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Dr Jon Hughes
Associate Lecturer



Jon Hughes is a sound artist, composer, choir leader and researcher working collaboratively with practitioners from a wide range of fields including dance, visual arts, theatre, biology, physics and archaeology. Alongside his composition work, Jon runs two busy community choirs: The Stonegate Singers in York, and The Roundhay Singers in Leeds.



Through 2015-2017 Jon worked as a postdoctoral research assistant on Soundtracks, a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and run in partnership with the British Library Sound Archive. Soundtracks was a cross-disciplinary project involving both the Archaeology and Music departments at the University of York, concerned with using sound to explore the biography of landscape. Outputs included the book, CD and performance installation Refugium. Through 2018, Jon was composer and sound designer for the AHRC funded project Experiencing the Lost and Invisible, creating an augmented reality app for visitors to Bryn Celli Ddu, an important Neolithic passage tomb in Anglesey, North Wales.

In 2019, Jon was sound designer and composer for the new permanent visitors centre exhibition at  the World Heritage Site of Newgrange, among the most important archaeological sites in Ireland.  Working with the creative team at Events Communication, Jon designed a 50 speakers ambisonic array spread over 5 rooms, and created all sound and music for the innovative new exhibition, which opened in December 2019.


Selected publications

Jon has published in the field of music archaeology, most recently co-editing the book Crossing Borders: Musical Change and Exchange Through Time (Ekho Verlag, 2020) with leading music archaeologist Arnd Adje Both. Other recent academic publications include ‘Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic: using sound to engage wider audiences with Early Holocene research’, in The Journal of World Archaeology (March 2014), reporting on a sound installation and research project Jon created in collaboration with archaeologist Dr Ben Elliot and the Yorkshire Museums Trust.

Most recently Jon created the score for Voicing Silence, an installation video piece made with the visual artist Laurence Payot and animator Laura Spark, as part of the Thinking Through Extinction project (University of Leeds and the Manchester Museum). This work will go on permanent display at the Manchester Museum in 2020. Other recent work includes the installation Traces of Gold Dust, shown at the Royal Standard in Liverpool, and Silk is the Soul, a VR installation made for the Macclesfield Silk Museum. In 2017, Jon was performer and composer for Prideaux Angels, an outdoor dance theatre piece at Prideaux Place, Padstow, Cornwall. In 2016, Jon was the composer and performer for the critically acclaimed Shoreline, a meditation on the borderline between land and sea, embodied movement and vocal expression. Funded by the Arts Council and FEAST, Shoreline involved 250 singers and 5 professional dancers performing outdoors in Cornwall, on the beaches of Kynance Cove, Sennan Cove and Watergate Bay.

Other recent work includes: Come to the Edge (April 2015) and A Cornish Soundscape (April 2015), a dance piece and ambisonic soundscape installation both commissioned as part of the ceremony to install Dawn French as the first Chancellor of Falmouth University in April 2015; Transmission (June 2014), a dance piece using electronics and recorded sound together with movement sensors, created in collaboration with artist Becs Andrews and evolutionary biologist Professor Mike Brockhurst, funded by the Arts Council and the Wellcome Trust; Hydrology (March 2014), a dance piece for 21 dancers, found sound and ambisonic speaker array, created as a composer in residence at AMATA in Falmouth University with choreographer Simon Birch; Terrarium, an outdoor dance installation for found sound, cello, violin, voice and percussion with the Simon Birch Dance Company. Commissioned for the North York Moors Park Authority's 60th Anniversary in 2012 and funded by the Arts Council, Terrarium toured the North York Moors in 2012, London and Cornwall in 2013; Phase Revival (2012) a kinetic sound sculpture created in collaboration with artists Andrews & Lynch, and chemical physicist Professor Ben Whittaker, performed at Opera North's Howard Assembly Rooms, and seen by over 5000 people in Leeds City Museum as part of Leeds Light Night. Norskenn, (August 2014), performed at Helsinki's Musiikkatalo concert hall, created with Finnish singer, composer and arranger Andrea Eklund.

Contact details

Jon Hughes
Department of Music
University of York
YO10 5DD