Tag Archives: news

Writing: Making Your Mark

An exhibition at The British Library – Writing: Making Your Mark

 –  Book your tickets here

PACCAR 1, The British Library,  96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

“Discover the extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements: through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents

Follow the remarkable evolution of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone and early printed text such as William Caxton’s edition of The Canterbury Tales, to the art of note-taking by some of history’s greatest minds, and on-wards to the digital communication tools we use today.”                                     Source: The British Library web pages

This new exhibition provides wonderful insights into the both the future of writing and the past development of the craft.

From quill pen to digital tablet, how we create and communicate has been beautifully illustrated for us, ‘…in an interactive exhibition gives you the chance to reflect on works of genius that wouldn’t exist without the writing traditions of civilisations past’.

Discover more at The British LIbrary here…arrive clutching your biro and notepad!

Send to Kindle

Ellen Lives On

Writing in The Guardian in late 2014 the author Rupert Wallis was minded to tell us that ‘…more and more not-so- young adults are reading YA fiction’ –  which he declared was no bad thing. He went on…

‘The power of YA fiction to generate an emotional resonance around death should not be underestimated in UK society, where young adults spend a lot of time immersed in the artificial realities of cyberspace and gaming’.

Source: The Guardian, 18th August 2014.

Ellen Lives On - cover image and web link
Buy this book here, with free delivery…

Lynda Haddock, in her first novel, has wonderfully underscored the sentiment with her first novel Ellen Lives On. The book features the journey, the exploration of a new life and the acquisition of a new set of values, by the teenager Ellen.

For Ellen the journey is mapped from the suicide of her mother, an emergent rally to the cause of education and her exodus to the Metropolis in search new friends, political engagement and the forming of a new identity for herself.

‘One way of tackling the difficult questions raised by death is to feel connected to one another in addressing them, to feel human together…’ writes Wallis in his article. Indeed, the sensitively written, clear narrative from Lynda Haddock stirs up the emotions and will clearly illuminate a shared experience for teenagers suffering loss.

Buy this book, with free shipping here…

The new novel was enjoyed by the Books go Walkabout team in our office. Sue Martin, writing for our new season book list opined…

”A desperately moving novel about a young girl whose life changes forever when she returns home to find that her mother has committed suicide.

Ellen, a scholarship girl at a local grammar school in the 1970’s, finds that life is uncomfortable and fraught as soon as you are no longer the ‘norm’ pupil, let alone the trauma of discovering that she is alone in the world. Alone, that is, apart from her Grandfather, who is elderly and lives a long way from Ellen.

Taken in by her aunt and uncle, Ellen finds the welcome is short lived and that she is a burden to the family, simply used as the girl in the house to do all the chores. Her uncle tells her the sooner she finishes school and starts a job the sooner she can pay for her living.

After a series of heart-wrenching problems with friends, teachers and those who were meant to be supporting her, Ellen goes on the run. She finds friendship with people in a squat, her grandfather is taken into hospital and she abandons any hope of a career with prospects.

Eventually Social Services find Ellen and her life starts to rebuild, but never back to where it was and with very little hope of the future that had been planned.

A moving and poignant story for Young Adults and a thought provoking debut novel for Lynda Haddock.”

It is also, in its way, a primer for adults, the ‘not so young’ in Wallis’s narrative, to recognise the strains and pains of a teenager going through this crisis, such is the insight afforded the reader of any age by Lynda Haddock’s writing.

Lynda Haddock’s work joins a solid tradition of novels that seek to offer reflection and a way forward in the face of death and loss. From The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to Jacqueline Wilson’s Vicky Angel – the Haddock narrative deals with death, yes, but also in the exploration of self, equality and values – all of which are significant markers for young adults as they march forward into the 21st Century.

For Wallis ‘…the true significance of death in YA is that authors are reflecting back what they see everyday; namely, that death is ominously prevalent these days, whether in fiction or a national news broadcast or the obituary columns‘.

This is certainly true of the author Lynda Haddock, whose professional life before her novel encompassed education and the specialist support of children experiencing difficulty in their lives. The storytelling resonates with it.

The experience tellingly shows in the novel Ellen Lives On, and we hope it might become a staple of your library of resources – tendering a way into loss and bereavement that will be recognised by any teenager, whatever their culture, age or background.


Editor’s Note:

We would commend Lynda Haddock’s publisher to note that the YA Book Prize for 2019 is now open for nominations.

You can discover the latest updates to the YA Book Prize here.

Publishers can find the YA Book Prize terms and conditions and how to apply details here.

We loved this book, buy a copy and explore challenging and stirring landscapes of the teenage mind.

The conversationsEAST team.

Our team also deliver international author and illustrator visits and exchanges through our Books go Walkabout project. Find out more here…

You can also discover reviews and features for younger readers on Book Monitor, our BgW review pages. See more here...

Enlightenment in the East of England

Send to Kindle

Into the library vortex…

Library vortex, image and web link
Into the library vortex of knowledge and imagination…

We have, with our new Libraries news-feed page, given our readers the opportunity to keep up with latest news from across the UK.

We are rotating our topical feeds across University libraries, feminist collections and featuring, as we must, the go to public library resource, PLN.

Library image by Jaredd Craig…

Check our our Libraries page below and keep coming back to stay informed.

    See more: http://www.conversationseast.org/libraries/

In The Guardian you can find an encompassing article that sums up the decline of the local library. Picturing a library using population that has tumbled by 30% in a decade. See more

The study it regales us with is Taking Part (.pdf) from the DCMS. It found that…

The greatest fall in adult library usage was seen among 16 to 24-year-olds, according to the DCMS report. In 2005, figures showed that 51% of this age group used the library. In 2015, the figure fell to 25.2%.

Statista, the Statistics Portal, offers detailed annual library visits data, from 2002 to 2014.  Here the analysis shows that from a peak in 2005/, with a total of £42 million visits, by 2013/14 this figure had declined to just over 282 million visits.

It is never too late to fight back and get into good library habits. We like the 10 Reasons to use Your Library article, on the web journal Ten Penny Dreams. Elegantly laid out, the author, a North of England writer, gently chides us to remember why using a library is such a joy and a revelation. See more here

If you need it, visitcambridge.org in the East of England are offering public tours of the Parker Library, including parts of Corpus Christi College. Where you can ‘…sample its amazing collection which includes the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, principal source book for early English history, the sixth-century Gospels of Saint Augustine, the Bury Bible and the best manuscript of Chaucer’s Troilus…

Proof, if proof were needed, that librarians are keepers of our collective culture, and that libraries, as buildings, are the engines of our future dreams. Don’t lose it, use it!

    See more: http://www.conversationseast.org/libraries/

Enlightenment in the East of England

Send to Kindle

Seasonal best wishes for 2019

 

We hope our readers have enjoyed the contributions to consEast this year. We look forward to supporting the work into the New Year.

Best wishes from all at SmithMartin LLP – supporting voluntary projects across our region wherever we can – at any time of year.

Contact us here for editorial copy, images or more information about our projects.


Send to Kindle

Disturbing the Beast – revisited

Boudicca Press - logotype image and web link
Discover the new work here…

Update: 30th September 2018…

Congratulations to the Boudicca Press team for hitting their Kickstarter target with a whole week to go! Brilliant.


We recently featured the work of Boudicca Press, in promoting new writing for women and in their current process of coagulating new pieces to publish under the banner of Disturbing the Beast.

Disturbing the Beast is a collection of weird fiction stories by some of the best women writers in the UK, featuring Kirsty Logan, Aliya Whiteley and other talented up-and- coming writers. It’s the debut collection from the new literary press, Boudicca Press, who celebrate the strength, courage and literary talents of women.

Great news. Disturbing the Beast Kickstarter launches 3rd September: Weird fiction
stories from some of the best women writers, including Aliya Whiteley, Kirsty
Logan and more.

Distrubing the Beast - cover image from Boudicca Press
The cover image for great writing! Support the work here…

The anthology will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign which launches on Monday 3rd September 2018 with a target of £2500.

Submissions, however, are still welcome from women writers until Friday 14th September. It is intended that the ultimate publication date for the work will be early in 2019.

See more here.

 

Boudicca is keen to unearth challenging subjects in a healthy and respectful way, something that they feel is not often considered in mainstream, contemporary literature. The work is intended to celebrate women’s voices in the weird fiction genre, in a publishing industry where they feel women are under-represented.

Do support this great women’s writing initiative and look for Boudicca Press and Disturbing the Beast on Kickstarter, from Monday 3rd September 2018.

 

Send to Kindle

Cambridge Open Art Exhibition 2018

Exhibition Dates: 12th to 14th October at Swavesey Village College

Cambridge OPen Art Exhibition 2018 - image and web link

Call for entries Open Tuesday 12th June 2018 – see below for details:

# Updated: July 12th, 2018  – ”We had a very fast sign up to this year’s exhibition in October and the exhibition is now full. Many thanks to all artists who have applied this year – we are set for another exciting exhibition.

There are tables still available for selling cards, small gifts and unframed prints on the Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday daytime at £15 per day for exhibiting artists and £25 per day for non exhibiting artists”.

    See full details of tables, waiting list and entry here


Exhibition dates and times:

Friday 12th October 6.30 – 9pm               Preview and Prize giving

Saturday 13th October 10 – 5pm             

Sunday 14th October 10 – 4pm                            

You may enter artwork on-line from Tuesday 12th June. The exhibition is non-selective. Only the first 270 artworks entered can be accepted.

The Closing date for Entries is Friday 17th August or earlier if fully subscribed.

Source: https://coax.org.uk/2018/05/conditions-of-entry-2018/

The Cambridge Art Awards, emerging from the exhibition, will give the top twenty artists selected the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Storey’s Field Centre, Cambridge during December 2018.

There will also be a Best in Show Prize available of £300, three runner-up prizes and a Win A Picture draw for visitors, the the value of £150.

You can find all the conditions for entry, fees and ‘get in and get out’ for the exhibition here:  https://coax.org.uk/2018/05/conditions-of-entry-2018/


About Cambridge Open Art:

The open art exhibition is owned and run by volunteer artists, to promote art, artists and well being through exhibition, education and participation.

It is a not-for-profit, self-funded organization run by volunteers.  Presently the volunteers are assisted by the local Arts Development Manager at Swavesey Village College. We are actively seeking business sponsorship to support the exhibition. We work with a charity partner and are hoping to gain a media partner“.

See more at: https://coax.org.uk/who-are-we/


If you are already preparing your palette good luck from us all at conversationsEAST.

Enlightenment in the East of England

Send to Kindle

Once Upon A Festival – Suffolk Libraries

We love libraries!

 

 

 

 

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)

Once Upn a Festival button, image and web link
See more about the Festival here…

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 web button - image and web linkSuffolk 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:

Once Upon a Festival: Pied Piper

Sat 16 June – 1045 to 11.30
Bury St Edmunds Library

‘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’.

Once Upon a Festival: The Children in the Moon

Sat 16 June – 1430 to 15.15
Newmarket Library

‘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’.

Once Upon a Festival: Graffiti Classics

Wed 20 June – 1530 to 1630
Newmarket Library

‘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’.

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/ )

Love your library, whatever age it is – we do!

Enlightenment in the East of England

Send to Kindle

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2018

Festive felicitations from everyone in Cambridge UK…

It has been a hectic quarter in the run up to the end of an already busy 2017. At SmithMartin Towers we are working hard to get back to our regular publication rythm for ConversationsEast in the New Year.

You can discover what we have achieved in terms of social enterprise development, literacy projects and all our usual books for children activities on our Partnership home page here.

Best wishes to all our readers and subscribers for the coming year…

The ConversationsEast team.

Christmas Tree icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

Send to Kindle

Making new friends in Europe?

European Week of Regions & Cities
Brussels 9-12th October 2017

European Week of Regions & Cities Brussels 9-12th October 2017
European Week of Regions & Cities Brussels 9-12th October 2017

A wide ranging sequence of workshops and event in Brussels, that will attract academics, poiticians and business organisations. We think there are elemental workshops that those of us, working in the social economy, will find useful.

Particularly useful is the opportunity to build new networks of contacts ahead of the social, political and economic schism that awaits us in the UK.

Apply online NOW!

Who should take part?

The European Week of Regions and Cities and its workshops, debates and networking activities are addressed to:

  • members of the European Committee of the Regions, members of the European Parliament and national, regional and local politicians;
  • European, national, regional and local government officials and experts in the field of managing and evaluating cohesion policy programmes;
  • representatives of private companies, financial institutions and European and national associations;
  • journalists from European, national, regional and local media outlets;
  • researchers, PhD or masters students and practitioners in the field of European regional and urban policy.

The typical participant is from the regional or local administration and new to the event, and is travelling to Brussels specifically for the event.


Discover now the 130 workshops, networking events and project visits organised in Brussels as part the 15th European Week of Regions and Cities!

Under the headline ‘Regions and cities working for a better future’, the programme tackles three main themes:

  • Building resilient regions and cities – #LocalResilience
  • Regions and cities as change agents – #TakeAction
  • Sharing knowledge to deliver results – #SharingKnowledge.

28 partnerships of regions and cities, 14 Directorates-General of the European Commission, several networks, associations and other institutions have partnered up for it. The Opening session takes place on 9th October in the European Parliament.


You can see the registration information and register on-line here.

An example of workshops across the event include:

  • The regional dimension of inequality: territorial policy responses in a rapidly changing economic environment
  • Territorial cohesion in the ’Brexit era’
  • Communities as change agents: local development in the EU beyond 2020
  • An alternative for the future: Silver Economy for cities and regions
  • Towards an online #cohesionalliance?
  • Boosting digital skills for youth employment: a challenge for regions and cities
  • Circular Cities: helping cities and regions to implement the circular economy

See more here

We look forward to making new friends in Europe and building bridges we can cross in the future.

Image: Creative Commons
“brussels” by edward stojakovic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Send to Kindle

Bologna, books and biglietti

Animal illustrations for the Book Fair in Bologna...
Dining in Bologna at the Children’s Book Fair 2017…

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We hopped on the bus near the Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna, having purchased our biglietti for Euro 1.50, and found we could ride the autobus, through the medieval cobbled streets of the city, in any direction for ninety minutes”.

Our Partnership team were in Bologna, Italy last week. We were attending the Children’s Book Fair to meet with publishers, authors and artists, and to soak up the atmosphere of world class creativity and dynamism that is the book trade for children in Italy.

Being regular attenders at the London Book Fair, it was noticeable that, although the giant Amazon had a media stand at the week in Bologna, there was nothing like the all pervading presence they seemed to have in London earlier in the year.

Indeed, for the retail giant Italy is still a market in development. We noted that “…Amazon’s Prime service offers one-day delivery of a million products in 6,000 Italian towns and 2-3 days for the rest of the country“.  Read more here… Source: Italy24 web pages.

Bologna Book Fair 2017 image
Bologna Book Fair detail…

With a significant Amazon building and development programme in Italy under way, the diversity and complexity of the other international publishing presences in Bologna, from traditional publishers to independent writers, artists and agents, was a sign that the trade in Italy is perhaps conditioned and delivered still in a very traditional way. Affording much opportunity for disruptive innovation in retail distribution we suspect.

As a micro-publisher, establishing our own tentative foothold in the Italian market, what was stunningly noticeable was the available space and ease with which new graphic artists, illustrators and designers could display their work.

Whatever language children are reading in, the quality of the illustrative art applied to the story enhances and opens that bridge to the imagination. It is as important as the ‘book’ itself, or the page layout or font choice, we would argue. The simplest narrative story can become an exciting page turner with the addition of wonderful artistic creativity. There was much of it evident in Italy last week.

Entering the exhibition halls at the event in Bologna Fiere was like stepping into a giant gallery. With a fantastic display of artwork in the principal foyer, annexed to a series of giant display boards for the young and independent artist to display samples of their work. Although the book trade is about business, the Italian approach led with free form creativity and individual design expertise in a way that we felt was unusual in the English book trade.

Some simple highlights for us during the week

Illustration by Marco Bonatti image
Illustration by Marco Bonatti

 

 

 

 

Marco Bonatti

We enjoyed the informal display of Marco’s work. He produces character with a gentle style, with which to enhance any children’s story, we felt. Engaging, friendly but equally up to the illustration of a more challenging narrative.

Based in Desenzano del Gardo, Italy – you can find Marco Bonatti’s work on the web here.

Katie Rewse

Katie Rewse image
Katie Rewse, using blue to effect…

Katie both studies and lectures in the Arts at Bournemouth University. She also runs Seablue Designs, a wonderfully evocative title for her business, which encompasses oceanic themes and a subtle and diverse range of blue in her work.

Katie’s palette, even informally displayed,  is striking when seen from a distance, which is what caught our eye, but is equally as powerful on the page when feeding a child’s imagination.

See Katie’s work on the web here.

 

 

 

Natasha Durley

Natasha Durley, pattern and proportion…

Another graduate of Bournemouth University Arts faculty, Natasha produces images of plants and animals that are bold in structure and colour, but which are always seemingly ‘anatomically’ sound and proportionally framed.

We liked her structured pattern work particularly, standing out as it did from many of her contemporaries on display in Bologna.

You can find Natasha’s award winning work on the web here.

 

 

 

 

Alessandra Fusi

Allesandra Fusi - a traditional style - image
Allesandra Fusi – a traditional style?

An artist and animation specialist, resident in Bologna, Alessandra has exhibited her work across not only Italy, but also Europe and the USA.

Her pen work was superb we thought, creating striking black and white images for her clients.

Alessandra has an ability to portray character through her artistry, but holds her style very much in the traditional fairytale mannerism, to which she expresses an enduring fascination.

You can see Alessandra’s work on the web here.

(All artist featured images captured from the Bologna Children's Fair ad-hoc display boards in 2017. Copyright remains entirely with the individual artist).

It was the artistry and illustrative energy that was the touchstone experience for us in Bologna this year. Although we were able to build a number of new partnerships and projects for 2017/2018, it is the imprint of ‘the image’ that will stay with us, particularly the energy of the work typical of the artists we have championed above.

Historical linearity in illustration:

We were looking, on behalf of another project before our departure for mainland Europe last week, at the history of children’s book illustration. The Digital Bodleian in Oxford have a wonderful new web resource featuring a number of historic children’s books and games.

You can trace a linear development between the Bodleian web holdings, many dating from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, through to the modern day.

Not only in their stories about children, but also how the imaginative landscape is pictured, focused on illustration as we are in this article. Innovation was the driving force even then.

Colouring instruction - 1824
Colouring instruction – 1824

 

 

 

 

 

We particularly liked the game Choriama, dating from 1824, which serves as a ‘youth’s instructor’ in the drawing and colouring of landscape. The work being made up of a number of individual landscape sections, which can be folded and re-folded to create new topographies of play. See more at the Digital Bodleian here.

 

A Round of Fun - education and art? - image
A Round of Fun – education and art?

We also warmed to depictions of  A Round of Fun. Pleasant illustrations of classroom activity where imagination and fun, with guidance , are the focus of the day’s activity. Is this not how school should be?

This work, in the Digital Bodleian, was created in England but was printed in Germany. See more of the Round of Fun at the Digital Bodleian on the web here.

Our whole Digital Bodleian experience, looking back, has been resonant with echoes of  our contemporary take on the Book Fair in Bologna.

Creative and imaginative illustrations, some classical and others traditional in feel, the many with a modernist take on old themes – the whole utilising the practised hand of the artist, European production skills and education marketing.  A creative journey from the Nineteenth Century to now, following enduring first principles.

Our biglietti:

We are already booking them for the 2018 event! Perhaps we may see another blue crocodile?


Editorial note on Italy:

Italians, in a recent report, the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries, lay claim to being some of the healthiest citizens in the world. Despite the prolonged downturn in the country’s economy and with up to 40% of the young unemployed.

It is the proximity to high art and culture, as well as a high vegetable and fruit diet, that must be responsible for the continual flowering of Italian artistic endeavour surely?

Send to Kindle