Project: Magister Dixit

Artist/s: Emma Smith


Over the last year, Emma Smith has been developing a new work for Tyntesfield in collaboration with National Trust volunteers, as part of New Expressions 3. New Expressions 3 establishes a national approach to collaboration between contemporary artists and museums.

Magister Dixit is an interactive sculpture, from which the power of the spoken word and curious history of performance, ritual and service at Tyntesfield can be explored.

The project takes its title from the Pythagorean phrase ‘the master has said’ which stems from an inscription on the door of the Tyntesfield library, which reads: Scripta Manent Verba Volant – ‘the written word stays and the spoken word flies’.

Visitors are invited to use the object to explore the history of the spoken word at Tyntesfield – what games were played and plays performed? What rituals and services took place? How was knowledge shared and enjoyed?

Magister Dixit can also transform to become a space from which visitors may present, perform or discuss their own ideas. In this way, Magister Dixit is both an invitation and an archive, a sculpture and a performance. It unlocks a hidden part Tyntesfield’s history and is also an opportunity to contribute to its future.

Emma and her team of volunteers have been keeping a project blog which now live:

Magister Dixit Locations

Magister Dixit Artists

Magister Dixit Events