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Sound Bites: The making of ‘Down in the Kitchen’ at Preston Manor

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For a short time only, visitors to Preston Manor will be able to experience an interactive sound installation, and browse a series of colourful, handmade zines; all about food.

Zine display

Zine display

‘Down in the Kitchen’ was developed in response to the Heritage Open Days 2021 theme ‘Edible England’ and was created by RPMT’s Museum Collective (MC). This group of 14–25-year-olds love getting involved in creative projects. Even a series of Covid lockdowns didn’t deter them! After discussing ideas for several months on Zoom, in August the MC was finally able to start meeting in person to make these site-specific pieces.

Both the zines and the sound installation have been developed as part of New Wave, a programme of innovative, youth-led events produced for this year’s Heritage Open Days festival, coordinated by the National Trust.

‘Down in the Kitchen’ will be on display from Monday 13 – Mon 20 September, 2021 at Preston Manor, in the Basement Kitchen.

So, what exactly IS Down in the Kitchen?

The Sound Installation

Working in collaboration with sound artist Kassia Zermon (aka Bunty), the Museum Collective members spent a day downstairs in the Edwardian kitchen recording food-related sounds, dissonant harmonies and spoken word. During the session the group experimented by making sounds with objects like eggbeaters, sieves, lemon squeezers and kettles.

The final piece uses motion sensors to trigger multi-layered audio loops and stories from different locations in and around the kitchen.

Here’s how the makers describe the process:

‘The whole process felt quite surreal and therapeutic in doing. I enjoyed experimenting with different tones and pitches made from things around the kitchen and dining room in Preston Manor. It allowed me to further expand and develop this experience of actually walking amongst the people that lived there before’.

‘It was a really exciting opportunity to learn about sound. I think it was a unique experience to think about an exhibition in a manor house in a 4D (sound) way. It was at times a very mindful making process, thinking about our relationships with food. We paid attention to the way sound vibrates through our body and surroundings. Even objects that I thought I knew well like water surprised me with the variety of sounds it made. I really hope how much I enjoyed the making process comes across in the recordings.’


The zines bring together information, images, and recipes from past and present.

Inspiration came from a diverse range of sources including King George IV’s indulgent dinner menus and Mrs Beeton’s famous Book of Household Management. The modern references include favourite foods, and ways to tackle food poverty and food waste.

The zines were developed during two practical, hands-on workshops. Here is what the makers say about the process:

Charlie’s zine: ‘Thoughts for Food’
‘It felt important to highlight the serious side of food as a topic as well as the fun and creative parts. I wanted to use my zine to provide information about why some people face food insecurity and how to help to hopefully encourage visitors to engage with the issue’.


Jacobina’s zine: ‘Our Connections with the Edible World’
‘My art zine tries to bring us connections and relationships with the Edible world, whether that is through our non-traditional styles of cooking at home with our family or when you’re having to look back on how essential food was part of our lives. And showing how it became a symbol of wealth and fortune to some’.


Eliph and Rowan’s zine: ‘Timeless recipes’
‘The first thing we noticed in our research into food was the differences between past and present. We were inspired by the recipes of Mrs. Beeton and how bizarre they were’.


Dorothy’s ZIne

Download links

Download the finished Zines from the Museum Collective.

If you have a printer and would like to download, print and fold your own copy of any of the zines made during this project, use the links below. For best results, print in colour on A3 pages.

Make a perfect zine with this handy zine-folding instruction sheet.

Go to the Art Activities page on our website to check out other fun making projects.

Want to be a part of projects like this?

The Museum Collective is a group for people aged 14-25 who meet regularly in Brighton Museums and enjoy working on creative projects like this one. If you would like to come along to the next meeting, please email Sarah Pain at