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Vital Signs

In 2016 curators at Durham Castle Museum collaborated with Arts&Heritage, an organisation that forges collaborations between contemporary artists and heritage organisations to create contemporary performance pieces.

Arts&Heritage led the North East strand of the Meeting Point project, an Arts Council England (ACE) funded national programme that presented artworks in unexpected places. The Curator for Durham Castle Museum worked with Arts&Heritage to create an artistic brief for a project to be hosted by Durham Castle, and participated in the panel which selected the artist.

Vital Signs was created by the artist and Northumbria University lecturer Jo Coupe, who used data collected by Castle Museum staff -such as visitor numbers, relative humidity and temperature readings - to compose a musical score which was played on a selection of medieval percussion instruments.

Jo worked with percussionist and composer Brendan Murphy and three other musicians, who were chosen for their ability to play instruments similar to those which might have been played in the Castle many hundreds of years ago. The piece was performed in 2017 in the Great Hall at Durham Castle at a concert organised by the Museum team.   

Watch the performance: Vital Signs (Collected and Uncollected Post)


Durham Castle Gateway.

An archway in a stone building leading into a courtyard