MSL responds to the lockdown with an online cultural programme Dot Dash which runs from April to September. Margaret Sheehy, Director of MSL Projects explains: “Dot Dash, a largely digitally-hosted project, uses art to explore, chronicle and re-tell stories of Hastings’ America Ground. This online programme enables audiences to accompany us on a virtual creative exploration of the America Ground.” Dot Dash will include:

Our Past, Our Future 25 new artworks, poems, videos, monologues and songs produced by local artists and amateur historians in response to characters, stories and events from Hastings’ America Ground. Our Past, Our Future was intended to be a collaborative, hands-on experience and we hoped our participants would take part in as many sessions as possible. It was funded by digital agency ‘The Space’ to create 15-25 simple digital pieces to add to our interactive history map, which can be found at

Chris Thorpe-Tracey
PICTURE: Jon Pratty

A Derelict Chorale 12 original songs drawn from the early 19th century history of the America Ground, composed by Artist-in-Residence, Chris Thorpe-Tracey. Chris says “My challenge is to capture the weave and texture of the America Ground’s rise and fall. I want to create a set of musical works telling the stories of people here.” Watch videos and listen to audio podcasts of Chris in conversation, talking about his songs and the process of researching and collecting stories from the America Ground and turning them into musical pieces. Demo recordings of the songs that comprise A Derelict Chorale will be available to hear, remix, re-arrange and deconstruct. Four local artists, musicians and writers will be invited and commissioned to create responses to Chris’ work, to be showcased later in the year. Watch out for a pop-up performance of the new works in July.

Rock On Rock Fair Rosanna Lowe, writer and collector of stories, and archivist and writer, Julie Gidlow, are starting work on what they describe as a “Motley Musical of Raggle Taggle Folkery with Curious Characters, Rollicking Rides and heart-breaking, soul-shaking songs”. They’ll be inviting others to engage with the process of creating the work in a series of virtual workshops that we’ll be announcing soon. So, watch this space. Rosanna asks: “How do we celebrate, despite dark times, after or even through death and sickness? How do music song, dance and laughter heal?” 

Creative Salons 10 online masterclasses and conversations about creative, community and digital opportunities in Hastings today hosted by local artists and creatives including: writer, critic, composer and Artist-in-residence in the America Ground, Chris Thorpe-Tracey; games and music specialist, Kevin Grist; archivist and writer, Julie Gidlow; digital artist, Judith Ricketts; Hastings historian, session musician and software developer, Roy Penfold; visual artist and sculptor, Mary Hooper; writer, performer and director, Rosanna Lowe; writer, journalist and digital producer, Jon Pratty; and playwright and producer, Margaret Sheehy.

All new works will be hosted on the Smart Heritage Online Town Arts Map (, some of the works will also be broadcast on Isolation Station ( Dot Dash is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Dot Dash starts on Wednesday 1st April with a podcast/Zoom session from the America Ground’s Artist-in-Residence, Chris Thorpe-Tracey in conversation with Jon Pratty.  Watch MSL online for the full programme as it develops. Twitter @MSLHastings and Instagram @msldigital.

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