrab CSP guest blog

  • SOUNDING SPIKE ISLAND: a voice-based sound work: Bank Holiday Weekend, May 1st - 4th 2015

For Spike Island Open 2015, I performed a roving intervention, using my voice and a hand-held recording device to work directly with the acoustics and activity of the building. By overlaying and editing together the resulting recordings, I created a sonic portrait of the building at the time of the open event.

See more about this piece on p2 of this site

ssi tweet1

INTERVALS: a participatory performance: Sunday 26th April 2015

Thanks to the audience at
The Cube Microplex, Bristol, who took part in my vocal performance around microtones - the sounds in-between conventional western musical notes. Intervals was created with the audience as part of a night of music also featuring The Nervy Betters and Will Newsome, supporting Diane Cluck on her current tour for ‘Boneset’.

Hear Intervals audio excerpt here:

Hear work in progress:

Link to the event on The Cube website

cube seats - foto by ellen southern