Bookshops for all – Artist residency
Client: George Street Community Bookshop
Role: Writer/Artist in residence, R&D, creative workshop design and delivery, curated and led a story trail, creative writing, illustration and printmaking, storytelling events
In late Autumn 2022, I was an artist in residence with 'Bookshops for All' at George Street Community Bookshop, Glossop, funded by Arts Council England.
Over several weeks, I embedded myself in Glossop, hunting for the strange stories, curious history and local folklore that makes the town what it is. I then turned this R&D into a series of audience-facing experiences for the local community, including: drop-in conversation and story sharing events, a curated walk/story trail around Glossop, creative writing workshops, drop-in printmaking sessions and a live storytelling event for Halloween. With the exception of the story trail (which took in many sights around Glossop), each activity was designed to take place at the bookshop and welcome different audiences to experience the bookshop in new or unexpected ways.
Thanks to the people of Glossop, I discovered so many interesting local tales and folklore, which then inspired a set of five new miniature lino prints, designed to be printed as bookmarks for participants to take away with them. I also wrote two new pieces (poetry and flash fiction), created a Flash Folk zine of everyone's workshop stories, and a residency archive on my artist website.
Walking the Weird
A story trail around Glossop, visiting spots from local folklore, ghost stories and curious history. We told stories, shared strange experiences, and did some sketching and writing along the way. Thanks also to Mark Henderson for performing a couple of local folktales.
I curated and led the walk as part of my residency, with support from WAN.DER, KIN.DER and Glossop Creates. Photos by Richard Tymon.
Feedback: "Such a breathtaking experience!", "A witty initiative", "A wonderful wander", "Lovely to see the landscape and townscape through fresh eyes."
As well as devising multiple opportunities for community participation, I also drew, carved and printed five new miniature lino print artworks. Each illustration is inspired by elements of the stories I heard or discovered during my residency. From the treacherous water spirit of Mermaid's Pool, to the murderous Grey Lady of All Saints Church, and the many ghosts that are said to haunt Glossop. The prints were designed to be bookmark sized, so that people could drop-in to the bookshop to print their own to take home.
I also ran a couple of creative writing workshops, am writing my own poetry and flash fiction pieces, and have a live storytelling event on the way.
I also ran a couple of creative writing workshops at the bookshop, where a few intrepid souls joined me to invent new myths inspired by the old tales. These stories were collected into a Flash Folk zine and performed live at a special Halloween event in the bookshop.
For a more in depth look at my residency, visit the project archive on my artist website.