Dot Dash

Photo by Jon Pratty

Dot Dash explored the America Ground online

Dot Dash was a six-month season of new digital arts and heritage programmes which ran from April to September 2020. It focused on the America Ground in Hastings and featured work by professional and non-professional creatives responding to the extraordinary stories we had been uncovering with the help of a range of researchers. Some stories were historical, some contemporary, some magical realist, some true, and some we wished had been true. All were original.

Our Past, Our Future
Our season began with the release of several short digital pieces in spoken word, creative writing, photographs, video and animations. Our Past, Our Future was a month-long programme of creative media workshops for older creative people held at Hastings Museum during November 2019. The project was a chance to rewrite history through the participants’ own eyes and ears. We have created a project video, which explains how Our Past, Our Future came together and ran during autumn 2019. The videos can be viewed on YouTube and on the OPOF page.

We followed that, from May to July, with one-hour weekly Salons on Zoom and via Isolation Station Hastings. Each Salon was hosted by a creative artist who invited into their space a small number of guests who offered particular expertise on their chosen theme, along with a ticketed audience. A video was made of each of the Salons – see the Salons page.

A Derelict Chorale
From January to April Chris Thorpe-Tracey was the America Ground Artist-in-Residence. During this time Chris researched the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars up to the clearance of what was once a thriving but illegal settlement in Hastings town centre, making it into a derelict land. Drawing from the stories he found Chris created ten powerful songs. The songs open up lives and incidents completely unknown to many in the town. They are available on the Smart Heritage Map as music and lyrics with the composer’s commentary, contextualizing the material in historic accounts. Visit the Derelict Chorale page for more information.

Rock On, Rock Fair
Since April 2020 Rosanna Lowe, writer and collector of stories, and archivist and writer, Julie Gidlow, have been working on what they describe as a ‘Motley Musical of Raggle-Taggle Folkery with Curious Characters, Rollicking Rides and Heart-breaking, Soul-shaking Songs’. The focus of the work is the historic Rock Fairs that took place in or close to the Trinity Triangle in Hastings over centuries, and how fairs are represented in Sussex folklore and folksong. Some of the research and development process was conducted online as Salons or workshops, with the ultimate aim to create a work that can be performed by community participants in the town centre.

From May to July 2020, Rosanna led three Salon sessions, one with two regionally-based folk duos Lunatraktors and Rokurokubi, in an exploration of the music of fairs. You can see videos of the Salons on the Salons page. You can also visit the Rock On, Rock Fair page.

All new Dot Dash works will be hosted on the Smart Heritage Online Town Arts Map, with links via social media: | t: @MSLHastings | i: msl_hastings |

Dot Dash is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Our Past, Our Future is supported by The Space.

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