We have been sinking deep into the sofa in the evenings to follow the craft, technique and skill offered to viewers in the BBC 2 broadcast The Repair Shop.
As well as offering craft and artistry of the highest calibre, the programme is the perfect antidote and respite from a stressful day at the office, that meeting you regret or that article idea that will not congeal yet in a tired mind.
In Mellis, Suffolk the workshop at Myglassroom is offering the opportunity to engage with this craft and artistry in stained glass creation.
‘Myglassroom: a studio committed to achieving excellence in contemporary architectural stained glass, conservation & restoration. Established 1990 by Surinder Warboys, Stained glass artist and conservator’.
Architectural Stained Glass /Painting on Glass Courses
You can discover more about Surinder Warboys one day courses, contact the workshop for details of fees applicable and to see the work of recent ‘glass’ students…see more at http://www.myglassroom.com/index.html
The essayist Robert Louis Stevenson said that ‘…no man lives in the external truth among salts and acids, but in the warm, phantasmagoric chamber of his brain, with the painted windows and the storied wall‘.
What better than a trip to Mellis in glorious Suffolk, in order to craft your own idea?
Partly to illustrate hope, activities which cast forward and stimulate creativity – as a break from engagement with crisis. We recognise that not all newly arrived residents fit this category, of course.
The Arts can include any welcoming, inclusive creative activity that supports newly arrived or minority community members.
Enterprise/Business can be services, free at the point of delivery, which will add to the enterprise creation expertise and knowledge of our communities of interest.
If you have a group, or project, that welcomes any new arrivals or BME community members in these categories, drop us a line and we’ll add it to our community gazette.
If you write a 100 words or so to tell us what you do, that would be great too. We will support contributors by using our publication skills to develop and promote the work of groups.
In 1851 J.W.Hudson, speaking at the opening of the Mechanic’ and Apprentices’ Library in Liverpool, opined that a visit to the library would, for the reader, lead to them ‘…receiving cultivation, not in reading the latest accounts of mis-demeanours and local calamities…but in imbibing instruction and high gratification from the perusal of select and valuable works whether they lead him with the traveller, across the pathless tracts of oceans, or cheer and console him, with moral sketches of human nature’. (Source: Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75, Geoffrey Best, Fontana Press, 1985, London, p.232)
Whilst the publicly accessible library, after nearly a century or more of rising literacy in our country would then clearly stir the intellectual interest of Everyman (and Everywoman and Everychild too – Ed.) the message is still clarion today, stimulating the autodidact to seize the high ground of undiscovered knowledge and learning.
The adult, or child reader, will today find a mesmerising range of interests available at their local library that carries the long echo from that opening event in mid-nineteenth century Liverpool. Experience is still to be garnered for the mind, in the face of closures, funding cuts and, perhaps, even a topical turn away from the intellect towards ‘accounts of mis-demeanours and local calamities‘.
Suffolk Libraries, during June 2018, are teaming up with Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds to host five performances as part of the ‘Once Upon A Festival’ children’s arts festival.
The Suffolk Libraries festival programme looks like this:
‘When the Pied Piper plays his flute the rats run, the greedy mayor rubs his hands and the children dance… Norwich Puppet Theatre’s humorous and irresistible one-person show combines a skillful mix of puppetry, foot-tapping music and storytelling and will have audiences young and old entranced’.
‘The Children in the Moon is a wonderfully visual and original take on centuries old children’s verse, packed with puppetry and live music this is an ideal show for all the family. Tickets for this show are £1 per child’.
‘Join Mr Junkman and discover the sonic delight of everyday objects rescued from the urban wasteland. Learn how to build your own mini junk orchestra at home or in class. Experience and discover music from the twilight zone to foot stomping fun’.
‘6 strings, 8 dancing feet and 4 voices with 1 aim: to make classical music wickedly funny and fantastically exhilarating for everyone, young and old. Graffiti Classics burst the elitist boundaries of the traditional string quartet with their hilarious all-singing, all-dancing musical comedy show’.
‘Join Mr Junkman and discover the sonic delight of everyday objects rescued from the urban wasteland. Learn how to build your own mini junk orchestra at home or in class. Experience and discover music from the twilight zone to foot stomping fun’.
Use the Suffolk Library links to check out these gems of ‘library performance’ and kick-start the 7 to 13 year old auto-didact in your family today.
Context and Editor Notes:
Libraries and the Arts are deeply embedded in our culture and history. By the 1680’s, in England, libraries were growing more common, from the large installation in the affluent country house, to ‘the more modest bookshelf in the yeoman’s farm‘. Public libraries, as we might understand the term, were extremely rare outside Oxford and Cambridge.
In 1684, the Rector of St. Martin’s in the Fields, working with Christopher Wren, set out to build a library ‘for public use’. The Rector and Wren built a large house in the grounds of the churchyard, using the upper story as an accessible library and the downstairs as a ‘workroom for the poor’.
Thus beginning, arguably, the long tradition of the library as a multi-use space, feeding the individual mind, raising community social capital and road-mapping the way to the intellectual horizon.
Everything we might want today.
(Source: English Social History – Chaucer to Queen Victoria, G.M.Trevelyan, Penguin Books, London, 1978, p. 279)
Once Upon A Festival is now in its fourth year and aims to make performance art more accessible in theatres, schools and communities by taking the performances to children in their school or community. For more information visit www.onceuponafestival.co.uk
Melissa Matthews, Suffolk Libraries Art Programme Co-ordinator, says: “We’re delighted to host these events. Once Upon A Festival delivers high quality dynamic performances from a variety of companies and libraries are a great place to host exciting events like this in the community. We want to deliver more events like this as part of our Arts programme to open up new and accessible arts experiences for children and young people.”
(Source: Suffolk Libraries Press Release, June 2018 – https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/news/once-upon-a-festival/ )
Week-long, mixed media residency working in partnership with METAL
Monday 30 July – Friday 3 August 2018
‘As part of Year 1 of the Suffolk Libraries Arts Programme, we are inviting Suffolk artists to take over the top floor of Ipswich County Library to explore the role creativity plays as catalyst for nurturing confidence and well-being in young people’.
In it Cosslet takes to task the political pundit Andre Walker, for his omnipotent vision of the library service in the UK. Namely that no-one visits them anymore and they should all be closed down and the books given to schools.
Is there something Presidential in this decimation of the library service by Twitter?
Rhiannon goes on to thread her story with her use of the public library when young – developing intellectual curiosity, cultural awareness, knowledge of the world and taking up the rich opportunity public libraries offer to graze the landscape of the word, six books at a time.
Original text: In the Spring of 2015 the Adam Smith Institute published an article entitled ‘The End of Local Authority Libraries‘. As the economic ice age of Osbornian austerity descended upon us, the Press was full of cultural turbulence about the closure and operational rigidity of our national literacy assets.
Although the general Press attention has diminished, it is telling that the dilution of the library service has continued unabated, albeit with increasingly diminished media currency, as we have been further overwhelmed by matters of political moment in and about Europe, perhaps.
The website Public Libraries News, in July, declared that now ‘there are at least five hundred libraries that are staffed, if not entirely run by volunteers’. On the one hand, this is a sign, we would argue, that there is profound suport for the local library at grassroots level. But it is also a sign, looking at the plethora of continual changes and negative reviews of library services across the country on the website, that there is no clear, effective and equally profound form of new governance emerging for libraries.
One that, at once taps into localism, yet satisfies the need for an eclectic and near universal access to knowledge and leisure, free at the point of delivery for those who need it most.
The trade union Unison are to hold a National SOS Day on the 19th of October, 2017. Save our Services is designed to show that ‘...libraries are a hub and a haven in our communities. They offer a place for people to work, relax, discover and think.They are a source of local knowledge and history and give everyone access to books, DVDs, music and more, for free or at a very low cost.
But libraries also do a lot more than lend books. Many hold events, anything from story time for children to yoga classes for adults. Library workers help people look for work, advise on using IT, organise talks by authors and so much more‘.
The debate, then, continues to have currency. The Adam Smith Institute argued, in its article by Eamonn Butler, that the free market was the solution to the ‘library deficit’ issue, as to be expected. That exemplars of library innovation, in the shape of American organisations such as Library Systems and Services, were to be the saviours of a moribund library market.
However, research shows that the accession of LSSI to the pinnacle of library stewardship has not been entirely successful in the USA. An earlier article in the New York Times shows how both library staff and users, even in the more affluent cities where LSSI has obtained contracts, have been happy to lead protests. Dissenting voices to the ending of unionised services, diminution of book stocks and antagonism towards the ethics of ‘libraries for profit’.
The Butler argument, from the Adam Smith Institute, saw the then new Birmingham City Library building as an example of ossification of service. The £188 million building began to operate on a ‘self-funded’ basis for events, for example, in the context of author events or arts activity. Both previously seen as draws to footfall for the library service. Indeed key activities in a wider cultural obligation for libraries, we would argue.
However, debate about the capital cost of a building in austere times is one thing, but the Institute author’s position somewhat fails to recognise that it is free market policies which have led to the very fiscal landscape that has so diminished the library service.
If a library is battered by exogenous fiscal policy upheaval, it is somewhat unfair to blame the librarian for lack of service, or diversity in activity, surely?
Is there hope for change? We think so.
We were pleased to see that there is widening acceptance by Councils that the community should have control of libraries as a community resource. At the beginning of August, for example, Derby City Council declared for the cessation of control of ten libraries, which will see ‘…the loss of at least 39 library assistants’ jobs and two library managers, of almost 100 staff who work for the authority. Community groups will get £17,500 a year each to fund their own managed libraries until 2022…’
What is concerning, in this case, is the timetable and the level of grant in aid ceded to the community organisations in the City, to effectively manage the transfer and creation of a new community organisation to deliver the service.
More positively again, Bury Council this month have approved a new community asset transfer plan. ‘The new policy means applications from groups to buy community assets from the council will be considered against ‘key tests’ designed to ensure a deal which is best for the council and residents‘. The landscape of community opportunity grows!
However, it is entirely possible, we would argue, to imagine the creation of community libraries as Social Enterprises, where the not for profit governance model delivers a mix of volunteer and employee led services, bolstered by an admixture of social business services to support and maintain the core library provision.
A community cafe, a learning centre, a gardening or horticultural project…the list could easily be imaginatively extended by a dynamic, active community. The whole focused upon the creation of ‘…a place for people to work, relax, discover and think‘, to remind us of the Unison observation.
If the trade union are having an SOS Day, why do we not start a new think-tank movement, LASER – Libraries as Social Enterprise Renewal.
Write to conversationsEAST if you are interested in social enterprise, passionate about libraries and learning and keen to develop governance-sound, community led, not for profit library buildings.
We’ll publish a web site, host a meeting and give the idea traction?
Additional narrative – 20.08.2017
We have just come across a recent article in Wired by Susan Crawford, where she argues for a resurgence in phiilanthropy to revitalise the library service.
In the text, in response to a recent tweet by Jeff Bezos asking for suggestions about a new shape for his giving, she argues for an Amazon/Bezos programme of giving to libraries.
Developing Jeff Bezos’s current long term view of his ‘social investments’ towards, arguably, a philanthropic delivery that would cater for the short and the long term. Mr. Bezos describes his search for a new intitiative ‘…to help people in the here and now’. Our new library programme, as described, would do that, but also cater for the long term too.
Namely a series of Amazon Memorial Libraries, or Bezos Community Cultural Centres, would benefit the communities they were placed in, but they would also create new readers and enhance human capital in the hinterland of their sites, as well as delivering a major philosophical boost to the image of Amazon as a socially beneficial company.
We understand Jeff Bezos reads every email sent directly to him. We’ll write to Mr. Bezos and make a suggestion supporting a new philanthropic venture into the British library landscape, and explore the models that might be created.
Despite misconceptions in the popular press, Professor Rogoff, he is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, argues for the deletion of high value notes from a national currency, not, as is often quoted, the dramatic end of cash all together.
Drawing on his international experiences, Rogoff served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, he argued for the removal of high value notes from circulation as a methodology to reduce criminality and tax evasion.
Rogoff recognised, in passing, the recent currency changes in India, remarking that his advice to Prime Minister Modi would have been to move at a much slower pace, although India’s fiscal motives are not totally clear at present. Cessation of high value notes is now, he argued, a recognisably legitimate lever in the economic tool box, although ideally pursued over a period of perhaps two years, with currency withdrawn in batches of maximum value over that time.
Using the U.S. as an example, evidence was offered regarding the size of bank note holdings in a population – nearly always much, much higher than any official Treasury forecast, he argued.
In theory, in the U.S., every person should be holding about $4,200 dollars in $100 bills for example. However, we were told, current research indicated that only 5% of U.S. citizens ever saw bills of this denomination, and only once a year at that.
A simple show of hands in The Great Room at John Adam Street, saw only four members of the audience having used a £50 note in the last month. This exposition led on to an assessment of the underground economy in Europe. Undeclared transactions making up 16% of the German economy annually, with up to 25% in Italy and Greece. In the U.S., we were informed, this currently runs at about 8%. But in all cases these hidden economic transactions represent vast sums in the tax ‘neutral’ take of businesses, whatever their ethical make-up.
Cash and culture:
Rogoff referenced the U.S. economist, Neil Wallace, whom he argued failed to see the rise of electronic currency during his seminal economic work in the 1970’s. Now, Rogoff argued, there has been a step change, in young people particularly, for whom electronic banking and cash movements may have become the norm.
This could have resonating consequences for world economies. Governments make large cash transfers and could, he argued use free, subsidised debit cards for members of society and deliver benefits, refunds and payments to individuals without the repetitious ‘cost of cash’.
In his lecture Professor Rogoff appeared to be a strong proponent of the use of negative interest rates, to stimulate cash investment in business infrastructure, citing Sweden as an example where this policy had energised the real economy.
In rounding off his talk Professor Rogoff, cited the work of U.S. economist Robert Eisner, arguing that Central Banks could also have a role to play in the ‘new attitude’ to cash. The use of technical devices, such as deploying currency held in banking systems using a distinct and different exchange rate.
This was a quietly and elegantly delivered short lecture, drawn from a very telling book, The Curse of Cash, which provoked and underscored an interesting number of new ways of thinking about cash, banking and the cultural and fiscal exchanges between us all.
We recommend it.
The final exortation, light heartedly, was for us to remember that the Rogoff thesis is not about the abandonment of cash, rather its perpetuation in ‘smaller ‘ form.
Following on from our recent article on book binding in Barcelona, we seem unable to escape our thematic journey on-line towards the bound artefact.
As booksellers and literacy project specialists we are especially interested in the concept of the book as a seasonal highlight, as to be expected at this time of year. The conversationsEast team were very pleased to see book-binding as part of the programme of the recent Chelmsford Ideas Festival for instance.
The opening lecture for the Centre, post-renovation, was Artistic Bookbinding in the Twenty-First Century, delivered by the American book historian and conservator James Reid-Cunningham. See more below…
The lecture, The Poet of Them All, concentrates on a remarkable collection of Shakespeare editions in miniature from the holdings of the Yale Centre and in concert with collectors Neale and Margaret Albert.
The richness, skill and indeed, even fun, of such collections is beautifully captured in the Reid-Cunningham lecture. The expressive art and craft skill of the binder in the twenty first century is also visually well expressed in the discourse. In an age of electronics it is sometimes easy to forget the power, even magic, generated by the carefully crafted, masterfully bound book. Whatever its size.
There is much to enjoy across the whole of the Yale Center for British Art. Research at the Yale Center benefits from concurrent funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, encouraging a wide programme of lectures, study and talks to disseminate the findings of the Center. As you would expect from such a world centre of excellence.
We particularly liked the Center’s new education programme Visual Literacy: Rethinking the Role of the Arts in Education. Using the great visual resources the Center holds to create interest in and higher utility in reading. Art becomes the book, becomes the writer!
Giving books is a great idea over the festive holidays, getting the family into an art gallery or museum is even better. We visited Seven Stories in Newcastle earlier in 2016, so we know you can achieve the same ‘Yale’ effect without a visit to Connecticut.
Visiting Chelmsford Ideas Festival on a Monday evening…
To Chelmsford on Monday evening, 24th October, for the formal launch of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival at the Anglia Ruskin University campus in the city, in the presence of Councillor Patricia Hughes – Mayor of Chelmsford.
The assembled audience were warmly welcomed by Professor David Humber, Provost of Anglia Ruskin’s Chelmsford Campus, who went on to give a brief history of the University’s association with the Festival over the last five years.
Professor Humber also gave us news of the development of new Life Science courses and infrastructure as well as the imminent plans to open a new Medical School on the campus in 2018.
We learned from Prof. Humber that the city was host to some 93 events this Festival season, of which 20 events will take place on the University campus.
In response the Festival Chair, Malcolm Noble FRSA, spoke in thanks for the contribution the city makes to the Ideas Festival and how the city’s support, made manifest by the presence of Her Worship the Mayor, was most gratefully and vitally received each year.
Malcolm spoke also of a change of inflection for the Festival programme this year, involving children and families directly and threading practical arts and community focused events through the programme.
You can discover the Ideas Festival on-line here, and see how the original socio-cultural research, which triggered the creation of the Changing Chelmsford Festival team, has attempted to fill gaps in artistic provision and increase community engagement across the city and its hinterland.
They have been successful without doubt.
The launch gathering was followed by a lecture on ESA’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME: How is E2V protecting Planet earth? – featuring the work of Chelmsford company e2v – ‘…providing world-class image sensors and detection subsystems that can help solve the mysteries of the Universe, understand climate change on Earth and much more…‘
Source: Festival Programme.
Our featured Festival event for this week:
27th October 2016 Somme 100 Film Chelmsford Cathedral, 53 New St, Chelmsford CM1 1TY 20.00 to 22.00
‘Live Cinema performance with Cambridge Concert Orchestra to mark the centenary of the First World War Battle of the Somme: lasting from 1st July to 18th November 1916. We will use the acclaimed score by composer Laura Rossi as commissioned by the Imperial War Museum. Laura Rossi and the Imperial War Museum Senior Curator Dr. Tony Haggath will introduce the film‘.
It’s that time of year again. We are packing our notebooks, pencils and cameras for a series of editorial visits, as usual, to the Chelmsford Ideas Festival 2016.
22nd October till the 12th November 2016.
”The Chelmsford Ideas Festival aims to stimulate and inspire people through a set of innovative events, talks and workshops”.
With a much improved web site this year, you can find a range of activities and interests to stimulate the intellect across a variety of themes. Each category of event has its own diary section. See below for what might interest you most.
To book individual workshops and events simply open the calendar entry on the web page to get full details of the event and how to book.
Highlights from the programme? We liked…
Rooted Art – Public Art Workshops 25th October, 2016 10.00 to 12.00
‘Let’s make history! Join Artist Nick Haydon (known for his large scale printmaking) and Artist Victoria Button in creating a massive historic mural in Chelmsford city centre, depicting stories of the city’s heritage. Funded by Essex County Council’.
Chat About the Old Days – 27th October and 27th November, 2016 – 14.00 to 16.30
‘Come along to this free session – enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and a cake for just £1 and join us in reminiscing about the ‘old days’. (Don’t forget: even teenagers have an ‘old days’ – what do you remember about times past?)
Our idea is to have a jolly good nostalgic chat session over a cup of tea and then for some of the memories and stories that come out to form the basis of a new community artwork to be displayed at the Ideas Hub. Maybe it will be the start of a series of artworks…who knows?’
ESA’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME: How is E2V protecting Planet earth? 24th October 19:00 – 21:00
‘Paul Jerram is Chief Engineer for Space Imaging at e2v, Chelmsford. Headquartered in Chelmsford, e2v is bringing life to technology and employs 1750 people globally. e2v partners with customers to provide world-class image sensors and detection subsystems that can help solve the mysteries of the Universe, understand climate change on Earth and much, much more…’
Event follows the Festival launch at Anglia Ruskin University.
The Ideas Festival Chelmsford, 22nd October till the 12th November 2016, is certainly now a premier intellectual and cultural landmark in the regional festival landscape. Visit the web site and book to join in the work. You will not be disappointed.
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