Jay Bernard’s immersive and unusual online soundscape blurs the boundaries between words, music and place

Experience Tombland — an immersive and unusual online soundscape which blurs the boundaries between words, music and place.

At the end of 2020, Sunday Times Award-winning writer Jay Bernard and sound designer, music producer and DJ, Mwen, spent a week together in the beautiful grounds of Dragon Hall – creating sounds and making up songs. A 15th-century medieval trading hall which has had many uses over time, Dragon Hall became a space for communing with the sheer weighty history present in the room. The outcome is part jam session, part sketchbook, part EP, and these fragments combine to create Tombland: an immersive soundscape plus an interactive game in which you can re-mix the sounds the artists created during that week.

Access Tombland now


In addition to Jay and Mwen’s soundscape, there is also the (optional) opportunity to download and play with an interactive game. The Tombland experience works on Windows 10 and Mac and is controlled with keyboard and mouse. This is an early access version so you may see notification alerts from your computer when starting. Follow the on-screen instructions to continue – full instructions can be found on the Tombland website.

You can also watch a video walkthrough of the experience by clicking here.

We’d love for you to share your experience of Tombland on social media using the hashtag #CityofLit21.

Twitter @WritersCentre @NNFest

Instagram: @writerscentre @nnfest

Want to learn more about the process behind Tombland? Tune in for a conversation with Jay and Mwen on Saturday 29 May at 5pm BST. Hear about their approach to making sounds that blur music, writing and place, and the experience of communing with the history of Dragon Hall. Watch online now

About the artists

Jay BernardJay Bernard (FRSL FRSA) is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They are the winner of the 2020 Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. Their debut poetry collection Surge (Chatto and Windus, 2019), won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, T.S. Eliot Prize, Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Dylan Thomas Prize, RSL Ondaatje Prize and John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize. They are an associate artist at the National Centre for Writing.

Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row. Website

 width=Mwen has been working creatively with sound as an artist, producer, composer, DJ and session musician for a number of years. More recently Mwen’s creative output expanded to include sound design and composing for theatre, live performance and film. Mwen’s creative practice melds the worlds of music technology, electronic music, live sound and performance.

Mwen’s compositions and productions have received airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, XFM, NTS, Rinse FM, been supported by DJs including Rob da Bank, Mary Anne Hobbs and Tom Robinson and synced to TV and fashion film.

Currently, Mwen is based in London and DJs regularly on the London club scene. Mwen is also in-house Ableton tutor at Hub16 Studios in East London. Website

City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.

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