Great blog from our wonderful Artist in Residence Jared Louche. He’s doing some fantastic work with young people and Brent Libraries feel very lucky to be working with him!
He’s been with us for a month already but there are still plenty of workshops to come at Harlesden Library, please see our online calendar for times and dates.
That’s all from me, here’s what Jared has to say about the project:
I’m currently involved in the Apples&Snakes SPINE Festival as artist-in-residence based in Harlesden Library. I’m a poet, performer, rock star, writer, photographer and workshop facilitator. For the past fifteen years I’ve been working at the nexus of the Arts, Education and Health Care. I facilitate writing, art and performance workshops in schools, prisons, hospitals, museums and libraries, using creativity as a way to excite people to better command the language and their ideas. Creativity’s a thrilling tool of empowerment that helps people release their imaginations and express things they might never dare tackle and I love to help midwife that creation.
This is an exciting and important project that highlights a collection of London libraries. With the explosive growth of the internet as a research tool, combined with extensive government cutbacks to library funding, libraries are currently fighting a battle to remain relevant in the 21st century. One of the things that I’m constantly fascinated by is creatively exploring people and buildings that are marginalized in society, those who (for whatever reasons) can’t tell their own story or whose stories aren’t seen as important by the society around them. We place value on the young, on the new, on the freshly rearranged. In doing so though we seem to feel that importance can’t simultaneously be placed upon the elders of our communities, upon older buildings and older traditions. There’s much that’s lost because of this and many voices that are no longer heard, fading as mist before a too-bright sun.
Libraries are the perfect illustration of this; every library has gone through countless changes, alterations and renovations. They’ve seen war and peace, busy times and slow, and down the years they’ve watched the community around them shift and change. Despite being the richest realm of words though, the one thing that no library has ever been able to do is to find its unique voice and be able to tell the story of its life. No library has ever been able to tell us its experiences, what its greatest fear and proudest moment might have been or what it dreams about when the last librarian has locked up, the stacks are still and the lights are finally out. The only way to hear that hidden voice is with your creative ears.
At Harlesden I’ll be working creatively with a broad spectrum of the local community, developing stories from the library’s perspective as well as looking at language and books in alternate ways. We’ll be developing Haiku-brief poems about secrets and hiding them in books throughout the library. We’ll also be creating and binding our own books. I’ll be running workshops with groups from schools as well as in a much more guerilla context with people who have come to borrow books and unwittingly wander into my orbit.
With children from local Primary Schools, I’m unleashing creative writing and creative thinking workshops to look differently at the amazing things the language can do. The ancient, universal language of poetry is the most phenominal spade with which to dig into the loamy soil of language and ideas. This helps expose children to the delights their library contains and allows them to see the space as both useful as well as exciting. Although the project only just launched last week, we’ve had lots of excited school children writing and talking about the language, and the library staff have been inundated with gleeful waves of children clamouring for library cards.
This is exactly the sort of project I love being involved in; one that allows for broad conceptual interpretation, that pushes at the membrane between the Known and the Unknown, that involves both the local community and Primary School children. Art may not change the world, but I’ve watched it change individual lives and I’m honoured to be able to be a part of SPINE.
Thanks Apples. This is already an excellent project. As usual, you rock!