To work with diverse communities served by Middleton Library, encouraging individuals to create slow-craft autobiographies using their own words. Over 250 books will be created by the authors their verbatim texts enhanced through illustration, bindings etc. using an array of visual stimuli. The resulting collection will be exhibited as a 3 month site-specific installation in Middleton Library and thereafter form part of a developing legacy of community literature. The project will train a group of local volunteers and library staff to enable them to continue to roll out the process past the project end-date. The process will be captured by writer/documentarist Chris Salt. He will record conversation and interactions which occur in the workshops and other engagements, translating those fragments into a soundscape to accompany the installation and its online version. The voices captured in this format will also form a creative evaluation of the project as a whole.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Following the recent refurbishment of Middleton Library the core reading group dissipated. The secondary use of the building as a community advisory centre changed the demographic from those who CHOOSE to visit the Library to those who HAVE to visit it. This project aims to reset this thinking to encourage an engagement that is creative, personal and lasting. The reflective aspects of this kind of writing will enable participants to gain in confidence, develop familiarity with the written word, facility with self-expression, enhanced sense of well-being, enthusiasm for participation. Visits to the installation will increase interest in the written world, in handling and appreciating hard copies of text; an enthusiasm for slow-craft techniques such as book-binding, paper-making, illustration, printing and an understanding of the reading room as a safe and comfortable space in which to read and think. This project will reboot the idea of the library’s place at the heart of our community.
Steps to get it done:
Secondarily Edgeways will be growing a diverse participant group – building on the significant base established through previous work – continuing to develop their skills to take forward into further projects. They will also mentor 4 emerging artists from amongst the group to employ in the future. Successful, impactful community projects can often leave a vacuum behind. Edgeways Productions, by putting legacy at the heart of their work alongside planned continued investment in participants, deliver a growing sustainable arts engagement aggregation. The first phase of the project - the recruiting and nurturing of our writers and the making of the autobiographies will be funded separately. We are crowdfunding for the second stage of the project only, the installation and residency at the Library to showcase the books, create an oasis for reflection and the on-going archive of the life experiences of the people of Middleton.
About the space
Middleton - originaly the middle town between Manchester and Rochdale is a place of character but with some socio-economic challenges. It has popped up on some worst places to live in Britain lists in the recent past but it also has pockets of affluence an a growing sense of its own history.
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
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