Graduates 2021: Joe Gilling: Digital Music and Sound Arts

“My time at the University of Brighton has been an eye-opening and artistically inspiring three years. The tutors have pushed my creativity to the edge and given me brilliant guidance throughout the modules. My work has excelled and innovated past anything I could have imagined.”


Hi Joe – can you tell us a bit about your work and your influences?

“I am an audio artist living in Brighton. My work explores the collision between technology and life. As part of my final year audio/visual project on the Digital Music and Sound Arts course, I have been exploring the aesthetics of digital failure, glitch, and inter-twinement of past and present media through the virtual realm. My work has been inspired by reflecting on the consequences of exponential technological consumerism and what these effects are having on a digital generation. I am currently working on a variety of audio/visual projects which exploit technologies and define what it means to be human today.

“Since beginning my studies, I have produced bespoke music compositions for advertising campaigns as well as commercially released my own digital music projects online. My sound is often defined through unusual swung and off-kilter rhythms, haunting and ethereal vocal samples, and ambient washing soundscapes.

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“My time at the University of Brighton has been an eye-opening and artistically inspiring 3 years. The tutors have pushed my creativity to the edge and given me brilliant guidance throughout the modules. My work has excelled and innovated past anything I could have imagined. I now feel prepared for the next step in my journey. I have met other brilliant creatives who will be great contacts for the future. This diverse and amazing city is now somewhere I’m proud to call my home.”

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts?

“I chose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts at Brighton not really knowing what ‘Sound Art’ even meant! After visiting on an open day, I could just feel by the atmosphere and incredible studio spaces that this was the place for me. I was most interested in the new media application of sound, digital culture, and experimental practice. These were eventually areas I became an expert in and continue to learn about every day.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“I have recently just secured a marketing internship with an opera theatre company in London. I hope to pursue my current interests in social media management and digital marketing within the arts, whilst continually progressing as a freelance digital artist. The course I have studied has opened me up to numerous career possibilities and taught me valuable and transferable skills for the future which many employers find desirable.”

Visit Joe’s website

Follow Joe on Instagram: @joegillingmusic

Find out about studying Digital Music and Sound Arts BA(Hons).

Graduates 2021: Toby Hinks: Digital Music and Sound Arts

“I am now working on a commission with the 
Brighton Centre for Creative Arts to create a piece to accompany Nika Neelova’s exhibition SILT in the coming 


Hi Toby – can you tell us a bit about your work and your influences?

“Project name Foci, plural of focus, the focusing effect of the two dishes projecting sound towards each other. Foci alters the perception of space through two minimal sculptural forms interacting sonically. It is a combination of a kinetic sound sculpture and domed structure above it that amplifies and
reflects the resulting sound.

“The resonant tone of a metal bowl is activated by the circling movement of large steel ball bearings, put in motion by the user. Contact mics and a surface
speaker transfer vibration from the bottom dish to the top, projecting this sound in an isolated area and creating the sense of tangible architectural space around the user. The installation seeks to exploit a disconnect between visual and aural perception of space in the creation of structural form. The piece utilises the reflective nature and sonic qualities of material, to conjure a cohesive impression of architectural space.

“Also through user participation, the role of
our own agency in sonically defining architectural space is highlighted, creating personal sonic spatial experience through physical interaction. 
The project stands at the intersection of sound, architecture, sculpture, installation and perceptual art and its influences reflect this diverse blend of disciplines. It was inspired by various areas within sound art practice including spatial manipulation, kinetic sculpture and structural amplification. Works such as Bernhard Leitner’s Water Mirror (1997), Akio Suzuki’s Space in the Sun (1988) Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Clinamen v.2 (2015), Nelo Akamatsu’s – Chijikinkutsu
(2013-2020) and Bernhard Leitner’s Space Sources (1997) were instrumental in the conception
and development of Foci. Aesthetically the project takes large influence from the Light and Space 
movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This form of minimalism based on the west coast
of America focused on perceptual experience rather than conceptual thought. Foci takes its lead
 from this, altering the perception of space through two minimal sculptural forms, directing focus 
towards the perception of the spatial qualities of the auditory experience.

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“I have loved being a part of the DMSA cohort, surrounded by exceptional levels of creativity from 
other students and true experts in their fields in the lecturers, I have always felt inspired and
 pushed to create innovative and original work. Also being here has allowed me to widen the 
scope of my practice, with optional units in the architecture school and interaction with the visual
arts and media schools. My time at The University of Brighton has instilled me with a depth and 
breadth of knowledge and allowed me to establish a multifaceted sound art practice.

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts?

I actually came to the course at a transition in my own creative practice. I had completed a
 foundation degree in creative music production, unable to complete a BA top up. The Digital
 Music and Sound Arts course seemed to fit with where I found myself but offered a route into
 developing skills in Art practice. The scope of the course was so wide and allowed the chance to
g ain a firm basis in sound art theory that isn’t matched in many places. The syllabus enabled a 
development in me, to experiment and incorporate a variety of other disciplines and expand what
 I could do creatively.”

What are your plans after graduation?

I will remain in Brighton as it is a beautiful, creative, exciting city. I plan on exhibiting Foci again for
the general public to experience in person, potentially creating another version for the Brighton
Sound Art Festival that will be coming to the city. Also I am working on a commission with the 
Brighton CCA to create a piece to accompany Nika Neelova’s exhibition SILT in the coming 
Filmed submission – talking about the work or experience of producing work in lockdown.
Working through lockdown mainly meant having to think creatively about how to realise the
concept of the project. The biggest change was to not construct any of the main elements or have
 them custom made, it all had to be created with commercially available items that were modified
 for their new purpose. A giant fire pit was suspended and a mirrored mixing bowl was used for 
this project in the end, sonically creating interesting variations.


Foci development blog

Instagram: @th.soundart

Find out about studying Digital Music and Sound Arts BA(Hons).

DMSA 2021 Online Degree Show // 25 June – 16 July


Our DMSA online degree show 2021 launches Friday 25th June


Alex Aiano // Alex Lewis-Whitaker // Ike Goldman // Jack James // Jade Gunner // James Mannay // Jared Swift // Jezebel Halewood-Leagas // Joe Gilling // Matthew Sarre // Toby Hinks


One may have thought that the stretch of enforced isolation may have played into the hands of sound workers, toiling away in their bedrooms. These unusual circumstances in fact changed the perspective of many emerging artists from this year’s cohort, causing them to reconsider their practice, be highly resilient, and be adaptable to all situations.

Looking out on a damaged world though steamy windows and computer screens brought up some of the most topical, conversational, and exciting spurts of creativity which inspired the final degree pieces this year. Works explore personal identity, personal ethics, environment, the spaces we inhabit, and our sense of community. Many of these issues dominated conversations – accurately and artistically reflecting on a time of loss but also change.

This event is curated by the BA Digital Music and Sound Arts students



Q&A with 2nd year student Hal on studying Digital Music & Sound Arts.

Hi Hal, What made you choose Brighton and this course?  

Before choosing to study Digital Music and Sound Arts at Brighton I was studying Contemporary Performance in Glasgow. Near the end of my first year, I decided the course wasn’t for me, and I’d prefer to focus on music. I knew I still wanted to do a degree, but the challenge would be deciding which one – after all, there are probably hundreds of music courses in the UK! Fortunately, I was able to narrow it down, as I knew I wanted to study on an unconventional course that would bring out my experimental side. I searched the internet for experimental music courses, and this one at Brighton came up. In fact, it was one of the only courses that seemed to fit the bill. After reading the course website, it didn’t take me long to decide that this was the right course for me. I had never been to Brighton, but I’d heard good things, so I applied for the course through clearing and was offered a place after a telephone interview.

Can you tell us a bit more about the course? How would you describe it to a new student? 

The DMSA course is unique! It is very practical, with plenty of creative tasks to keep us busy and develop our production skills, but it also has a theoretical side which I find fascinating. We learn about the history of experimental music and sound art, including various significant approaches from the 20th Century that inspire the pieces we make. The studio facilities at uni are top notch, with multiple studios available, featuring high quality speakers, modular synths and other exciting instruments, and lots of software that would be way out of my price range. The technicians are lovely and always happy to help.

It’s been great working alongside my course-mates, who have very varied skillsets, and I feel I’ve learned as much from them as I have from my tutors, not to mention the connections I’ve made that I hope will last a lifetime. The course is also very open, giving us a broad range within the set tasks to make works that excite us, and utilise our personal skills. Studying from home hasn’t been easy, but our tutors have been understanding and helpful at every turn.

Tell us a bit about the teaching staff

My year head, Stephen Mallinder, has been a real joy to be taught by! Not only is he a prominent musician in his own right (having been a founding member of Cabaret Voltaire) but he is also a genuinely lovely chap, always eager to talk to us and help out with any issues we have. His teaching style is down to earth, humorous and well-informed, and I feel privileged to have him as a future contact and mentor.

Do you have the opportunity to go on placement or any other external learning opportunities? 

The course has professional practice modules, designed to prepare us with the skills for success in the real world. We’re currently working on a Film Music module, in which we are encouraged to treat each task as if it was for a real film company or director. The head tutor on this module has worked a lot in film and shares his experiences and knowledge with us to prepare us for this sort of work. I don’t know whether I’ll go into making music for film, but I feel confident that if I do, I’ll have the knowledge and ability to succeed.

Is the University of Brighton a supportive place to study?  

In first year, I was having a difficult time with my mental health, so I sought out some counselling through the uni. Luckily for me they offer a free counselling service, and I had six sessions with a counsellor. She talked to me about what I was going through, and even when lockdown happened, we were able to continue the sessions over Microsoft Teams. When I had completed all six sessions, she sent me links and advice on where to go next, should I decide I needed to continue my therapy.

How is student life and what’s Brighton like?

Brighton is a great city. Before the lockdowns there were loads of gigs, club nights and events to attend, and meeting people was easy as there are so many friendly people in this very liberal city. Thankfully, the nature around Brighton is also lovely, so even in lockdown I was able to take walks and explore the beach and the forests. I particularly recommend any new students to check out the forest at Wild Park – it’s so close to town and it’s a great place for a walk with friends or on your own to get away from the bustling city for a while.

What are your plans after finishing your course?  

After finishing my course, I am currently planning to live in Berlin for a while, making music and living life to the full. Then, if I end up coming back to the UK, I imagine I’ll move back to my hometown of Bristol to try to make a living through music and theatre. I know my career path is a risky one, as there are many artists who never make a living through their work, but I hope with the skills and contacts I have made studying at Brighton, I will achieve my goals. Studying at university has definitely helped me be more outgoing and confident. I have gone from being a wallflower to a conversation starter, and I’m sure the friends I’ve made here will be with me for life.

The Space in Sound (online symposium)

Join the Lighthouse for The Space in Sound symposium: two days of online talks exploring the ways sound can occupy space with Haroon Mirza, Kersten Glandien, Aneil Karia, Paul Davies, and Lucy Harrison. Held on 17-18 September online.
The Space in Sound (Online Symposium)
17 September 2020, 6-7.30pm (BST)
18 September 2020, 5-7.45pm (BST)
Two-day ticket: £10/£6 concessions
Online via Zoom
Two days of talks exploring ways sound can occupy space.
Highlights include:
  • Paul Davies, sound designer of We Need to Talk About KevinHunger, and You Were Never Really Here, discussing his cinematic soundtracks with up-and-coming director and collaborator Aneil Karia (Surge, 2020 – starring Ben Whishaw).
  • Haroon Mirza, Venice Biennial’s ‘Most Promising Artist’, talking about sound understood as electrical signals and exploring the musical dimensions of ritual and celebration.
  • Composer Dr Lucy Harrison and curator/author Dr Kersten Glandien discussing their findings in Sound Art and Sound Design fields and how those relate to Filmic and Architectural spaces.



15 August – 9 September 2020



Open call for an educational residency with:

BILL FONTANA (composer and video artist),

HANS PETER KUHN (sound and visual artist),


OVE HOLMQVIST (sound artist),

HANS ROSENSTRÖM (sound artist),

STEFFI WEISMANN (sound artist),

JI WOO & SUN WOO (Zen masters) and

PROF. DR. URSULA KOCH (Neurophysiologist)


Chef in Residence: EMRAH TAŞ


Selection committee: Peter Cusack, Ali M. Demirel, Juliana Hodkinson, Mario Asef and Ece Pazarbaşı.

The FIELD KITCHEN ACADEMY is an interdisciplinary educational residency programme that gathers artists/ creative minds, a resident chef and prominent experts from different fields together around a kitchen table through mind-opening acts and actions.

On its second edition, a total of 11 interdisciplinary residents will be selected to join the upcoming FIELD KITCHEN ACADEMY in its three modules. Curated by Ece Pazarbaşı, this year, under the title of THE CURIOUS LOOP, we will use the notion of loops-in-sound as a gateway to other concepts of repetition, offering a variety of individual and collective experiences. Loops represent a time that is suspended, which is a compressed source of the past, present and the future. The loop also oscillates between the known and the unknown; as for the viewer and listener it could unfold to a future of known (as it repeats the same material over and over again), but also it may relate to an unknown (as surprises are always welcome), and one never knows if the loop will be broken with an unknown sound or visual component – no matter how well defined and repeated the loop has developed in the past. If one cannot step into the same river twice, and if one opens to perception with all senses, what differences can we find in each loop?

Composed of three intertwined modules that allow for different durations in the residency, the program is open to application from all disciplines and all walks of life. The selected residents will have the opportunity of pursuing processes of experimentation, discussion, trial and error, the progression of knowledge, and know-how in working sessions during the first 3 weeks. The last half week will be the ‘simmering’ period where the residents are expected to do NOTHING but only LISTENING.

* for the Covid-19 measures at the Field Kitchen Academy /// The Curious Loop, please visit our website.

** The outcome of the Field Kitchen Academy’s three working sessions will be presented as part of The Curious Loop Public Program. The Public Program is partially supported by Musikfonds and Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.

Location: GUTSHAUS WÜSTEN-BUCHHOLZ, Perleberg, Germany / app. 2 hrs. away from Berlin. Selected participants will be announced by 6 July 2020.

For more information on the modules, the team, and application:

DMSA Online Degree Show 2020

“The show is a celebration of this year’s graduates’ ideas, creativity and originality – as all graduate shows are, but this year it is also a celebration of their resilience, their tenacity and determination to keep going…’

Well done to all the DMSA 2020 graduates!