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


  • RECENT: October - November 2015 SANCTUM: Theaster Gates / Situations / MAYK
I will be 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.

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

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

Read the Guardian review of Sanctum

See #sanctumbristol on Twitter


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

Amalgams (def: a mixture or blend) was a new collaborative performance created with the Onomato Collective and other invited practitioners, including fellow singers Rachel Wemyss, Leila Gamaz and Chloë Somers from Bristol Sacred Harp. More documentation soon!

Part of the
Bristol and Bath Art Weekender 2015

Photos and poster by Ben Owen of Onomato Collective

amalgams small

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

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

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

bristolsacredharp at supernormal

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

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

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

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


  • RECENT: Saturday 4th - Wednesday 8th July 2015 SITE SINGING: Vocal explorations of English Heritage sites
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

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

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


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

  • RECENT: Sunday 26th April 2015 INTERVALS: a participatory performance

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:

cube seats - foto by ellen southern

Hear work in progress:

Link to the event on The Cube website